Noserings, Tuxedos, Mohawks: The Dos and Don’ts of Interviewing


Congratulations, you’ve got an interview!

So how do you ace it and not fall flat?

Don’t screw up this all-important conversation! Our Twitter #careerchat talked about what you should wear, when to discuss salary, and all the preparation and research that goes into making a great first and lasting impression.


  • bizMebizgal: Interviewing is like networking: The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
  • Jelfster: Job interviews needn’t be torture. Just plan well and use common sense!

Full chat transcript:

Question 1:  I’m interviewing with a company that has a casual dress culture, do I need to still wear a suit or dress up?

  • MyPath_MP: If you’re working with a recruiter, ask them what the correct attire will be. Don’t be afraid to pump them for details!
  • bizMebizgal: If you aren’t using a recruiter, find someone at the company through Linkedin & ask them what is appropriate for the interview.
  • Jelfster: Yes. Interviewing is a formal occasion. Companies with casual dress codes require more formal wear at times, and this is one of those times.
  • sarahklein_PHR: Depends! When I interviewed with a restaurant, they said to wear jeans for the interview. I was the only one who wore jeans and I got the job! Not that listening was the only part that got me the job, but I know it didn’t hurt!
  • bizMebizgal: I have college students interview for internships all the time in jeans and it drives me wild. If I am dressed up, you’d better be.
  • lauragainor: It is best to dress up. Make sure you are put together and have clean shoes. It’s better to impress.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Do the research and know who you are interviewing with. When in doubt, ask!
  • bizMebizgal: First impressions can really make or break you and fashion plays a huge role in that.
  • sarahklein_PHR: I dressed up for my unpaid internship at the interview and at work regularly.
  • Jelfster: Call me old-fashioned, but people just don’t seem to dress up any more. You see shorts, sandals at fancy restaurants too!
  • bizMebizgal: I am always looking for a good excuse to dress up! Sets the tone and makes people remember you by how you look.

Question 2: How do you properly close an interview?

  • Jill_Perlberg: Ask about next steps and what else you can provide to help them learn more about you.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Ask the interviewer if you fit the need they have. They’ll be honest and it may be your only chance to get honest feedback.
  • sarahklein_PHR: I always set up a proposition for future networking, so even if it doesn’t work out, I can stay connected with the organization.
  • bizMebizgal: Always have questions prepared for when they ask you “Do you have questions for me?” Never say “Nope, I’m good!”
  • Jelfster: Thank the interviewer and reiterate your enthusiasm for the job. A warm comment can also help, but choose carefully! Make it something that brings out your human side. Make the interviewer smile and leave them with a positive impression.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Don’t end with “Should I have my people call your people?”
  • Jill_Perlberg: Depending on the interview stage, ask for the job!
  • Jill_Perlberg: If on a phone interview, make sure you have all of the appropriate contact information to send a thank you note.
  • bizMebizgal: Make sure you always ask for a business card so you can follow up with a thank you afterwards, and be sure to leave yours!
  • sarahklein_PHR: I always ask about the org culture, even if I’ve researched it, because it’s good to hear HR’s perspective.
  • lauragainor: Be sure to mail a paper thank you card. It goes farther than just an email. Who gets regular mail these days??
  • Jill_Perlberg: Ask them about career advancement, average tenure of staff, you want to make sure it’s the right match too.
  • bizMebizgal: If relevant, ask about their competitors in market. This shows you are aware of their competition and what is happening in the industry.
  • Jill_Perlberg: If you’re on the phone, smile and show enthusiasm, it comes through loud and clear!
  • bizMebizgal: Interviewing is like dating: It has to be a good fit for both partners!
  • TECMidwest: Write down family and hobby information to talk about in your thank you note for that personal touch.
  • Jelfster: This might seem strange, but dress up for phone interview. It’ll feel as if you’re really there!

Question 3: How do you answer “What are your salary requirements?”

  • MyPath_MP: Give them the bare minimum of what you would actually leave your company for.
  • MyPath_MP: Don’t be afraid to ask what their range is, but you should do your salary-range research beforehand.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Rule of the road is to tell them at least 20% more than what you are making today.
  • bizMebizgal: You are not a bad person if u ask for more than what u make, just don’t get crazy. I currently make $40K but want $120K.
  • TECMidwest: First, ask yourself what you would pay you. Are you worth it? Take the time to think it through. Then act.
  • Jelfster: Research going rate for similar positions in your locale — plenty of online resources to help you do this.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Leaving a company that you know for something unknown has a price tag on it as well.
  • MyPath_MP: Recruiters may want you to give your range upfront so they know right away if their client will go for it.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Don’t forget to also include benefits that are important to you. You might take less $$ for an additional week of vacation.
  • MyPath_MP: Also you may get a signing bonus, and then the next year get a raise that brings you to the salary you want.
  • LesleyMWeiss: I usually say it’s dependent on the position and the entire compensation package including benefits.
  • Jelfster: Moving abroad further complicates matters! Do your homework. Be open to negotiation, but don’t be shy of negotiating up.
    • LesleyMWeiss: Research is key. Abroad or not it’s important to know differences in cost of living if you’re relocating anywhere!
      • Jelfster: Absolutely. What is a comfortable salary in, say, Mississippi would not be comparable in NYC.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Aim high, most women tend to under value their worth.
  • lauragainor: If you’re in one of these 10 careers you better be using Twitter
  • Jill_Perlberg: If you are lucky enough to know someone at the company that you can confide in, ask them what they think the range is.
  • MyPath_MP: Asking ex-employees for typical salary ranges can help too.

Open questions:

CaSuPe15: How do you answer “What are your salary requirements” for entry level positions?

  • Jill_Perlberg: Do research on a site like to find a range. Entry level tends to be in the 25th percentile.
  • bizMebizgal: For most entry level positions expecting to make $50K is unrealistic. Probably shoot around $30K to $33K depending.
  • bizMebizgal: Entry level peeps, NEVER ask how much the company pays while interviewing. Wait for them to tell you when you’re further along.

Jelfster: How do you deal with more than one interviewer in terms of distributing eye contact appropriately?

  • Jill_Perlberg: Make sure you are pausing, taking in the room and watching body language.
  • MyPath_MP: Also make sure you get each person’s biz card & write a personal thank-you note.
  • bizMebizgal: Try to make as much eye contact as possible with each person — just don’t be a bobblehead!

bizMebizgal: Does anyone have horror outfits that they have seen on an interview?

  • bizMebizgal: I was asked once by a student about nose rings and interviewing. Always, always take that out!
  • sarahklein_PHR: Someone wore a tux…
  • LesleyMWeiss: I did once see stirrup pants, with a nice jacket. If you’d only seen her waist-up, she’d have looked fine (if a little dated).
  • Jelfster: I wear an earring in my left ear. I always took it out for job interviews…when I remembered!
  • Jill_Perlberg: I was interviewing someone for a position with Cirque du Soleil and they thought it would be good to come as a clown. Not good!
  • sarahklein_PHR: I have servers show up in beach clothes for  interviews, not cool! I don’t expect a suit, but beach clothes?!
    • bizMebizgal: I think servers have a different perspective of what is appropriate to interview in. But it’s still a job you still need to impress!
  • bizMebizgal: I got asked if a student should get rid of his mohawk for interviewing. Um, yes!
    • Jill_Perlberg: Although: Totally depends on the job, industry, & company. Inteviewing with a Fortune 100? Might need to ditch it!

Jelfster: In the modern world of social media, is it appropriate to reach out to interviewers beforehand if you know their name?

  • Jill_Perlberg: I would personally be put off by it. Now you are basically putting them in an interview position.
  • LesleyMWeiss: Perhaps do a non-anonymous LinkedIn search, so they know you checked up on them. Then leave it up to them.
  • Jill_Perlberg: Even in a world of social media, you still need to use common sense and respect the process.
  • MyPath_MP: There’s a difference between asking a recruiter about a position and contacting someone you’re interviewing with.
  • Jill_Perlberg: We all know people stalk others on LinkedIn and other sites, but don’t show that YOU do.
  • MyPath_MP: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is in order when they check back on you!

CaSuPe15: Is it safe to assume your interviewers already following you?

  • MyPath_MP: It’s safe to assume they’ve checked up on you, yes!
  • Jill_Perlberg: They already checked on you before they contacted you. Don’t let Facebook, your blog and other sites scare them off.
  • bizMebizgal: Make Facebook/Twitter accounts reflect the personal brand you are comfortable showing. Remember: What happens in Vegas stays on Twitter!
  • MyPath_MP: If you don’t want your personal FB shown to the world (and employers), lock it down!

CaSuPe15: Are there any other sites aside from Twitter and LinkedIn that job seekers should be aware of and active on?

  • LesleyMWeiss: I’d do research and look in your industry. There are plenty of career-specific networking ops–those are most helpful.
  • MyPath_MP: and have tons of resources for job seekers about topics just like this.
  • MyPath_MP: and are also excellent resources.

Job seeker? Just want to get ahead in your career?

Join our Twitter #careerchat Tuesdays @ 12 PM CT to talk about everything from friending your boss on Facebook to personal branding to how to get a call back from recruiter.

How to join: Go to and follow the hashtag “careerchat” at noon CT every Tuesday!

Adapted from my post here on MyPath.

One thought on “Noserings, Tuxedos, Mohawks: The Dos and Don’ts of Interviewing

  1. Pingback: Just out of high school? Think “permanent” for a summer job. « Career. Food. Environment. Stuff.

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