By Shani Silver

Published on November 18, 2015

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Photography by MICHAEL AIDUSS

You’ll never need rock solid interview skills more than in your 20s. Presenting a great candidacy for a choice role is crucial when you’re trying to add experience to your resume. We have a few ideas when it comes to interview etiquette, worth putting into practice, asap.

1. DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR CURRENT SITUATION

The interview equivalent of “no whining,” complaining about your current situation (school, bad job, etc) is simply bad form. Your prospective employer doesn’t want to feel like an escape route. They want to feel like this specific role, and this company are what drew you in, and that they’re two things you can dedicate your professional self to. You new position is not a safe haven, it’s a place to show ’em what you can do.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

2. STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA

Resist! Regardless of whether or not you’ve just interviewed in the coolest office on Earth, leave it off Instagram. Don’t tell it to Twitter. Forget Facebook. The only time it is appropriate to discuss the interview process on social media is when it’s 100% over, and you’ve got both an offer and a start date. Until then you’re just (at best) bragging, or (at worst) misleading followers into thinking you’ve got a new gig. Both will look very, very bad to prospective employers who check your social media. And while we’re at it, no teasers! None of this “I can’t wait to tell you what I did today,” nonsense. Keep quiet until there’s a real announcement to make.

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Photography by MICHAEL AIDUSS

3. SEND A THANK YOU NOTE!

Always, always send a thank you note. Send an email to your interviewer before the end of business on your interview day. You may send an additional handwritten note if you wish after that, but don’t skip the email. Avoid using canned responses, and draft a personal email thanking the interviewer for his or her time, and reiterate your interest in the role.

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Photography by DAVID BLACK (DAVID BLACK PHOTOGRAPHY)

4. MAKE EYE CONTACT

The best advice this content director has even received is to make eye contact. Don’t stare at your interviewer, but do not be afraid to be direct, and confidently make eye contact that shows you’re sincere. A wandering gaze during an interview suggests a lack of focus or true interest in the role.

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Photography by JUSTIN BERNHAUT

5. ELIMINATE UM

For the purposes of your interview, “um” does not exist. Rather than revert to this classic euphemism for “I’m thinking,” just think! Pause, take a breath, and consider your answer, rather than filling the space with ums. Practice with a friend if you’re nervous about these moments, and soon you’ll get comfortable enough to deliver thoughtful, purposeful answers.

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Photography by PAUL COSTELLO

6. RESEARCH THE COMPANY

You’d be surprised, but this step is often overlooked in interview preparation. Preparing for an interview takes a lot more than simply knowing your own strengths backwards and forwards. You need to know as much as possible about the company you’re interviewing with. Your interviewer does not want to tell her company’s life story over and over again during each interview. Save her the trouble. Learn the story, learn the mission and goals, come prepared.

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Photography by Jacqueline Palmer

7. PREPARE YOUR QUESTIONS! 

Near the end of the interview, your interviewer will likely ask you if you have any questions. The wrong answer here is “nope.” Know ahead of time a list of questions you’d like to ask about the company, the role, the work environment, etc. Joining a team is a big decision, there’s plenty of info you’ll want to know in order to make your decision, even as they make theirs.