8 Do’s and Don’ts in an interview

7 July 2010 By Northern Lights

8 Do’s and Don’ts in an interview image

WaheedThe possible beginning of a career….

by Mohammed Waheed, Intern at Northern Lights PR

The Northern Lights PR internship intrigued me and I felt it was an opportunity that was not to be missed.  The interview went well, however, I expected rejection as I wasn’t a Bradford University student but hey presto, I was accepted!! I was told I had to “hit the ground running” as long we didn’t have to physically run around I was going to be fine and learn a lot.

The first week of the internship seem to approach quickly and I felt I was ready; the suit was washed, ironed and ready to make an impact. I was already nervous as my university results had been posted out and now it was my first day (by the way I got a 1st class honours).


I have however, been left a bit surprised at times already. I found the project with Northern Rail a real challenge. Being naive I just expected to be given some research and told what to do. Furthermore, finding out that my CV and interviewing skills were not great came as a surprise and made me question myself “Why did I get hired if my interview skills are poor?”

The DON’TS in an interview

  1. Speaking too fast
  2. Not understanding or hearing the question (which is apparently very common in interviews, especially for the first question).
  3. Not having my hands on the table
  4. Repeating things

However, as with most things there are not only negatives but also positives:

The DO’S of an interview

  1. Using examples to answer a question is a great way to sell yourself
  2. Ask questions
  3. Eye contact
  4. Flatter the company (talk about them and tell them why they are great)

We were also taught about blogging and how it can make an impact. My view of it as being a great way to attract business was non-existent, until the master class. Here I am a few hours later writing my first blog!!

The best part of the week was meeting John (photographer). It isn’t only because I am photogenic (ok, that’s a lie). John thought jumping around on the trampoline would make a good picture. I just thought it was my chance to “goof” around and act like a kid, however, I was…. and have been very professional since then. That is until I see the trampoline again!!

Any advice from you on the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” in an interview would be helpful? Or any interview stories you may want to share?

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Written by Northern Lights


  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by claude samuel peters, Northern Lights PR. Northern Lights PR said: Our intern blogs on his interview tips – do you have any good tips or stories to share with him? http://bit.ly/b0qo4Y […]

  • Excellent tips Waheed. Interesting that you mentioned flattery, I have an excellent blog on a similar topic and I will share it with you at some point. However the reason I am commenting is that I believe that the “flattery” in an interview is more similar to flirting. Flattery seems like an understatement, as it seems to miss out the Human element. In the field of PR the “so what” element needs to be covered which is why I term it to be Flirting.

  • Thank you for the interesting information, I hope all candidates read this before attending our interviews.

  • Thank you for your comments. I would be very interested in reading your blog, Gabriel and finding out about your perspective on the matter.

  • I won’t add to the interview tips, but I do have a question.

    Is there a connection between a first class degree and success in PR (or another professional occupation)?

    A few of my brightest and best colleagues in PR have had Firsts from Oxford and Cambridge – but I also know of many successes who don’t even have a degree.

  • Hi Mohammed
    I think that success in an interview is something that needs working at. It is important to have thought of everything – having a good CV, a well crafted covering letter, comprehensive research of the company you want to work for, looking good on the day and presenting yourself well and confidently. I am not sure about “flattery” as a tactic to succeed as that sounds artificial to me and companies are looking for honesty and open ness, not having their egos massaged. You might like to read a book I wrote “The Definitive Job Book: The Rules of Recruitment Insiders”, available on Amazon. Good luck with what you are doing and keep up the blogging!

  • Hi all, I would firstly like to say thanks for your comments and advice, it is much appreciated. I will definitely be purchasing the recommended book and try and improve myself and be the best candidate I can be, so thank you for the suggestion Anne.

    Secondly, I do not believe academic success is a direct link to how successful you will be in a professional capacity. Do not get me wrong Richard I do believe having academic qualifications is great but it isn’t everything, not even in PR. Some of the most successful people such as Lord Sugar are not highly qualified but are very successful.

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