The Hub 9 job interview dos and don’ts

9 job interview dos and don’ts

By: Nikki Pawlitschek, counsellor

Athabasca University’s Counselling Services team offers insight for putting your best foot forward in the job search 

November is Canada Career Month and the 2023 theme was “amplify.” Athabasca University’s (AU) Counselling Services team shared career-focused resources for students and alumni to help them grow and advance their careers at any time of the year.

Congratulations! You have made it to the job interview. Now that your resumé has caught the employer’s eye and showcased all your relevant education, skills, and accomplishments, it is up to you to prove that all of this is true, by showing your best self. 

This article offers insight on what to do—and what not to do—to nail your job interview.

1. Do your homework. Make sure you have done research not just on the job and organization, but on the search committee members. You want to make sure that you appear knowledgeable about your future colleagues. I always find it helpful to look at the company’s mandate and top priorities.

2. Don’t draw attention to a lack of experience in an area. If you are changing fields or recently graduated, you don’t want to focus on your lack of experience. Instead, concentrate on your transferrable skills, your ability to learn, and your interest in the position.

3. Don’t let nerves get the best of you. Make sure to use mindfulness exercises or other strategies to calm yourself before the interview. Remember that you know what you are talking about. You’ve got this.

4. Do channel positivity in your answers. You may be coming from a negative work environment or trying to escape a bad boss, but negativity is a red flag for employers. Strive to answer honestly, while remaining polite and professional. Focus on the positive takeaways you have learned.


Office coworkers talking during meeting together in design studio

5. Don’t panic if you can’t answer one of the interview questions. Take a moment to think and compose yourself. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with asking the interviewer to either repeat the question or to move on to the next question temporarily.

6. Do remember that as much as they are interviewing you, you should also be interviewing them. Find out whether you would like to work for the organization.

7. Don’t ramble. Telling a story is great if it is succinct and to the point. Also make sure that you are using the “STAR” method that I reference in 5 resources to help you get a job.

8. Do ask thoughtful questions. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer or panel and make sure to write notes when they answer. This shows initiative and genuine interest in the job. Not asking a question may make the committee believe that you are just looking for a paycheque.

9. Don’t forget to write a thank-you note or email to your main point of contact. Sending such a note within 48 hours can help you stand out from all the other candidates.

More resources to help your career planning and job search

If you enjoyed this article, check out our entire Canada Career Month series!

Nikki Pawlitschek is an academic counsellor at AU. She has a master’s in mental health counselling from City University, a bachelor’s in liberal arts from the University of British Columbia, a bachelor’s in psychology from Open University, a certificate in modern languages (English, French, German), a diploma in brief systemic family therapy, and a certificate of counselling science. She also completed a two-year training program in Hakomi professional skills. Her passion is helping individuals find out what they truly want to do and to explore all the various options. She strongly believes that nothing is impossible and that with the right planning and support, everyone can achieve their goals. 

  • November 1, 2023
Guest Blog from:
Nikki Pawlitschek, counsellor