Graduation season is upon us in the academic arena. Since now is the time students are eagerly sending out resumes and setting up interviews, it might be a good time to write about a few important things NOT to do once you’re in the hot seat. Of course, these are not just for the new graduates; we can all use a reminder of how to put our best foot forward.

To gain valuable insight, I spoke with Lisa Buffmire, Executive Career Coach for the MBA program at the David Eccles School of Business. She says there are some very basic things to remember. Don’t chew gum. Everyone enjoys fresh breathe, but not at the expense of lip smacking and gum popping. If you feel you need to rid yourself of some odorous offence, use a mint or even a Colgate Wisp. You’ll feel confident and ready to show your glowing smile.

Buffmire also reminds us to, “never answer a phone call or text during an interview.” In fact, your phone needs to be on silent and put away. Answering your phone during an interview tells the HR person they are not as important as what is on the other end of the line – a sure way to say you’re not interested in the job. Remember, if you can turn it off during a movie, you can turn it off during an interview.

Ok, you have your etiquette in check, now what are essential things to remember in the actual interview? Buffmire says once you begin the dialogue the three most important things NOT to do are:

  1. Say anything negative about anyone or anything. If you’re asked a negative question such as, tell me about your worst boss, teacher, classmate, etc., turn it around to discuss the growth opportunities you received. Did you learn to be more cooperative, to communicate more clearly, or to write better? Emphasize results rather than wallow in the misfortune. Let your interviewer know that these events happened in the past and avoid negative words like difficult or demanding. Instead, choose words like challenging that show you recognize situations could have been better.