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Interview Etiquette Tips

During job interviews, impressions are everything. First impressions are crucial but so are lasting impressions. When the interviewer thinks back, what will they remember? That you were poised, confident, engaged and intelligent? Or that you were disorganized, disrespectful, inconsiderate or (even) lazy?

Your goal is for the interviewer to remember you as a poised, confident, engaged potential employee. In order to do this, you must follow good interview etiquette. You need to mind your manners.

Etiquette is simply the code of polite behavior (i.e. manners) that shows your respect and consideration of others. It is not a lost art. Many a job offering has been squandered because a candidate has shown up late, arrived in ripped jeans or even thrown their legs up on the interviewer’s desk.

So here are some things to remember for your next interview:

  • Be prepared. Become familiar with the company and person that you are interviewing with. This shows respect, thoroughness and preparation. LinkedIn and the company’s website are both great places to start if you do not have any contacts within the company.
  • Have your resume and any other materials you are taking with you organized and prepared.
  • Be punctual. Arrive about 10-15 minutes early, but not too early that you make the interviewer feel rushed. Give yourself an extra 20 minutes for traffic, parking issues, etc. If you are early, “hang out” and give yourself some extra prep or bathroom time.
  • Use a firm handshake with a secure, steady grip. As a candidate, it is important to stand apart from the crowd. A firm, confident (not crushing) handshake goes a long way in achieving that goal; a poor, limp handshake goes a long way in destroying it.
  • Dress accordingly but make sure your clothes don’t steal the show. You need to impress the interviewer with your skills, not distract him/her with your wardrobe.
  • Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat mints or garlic before the interview
  • Make sure your cell phone is switched off. Merely placing your cell phone on vibrate is not enough. Turn it off. You are not highlighting your importance by keeping your cell phone on; you need to highlight how important this job interview is to you.
  • Pay attention to your body language. Stand and sit up straight; do not slouch. Moderate your use of hand gestures. You want the interviewer to think back and remember your words, not your hands.
  • Address the interviewer by name…not “dude”…and make sure you pronounce his/her name correctly. If you cannot pronounce it, ask right away. This shows conscientiousness and attention to detail – especially to those who have gone their entire lives having their name mispronounced.
  • Keep eye contact with the interviewer, but do not go so far as to stare.
  • Listen and ask thoughtful questions. Show genuine interest in the company, the interviewer and the job. Do not look for any/all opportunities to fill silence, which is the natural tendency when you are nervous. Be alert and interested. The questions will come.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Do not make any negative comments about former employers or co-workers. It is disrespectful and will be offensive to others, namely because they will wonder what you will say about them.
  • Put your briefcase or other interview paraphernalia on the floor – not on the desk – and take notes on a note pad and not on your laptop.
  • Do not lie. You will be caught. If you have not completed your degree, do not lie and say you did.
  • Go to the interview alone (let parents, children, spouses, friends etc. wait outside the building if they accompany you).
  • Be polite to everyone in the office, and this does include the receptionist. Use “please” and “thank you” and do not curse.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time and ask what the next steps are, if they didn’t already tell you.

In the same way that having good table manners makes you look good when dining out with friends/family, good interview etiquette will make you shine above other candidates in the interview. Many of the items on this list may seem like “little things” on the surface, but they do all add up to the result that you want – to make an overall favorable impression. So pay attention to the little things. Interviewers will notice, and appreciate, the respect you are showing for their time and the potential job. This alone may move you up to the top of the candidate list.

Consider Snelling as part of your job search. We have offices across the nation and a talented staff that is ready to help you find your best-fit opportunity. Find your local Snelling office and begin your online job search today!