College Student's Guide to Mastering Interview Etiquette

Posted by Madison Grover on Mar 29, 2023 3:55:42 PM


Job interviews can be extremely nerve-wracking for candidates, no matter how much experience you may have doing them. Whether it’s your first interview ever or your tenth, it’s very important that you make a good first impression on the interviewer. Part of making a good impression is demonstrating proper interview etiquette. This includes but is not limited to, arriving on time and sending a follow-up thank-you note. With these examples, there are many other ways that you can show off your professionalism and interest in the job. In this blog post, we’ll go over some vital tips for mastering interview etiquette and increasing the chance of landing the job. 

Why Mastering Interview Etiquette is Crucial for Job Seekers: 

If you’re a college student, specifically one who may be graduating soon, you know how competitive the job market can be. Even if presenting the most perfect resume with very appealing credentials, you still need to have a wonderful interview to land your dream job. That’s where the aspect of interview etiquette comes in. Knowing how to conduct yourself and finding the right words to say can make all the difference regarding if you get hired or not. In this blog post, we’ll go give essential tips for mastering interview etiquette, including how to make a very memorable first impression, the proper questions you should ask the interviewer, and how to follow up after the interview is conducted. With our expert guidance, you will gain the distinguished skills and knowledge needed to impress potential employers and stand out amongst the competition. So, if you’re serious about securing your dream job, keep reading!

Dress Professionally, Make a Good First Impression

Imagine this: you’re steps away from landing a job you’ve been dreaming about for years. You’re about to enter the room for your interview and you realize you’ve made a mistake. You’re wearing a shirt that has a stain on it from last night’s pizza adventure, jeans that have holes that definitely weren’t even fashionable in the 90s, and sneakers that I can promise have seen better days. Meanwhile, the interviewer is sporting a sleek suit, polished shoes, and a sharp haircut. They will be questioning what qualifies you for the position you’re interviewing for and your ability to adult. Men are expected to wear a well-fitted suit, and for women, a matching suit or dress is highly recommended. It’s always important to remember that you’re dressing for the job you want, not the one you currently have. So don’t let your clothing choices distract you from your stellar resume and charming personality. Dress professionally and let your skills shine. 

Ask Relevant Questions, Show Interest

Asking questions during an interview is not just a formality- it’s an opportunity for you to be able to show off your curiosity and interest in the company. Additionally, it’s a great way to avoid any sort of awkward silence and prove to the interviewer that you’re not just a deer caught in headlights. And let’s face it, no one wants to hire a deer! When it comes to asking questions, there are certain expectations like keeping your questions from being too broad or too specific- there is a sweet spot that you should find in which it shows that you’ve done your research on the company but are still looking to learn more. With this, don’t be afraid to ask about the company’s culture, values, and goals, as well as any specifics that align with the position, you’re applying for such as the responsibilities and challenges. Another important thing to remember is that there are usually three key questions you should aim to ask at the end of your interview. The first of which is that you should ask if the hiring manager has any advice for you going forward if you are hired. This question not only shows your enthusiasm about being able to learn and grow within the company but also gives you further insights into the expectations and goals of the position which may prove to be extremely valuable. Secondly, as mentioned before, you can ask about the challenges that the interviewer has faced thus far. This question shows that you have a certain curiosity and willingness to truly understand the role and the company on a much deeper level. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you should ask about any next steps you should be preparing for as well as who you should be expecting to speak to next. This shows that you are interested in pursuing the opportunity further as well as finding out what the next steps of the hiring process are. And if all else fails, be ready to ask if they have any good jokes. That’s a great way to break the ice and show off your sense of humor- just make sure that you keep it appropriate as it’s still a professional setting!

Answer With Skills, Experiences, and Personality

The classic “Tell me about yourself” question strikes fear into the hearts of job seekers everywhere. However, fear not, because finding the perfect response to this question is essential for making a great first impression with your interviewer. When trying to determine the right words that can answer this question, start by sharing a brief summary of your background and experiences, focusing on the ones that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. Be sure when answering this that you highlight your strengths, passions, and any unique qualities that allow you to stand out from your competition. However, keep in mind that this question is not an invitation to spill out every single detail of your life or your talk about your favorite hobbies. Stick to professional accomplishments and skills. With a little practice, you’ll be acing this question in no time!

For further information on how to answer the “Tell me about yourself” interview question, read more here: LinkedIn 'Tell Me About Yourself'

Prepare for Common Interview Questions

Preparing for an interview is like preparing for a first date – you want to put your best foot forward, and not end up spilling spaghetti sauce on your shirt. Practicing common interview questions is key to avoiding choking on your words, like that time you might have accidentally swallowed gum in middle school. While in an interview, you will be asked about certain things regarding yourself such as your strengths and weaknesses, your past experiences, your career goals, and your fit with the company culture and values, so you need to be prepared to talk about yourself more than your pet goldfish. And don’t worry about sounding too rehearsed, you’re not auditioning for a community theater production of Hamlet! Be genuine, be yourself, and don’t forget that the interviewer is rooting for you to succeed. 

When researching common interview questions, be sure to check out Interview Common Questions!  

Showcase Career Goals and Aspirations

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can turn them into opportunities to showcase your skills, experiences, and passion for the job. One common question that interviewers often ask is 'Why do you want this job?' When answering this question, it’s extremely important to remember that responding with ‘because I need money’ is not exactly the best answer. Unless, of course, you’re interviewing for a job as a bank robber – in which case that response might actually work in your favor! But, as for the rest of us, we need to come up with something a little more compelling. When beginning to find the words to respond to this question remember to keep it simple – don’t try to impress the interviewer with over-extensive knowledge of the company’s history, save that for when or if they ask for the “Tell me about the company’ question. Employers are mainly looking to know what motivates you and what excites you about this specific job. And don’t forget to provide a solution to the employer– this will show that you’ve not only done your research but also understand the position. Finally, to bring this question home, throw in a bit of enthusiasm, and you'll be sure to win over your interviewer. After all, who wouldn’t want to hire someone who’s excited about the job? 

Final Thoughts on Job Interview Etiquette

In conclusion, job interviews can be intimidating, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can make a great impression and increase your chances of getting hired. From dressing professionally to asking thoughtful questions and crafting compelling answers, every aspect of your interview etiquette matters. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this blog post, you can showcase your best self, demonstrate your fit and enthusiasm for the job, and leave a lasting positive impression on the interviewer. So go ahead and ace that interview – your dream job awaits!

For more tips on interview etiquette, contact Our First Job Search

Topics/Tags/Categories: Interview

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