Proper Job Interview Etiquette to Help You Make an Impression
Description: The behaviors you need to learn that will set you apart from the competition on your job search and interview process.
What is job interview etiquette and why should you care?
Interview etiquette is the way you behave in front of a potential employer during the interview process. This behavior includes everything; how you communicate, how you look, and your level of preparedness. This is important because your potential employer is going to remember you based on these behaviors. You want to stand out, leave a positive impression, and show the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job and to represent their company. Understanding and displaying proper interview etiquette could be the difference that sets you apart from other candidates.
What should you do?
Before your interview: In order to show that you are prepared and interested in the job or position you are interviewing for, you must be knowledgeable about it. Do some research on the company. This will show the employer that you are genuinely interested in the position. You should practice how you are going to answer potential questions they may ask to help you feel more confident when it comes time to share with the interviewer. It is also a good idea to come to your interview with questions for them. Again, this shows interest in the company. Come to your interview with an updated resume. This can be a good resource to reference when responding to questions about your skills and prior experiences. Being prepared is always a positive reflection of a good job candidate.
Dressing for your interview is another important factor in how you are seen by potential employers. Always make sure your outfit is clean, unwrinkled, and business professional. You should also ensure that you are well-groomed and present a positive image of yourself. For a more in-depth perspective on physical appearances and what to wear to an interview, click here.
When you get ready to travel to your interview, consider the timing of your arrival. The best candidates for a job arrive about 15 minutes early. This shows that you are committed to the job, punctual, and ready for their time. Arriving late could reflect that you don’t care about the interview, the job, or the other person’s time. Alternatively, arriving earlier than 15 minutes is also troublesome for employers. The employer may feel rushed in their work if they know you are waiting around for them for more than 15 minutes. Show respect for them and arrive a few minutes early. If you happen to arrive earlier than 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment, it is best to wait in your car.
Before heading into your interview, make sure your phone is off and not just set to vibrate. Phones are distracting and an employer needs to see that they have your full attention. If you forget and your phone goes off during the interview, the best thing to do is politely apologize and turn it off. You need to show the interviewer that there is nothing more important than their conversation during your time together.
When meeting the interviewer(s): Make sure you know your interviewer's name before you arrive and refer to them with their respective title (Mrs./Ms./Mr./etc.). This is a sign of respect towards them and their position within the company. You should also be prepared to greet them with a firm handshake.
Ensure that you are using good manners during your interactions. This speaks to your character. Depending on the type of interview, you may need to consider things like table manners or how to behave in group settings.
During your interview: Be mindful of what your body language says to others. The best job candidates maintain good posture, make eye contact, and smile frequently. So be sure to sit up straight, and avoid maintaining a resting face throughout your introductions and interview. This makes you more approachable and projects confidence. You should also be mindful that nervous behaviors like fidgeting or speaking with your hands can take away from your confident image. Try to remain calm. While interviews can be nerve-wracking, it is just a conversation about your experiences and the qualities that make you a good candidate for the job. If you come to your interview well-prepared, you have nothing to worry about.
Think of what you are communicating before you speak. Avoid complaining during your interview. If you had a negative experience that you want to explain, be sure to communicate how that negative experience yielded a positive outcome. If a question is asked, answer to the best of your ability, even if you have some uncertainty about answering. Lastly, make sure you always let others in the room finish their thoughts before you speak. Be courteous and don’t interrupt. Click here for more tips about how to respond to questions in your interview.
After your interview: Keep in mind that the interview doesn’t end until you have driven away from the interview site. The potential employer may be watching your behavior until you are out of sight, therefore you should maintain professionalism and your best character until you have completely left the site. This includes how you act in the parking lot afterward (and before the interview too). During your departure and exit of the interview, be sure to leave with another firm handshake and thank your interviewer for their hospitality. Professional behavior can leave a lasting impression on an interviewer, so it is important to keep this up throughout the entire interview.
Follow Up: Make sure to always follow up with a phone call or email. This shows that you are serious about working at the establishment and will help you stand out from the other competitors who didn’t take this step. You should also consider sending a thank you note, even if things don’t work out at the company you interviewed for. Interviewees who follow up with the company afterwards leave a longer-lasting impression with their interest in the company. This is also a good way to ensure the company has your contact information for future use.
What’s your next step?
The best candidates for any job are those who come prepared for all aspects of the interview process. Our First Job Search is here to make sure that candidate is YOU!
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