Job interview etiquette can make all the difference between landing that position or missing out on it. The interview is not just about what you say, it is how you act...
Proper etiquette is not just what happens during the interview, but the preparation that follows and what you do afterwards to make that lasting impression.
In today's job market, things are more competitive than they ever have been. In order for you to get the job, you must stand out amongst all the other applicants.
I have hired many people during my professional career. During those times, I have been able to experience first-hand what some applicants do during the interview process. Many of those people did foolish things that made a negative impression on me.
And that is how this list of job interview etiquette tips were created. It is based on things that I noticed while interviewing people and I want to pass this wisdom on to you.
1. Research the company - I interviewed many people and one of the first questions I would ask them is what they knew about the company I worked for. Almost always, the answer was, "I don't know anything about the company."
This left me to believe that the job was not important enough to them to do a little research. I remember one applicant answering me with the annual sales figures for the last five years. That made an impression on me that the position and interview were important to her. This is one easy way to stand out from the other applicants.
2. How you dress - What you wear for the job interview is also an important part of job interview etiquette. You can make a positive impression by dressing the right way for the interview. I remember people showing up in jeans and a t-shirt for the interview and this was for a professional company. Needless to say, I was not impressed...
Personally, I always wear a suit to the interview regardless of the type of company I am interviewing with. I would rather be over-dressed than under-dressed. If you are too formal, the interviewer will let you know and it is always easier to remove a jacket or tie than it is to put one on afterwards. Your clothing and dress will tell them who you are and how much you want the job. Dress to impress...
3. Show up early - Nothing offended me more than when candidates were late for the time of the interview. This told me that it wasn't important to them and that they were not planning ahead. I knew immediately that this was not the type of person I would hire.
If an emergency comes up (flat tire, got lost, etc.), call before the time of the interview and let them know about the situation. This is the polite thing to do as it shows respect for them and their time. Proper job interview etiquette requires that you be respectful of their time.
4. Shake hands - As mentioned on other pages throughout this website, a hand shake tells a lot about people. Give the interviewer a good, firm handshake with a smile. This will start the interview off on the right foot. It let's them know what kind of character you have.
5. Eye contact - You need to make eye contact with the person during the interview. This is especially important as you are answering questions. Studies have shown that eye contact is a form of self-esteem and confidence. Your body language says a lot and you need to be careful what you are communicating.
When people look at the floor during their answers or avoid eye contact, that let's me know that they are intimidated or self-conscious. When they make eye contact with me (don't stare at them either) it tells me that they are self-assured and I like to hire people like that.
6. Think before you speak - The interview is not a race. The interviewer is not judging you based on how quickly you answer their questions. Quality of answers should prevail over speed.
One thing you can do to prepare for this is to review potential interview questions in your mind before going. That way, you will be prepared to answer during the interview.
7. Send a "Thank You" note - Less than 5% of all people I have ever interviewed have sent me a Thank You note after the interview. It sure makes an impression on me when they take the time to do it.
The note does not need to be long or flowery. In fact, using good thank you note etiquette and making it simpler, will make it better. This is another way to stand out from the rest of the applicants.
These points of job interview etiquette are all about making the right impression and making the most of the opportunity. By implementing these tips, you will make the right kind of impression on the interviewer and you can use your etiquette to influence their hiring decision.