Job interview etiquette is similar to having good table manners or knowing another country's customs. These small subtleties add a touch of class to the whole affair and make you look good.
Think about it this way.
What kind of impression would a guy make on his first date if he showed up with flowers and opened the car door for his date?
Things might still work out if he just drove up and honked the horn, but most women I know would definitely be impressed with a guy who showed up with some class.
Good interview etiquette applies in journalism as well.
A female journalist recently interviewed a high ranking official from one of the Muslim countries. Since she was in their country, she veiled her head while she conducted the interview.
Do you recall a few years ago, President Bush walking with the King of Saudi Arabia holding hands?
Boy...that sure looked weird.
Many of job interview courtesies may be second nature to you; but, it's still good to discuss them, because you'd be surprised how you are judged on the little details.
Nearly one-third (32%) of chief financial officers recently polled said candidates are more likely to slip up during the interview than at any other time during the application process.
- Interview Etiquette Tip One:
Arrive 15 minutes early
You never want to arrive late for your job interview; however, arriving too early can also be a problem.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Two:
Make sure your cell phone is off
Turn it off--not on vibrate. You don't want any distractions during your interview. Also, people can still hear your phone go off in vibrate mode.
Better still...just leave your cell phone in your car.
There is nothing more important right now than your interview. This could be a life changing moment for you and your family.
How did we survive all those years without cell phones?
- Interview Etiquette Tip Three:
Give people your business card
The main reason for this is so people can remember your name and pronounce it right. Also, it's easier to follow up with you later.
You may be thinking, they already have your resume.
But resumes are stored in a database or file cabinet when your interview is over. If the hiring manager likes you, your business card might lay on their desk in full sight long after you're gone.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Four:
Look people in the eye
Body language is an extremely important aspect of proper interview etiquette. Communication experts tell us that 80% of our communication with others is non-verbal.
One of the best ways to connect with people and build trust is to look them in the eye. Eye contact is also important when you are in a group interview setting.
Have you ever heard someone say, I don't trust that guy. He didn't look me in the eye. Your eyes are the windows to your soul.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Five:
This is another non-verbal way to connect with people. It seems ludicrous to be judged negatively by a limp handshake, but people do it all the time.
Even so, be careful with this advice.
You don't want your handshake to be too firm either--especially if a man is shaking hands with a woman.
There is this guy at my church who practically breaks my hand every time we shake hands. I actually try to avoid "The Bone Crusher" on Sunday. He's really a very nice guy, but sheesh, take it easy!
- Interview Etiquette Tip Six:
Greet your interviewers as Ms or Mr
Most people prefer you call them by their first name. When was the last time someone said to you, Just call me Mr Rubble?
We all can safely assume that the minute we call him Mr Rubble, he is going to say, Just call me Barney.
So, what's the big deal?
Well, it's really not a show stopper. There is minimal risk of offending someone if you do call them by their first name.
But, when you call someone by their last name you are showing them respect. In essence you are saying to them, I respect you and you are important.
Do you like to feel respected and important?
Again, it's a little thing, but it could score you some Brownie points.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Seven:
Let the company take the lead during your interview
Sometimes when your interviewer is soft spoken or laid back you may feel a compulsion to keep things moving.
So, you start taking back some control and the next thing you know, you're rambling.
Resist this. Let them run the interview.
If there are periods of silence...just sit there in the silence. If you have prepared for your interview, you have nothing to worry about.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Eight:
Listen and pause before answering a question
I've noticed a disturbing trend these days.
When you are talking to someone, some people will step on the last 2-3 words of your sentence and talk over you instead of allowing you the courtesy to finish your sentence.
Have you noticed?
If not, watch Fox News or any of the talk shows and pay attention. They do it all the time. It is especially prevalent among Type A personalities.
I guess we live in such a fast-paced world that we've already figured out what someone is going to say before they've finished saying it. Anyway, it's very annoying and discourteous.
Let your interviewer finish making their point, pause for 1-2 seconds, then respond or add to their comments.
Check Out: My Job Interview Skills Quiz + a 6 page bonus report on the 10 biggest mistakes job seekers make when they resign and why it often results in a bad reference.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Nine:
Sit up straight and lean slightly forward
This type of posture communicates: I'm listening and I'm very interested in what you have to say. It also signals you have high energy and are ready to go to work.
I can't tell you the number of times managers have rejected good candidates because, they were too laid back in their interview ...literally.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Ten:
Take a few notes during your interview
Bring a professional looking binder with you. Write down a few notes during your interview.
This conveys a sincere interest in what your interviewers have to say. You can also have a few key phrases written down to help you if you get stuck, and your short list of your questions for them.
Lastly, you can have your references and copies of your resume handy in case they ask you for them. If they ask you for your references during your interview, this is definitely a buying signal.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Eleven:
This seems like such an obvious piece of advice, so why do I even bring it up.
A couple of reasons.
Some people have a serious demeanor when their face is in the resting position. I'm one of those people.
I am often asked, Is everything ok?; or, You seem down today; or, Are you alright? Most of the time when I'm asked this I'm in a good mood and all is well.
So, knowing this about myself is good, because when I'm in certain settings I actually have to make a conscious effort to smile and overcompensate for my serious resting face.
Some folks look serious or down when they are under stress or they are listening intently. If this is you, then you need to be aware of it and overcompensate for it.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Twelve:
Pursue the job even if your interview is going badly
You might be sitting in an awful interview thinking to yourself, this is the last place I'd ever want to work...get me out of here!
Best advice I can give you is be professional and finish what you started.
No one has a gun to your head to take this job. You're in the driver's seat, but be careful not to prejudge things too early in the process.
You never know who you are going to meet and how they might affect your career downstream.
Look at this interview like you're out on a first date with someone with horrid bad breath. You're not going to end the date because of this, but you're probably not going to kiss them good night either!
- Interview Etiquette Tip Thirteen:
Close your interview with a lasting impression
At the conclusion of your interview, stand, make eye contact, smile, shake hands, call interviewer by name, thank them, express interest in the position, and ask what's the next step going forward.
Your interview is not over until you've driven out of the parking lot.
In a few cases, I've known managers to watch candidates from their office window as they exit the building and get into their car.
People can do some pretty outrageous things like spitting, lighting up a cigarette, arranging themselves, yapping on their cell phones for 20 minutes while leaning on their car, chowing down on a sandwich in their car, and other things you would not BAH-lieve if I told you.
So, stay in professional mode until your tail lights are out of sight.
OK...I just can't resist telling you this one story.
One time a candidate parked his car and walked a good distance to the building where his interview was to take place.
The building was very modern and had mirrored glass. You could see out, but you couldn't see inside.
As the candidate approached the entrance he quickly darted over in front of one of the windows adjacent to the entrance.
He did a last minute check of his appearance in the mirrored glass and discovered a couple of hairs out of place.
Sooooooo, he proceeded to spit in his hand, rub them together, and slick back the unruly hairs to his satisfaction.
As it turns out, this gent was having a panel interview on this day with 4-5 folks.
As luck would have it, the entire interview team was sitting in...oh yes...you guessed it...the conference room adjacent to the building entrance!
The entire panel watched in horror as this candidate groomed himself up close and personal in true hillbilly fashion.
How would you handle a firm handshake in this case?!
- Interview Etiquette Tip Fourteen:
Mail a thank you note the day after your interview
Less than 10% of candidates send interview thank you notes.
This is a MUST on the interview etiquette list.
Candidates always score points with managers when they mail out a brief thank you note.
- Interview Etiquette Tip Fifteen:
Exercise good follow up protocol
If after your job interview the company goes into silent mode, it's perfectly OK to call them for feedback.
Here are 8 effective interview follow up techniques you can do to influence hiring authorities to make you an offer without annoying them.
Most companies will eventually call you, but far too many leave you hanging forever.
Don't you just hate that?
If you, or someone you care about, has been unemployed for 6 months...or longer...my book will help you pinpoint what you're doing wrong.