What is Interview Etiquette?

Etiquette isn’t the lost art that some would believe and proper etiquette goes beyond knowing which fork to use at dinner or how to fold your napkin on your lap. Interviewing is all about etiquette, in fact.

  1. Show up on time. This demonstrates that you value both your time and others’ time too. Anticipate traffic and parking delays and give yourself extra minutes to visit the bathroom to freshen up before checking in for your appointment.

  2. Turn off your phone and keep it out of sight. Your interviewer isn’t going to see your use of a cell phone as an indication of your importance. He’ll see it as an annoyance. Besides, whether you believe it or not, your cell phone is a distraction. You want to have all of your attention on the interview to ensure you are putting your best foot forward.

  3. When in doubt regarding what to wear on an interview, always overdress. It’s better to look nicer than necessary rather than vice versa. Remember, your external appearance can make quite a statement during a short interview time period.

  4. It may be obvious, but don’t forget about personal hygiene. It’s important to be fresh and clean when you go on an interview. Pop a breath mint just before you have the interview and make sure you take it easy on the cologne or fragrances! You don’t want your sent to be a distraction from what you have to say.

  5. Maintain professional distance. Now’s not the time to act like the interviewer is your new best friend. Don’t get too personal with the information you share – the interviewer doesn’t need to know about the struggles you had finding a parking spot or that you were out late at a party the night before.

  6. Stand tall and be proud. Offer a firm handshake that shows you are confident and sit up straight in your chair. Don’t slouch. You don’t want the interviewer to think that you are meek or intimidated based on your body language.

  7. Remember that you are not entitled to anything. Be an advocate for yourself, but maintain some humility too. Nobody likes a know-it-all or a bully.

  8. Keep in mind your body language. Interviewing is not only about what you say verbally, but also about what you share non-verbally. Maintain an open posture and avoid crossing your arms. Avoid over-the-top hand gestures and cues that could indicate that you are bored or nervous, such as twirling your hair, tapping your foot or looking at a clock.
  9. Relax and be yourself! When on an interview, the employer wants to get a glimpse of what it will be like to work with you. So, it’s okay to let your personality come through. Smile a lot and have a positive attitude.

  10. Send a thank you note. Promptly after your interview, send a thank you note to demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail. Thank the interviewer – by name – for her time and also add a comment or insight you forgot during the interview. This is one more chance for you to demonstrate your interest in the position and to leave a positive impression.


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