When interviewing for a job, you are not only assessed on your skills and experience, you are also evaluated on your interview poise and etiquette. Your body language, attitude, and manners can send a very strong message to your potential employer. It’s up to you to determine if the message you send is positive or negative.
“Preparing for the interview is required, not optional. Plan for your etiquette even though it can be thought of as common sense!” says Sharon Tsao, CMO of Contemporary Staffing Solutions.
If you’re ready to nail your interview and land the job, follow these easy tips on proper interview etiquette:
Dress to impress.
Regardless of what type of position you’re interviewing for or what the dress code at the company is, make sure you dress up. While donning a tuxedo would be overkill, wearing jeans and a t-shirt would also be inappropriate. At a minimum, be sure to wear business casual clothes and be well groomed.
So, what does this look like? For men, this typically means dress pants, dress shoes, a button-up shirt, and a tie, with groomed facial hair. For women, this typically means dress pants, a skirt, or dress (with panty hose), a blouse, and closed-toe dress flats or heels. Typically, hair should be a natural color and no tattoos or facial piercings should be showing
Have you ever heard the phrase “early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable”? This phrase was practically created for interviews! The interviewer is taking time out of their day to meet with you, so be respectful of their time and arrive about 15 minutes early.
If you aren’t sure where the office is located, do a test drive a couple days before your interview and see how long it takes you to get there (keeping traffic in mind) so you can figure out when you should leave home to get to your interview.
Always be respectful.
As soon as you enter the building, make sure you look friendly and approachable. From the interviewer to the receptionist, be kind and warm. Upon meeting your interviewer, smile, shake their hand, and formally introduce yourself. If you’ve been corresponding them via phone or email, say that it is nice to meet them in person.
Being courteous and nice to all employees you encounter is a simple way for your potential employer to picture you as a fit in the organization!
Match the company culture.
If the company has a more casual environment, don’t be overly formal. The same principles apply if the reverse is true. While you should always be professional, it is important to be aware of the culture and communication style of the organization and try your best to match it.
Be careful– just because the interviewer may use casual language or slang, you should still be professional and use appropriate language. It may be a no-brainer but make sure not to use any profanity.
Reframe negative experiences.
If asked why you’re leaving your current position, make sure to reframe your experiences in a way that is appropriate and even positive. Making derogatory statements about another company can make an interviewer worried that you will say derogatory things about them in the future.
Instead of badmouthing your employer, mention generalized reasons for leaving. Perhaps you are looking for a more exciting industry to be in or you’re looking for a position that has career growth. If possible, point out specific skills/tasks you gained from these jobs that you believe would be applicable in this new position.
Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time – not only after the interview, but with a personalized follow-up email. Even if you don’t get the job, they may remember you the next time they are hiring and contact you.
Employers and recruiters pay attention to not only your answers to interview questions, but also your overall etiquette during the interview process. By taking the time to follow these simple best practices, you will increase your chances of securing a great job.
Looking for more helpful interview tips?
- Learn how to show your passion in an interview
- Learn what NOT to do in an interview
- Prepare for non-traditional interviews
- And more!
Contemporary Staffing connects job seekers to hiring managers nationally in the following professions: Accounting & Finance, Call Center & Office, Human Resources, IT, Salesforce, and Sales & Marketing.