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Job Interview Etiquette


Woman at job interview
Compassionate Eye Foundation/Dan Kenyon

Congratulations! Your application has made it through the job search maze and found its way to the interviewer’s desk. Celebrate the moment and then take some time to brush up on how to make yourself stand out by using proper job interview etiquette.

Good manners during the interview will not only leave a favorable impression, the company representatives will see you as an asset. Avoid making job interview mistakes that can prevent you from moving on to the next step in the process.

Dress Appropriately

Show up at the interview looking like you want the job. This means finding the proper attire that shows you at your best. Most corporations have dress code policies, so you’ll want to find out what they are if possible. Even if your appointment is on “casual Friday,” you never want to show up wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

One way to learn about a company’s dress code is to ask people who work there or drive by the office before or after business hours and observe people coming and going. If you’re in doubt, pull out the suit. The interviewer will appreciate your trying to look your best.

Be Punctual

Being on time is always a good habit to get into, and this is even more important for a job interview. There are absolutely no valid excuses to be late. If you’re not sure how long it’ll take to get there, practice making the drive during the same time of day. Then give yourself some extra time to make sure you’re not late.

You don’t want to arrive too early, so if you get there more than ten minutes before your appointment, stop off at a coffee or soda shop and try to relax. Allow time to find a parking place.

Turn Off Your Cell Phone

Never leave your cell phone on during a job interview. Leaving it on is rude, and having it ring when you’re supposed to be giving the interviewer your undivided attention will guarantee you won’t get the job. Turn off the phone before you walk into the office and don’t turn it on again until you leave the building.

Show Respect

Make eye contact with the interviewer as you shake hands. If the person is sitting, wait until he or she extends a hand. Grip it firmly but avoid crushing the fingers. Smile and follow his or her lead. Always refer to the interviewer as Mr. or Ms. Never use a first name unless you are asked to do so. If you have a business card, you may give one to the interviewer.

Be Attentive

Don’t make a beeline for the closest chair and plop down. Allow the interviewer to direct you to a seat. If you walk past other employees smile, but even if you know someone, don’t disrupt business by stopping and chatting.

You want to give the interviewer your undivided attention. Avoid glancing down at your watch or up at the clock on the wall. Sit up straight and don’t fidget.

Although you may chatter when you’re nervous, don’t talk too much. Answer all the questions thoroughly and then pause to give the interviewer a chance to speak or ask another questions.

Before you ask questions, wait for a cue. Most interviewers will prompt you, but if this one doesn’t, let him or her know you have questions. Taking notes during an interview is perfectly fine.

Be Gracious

Before you leave, thank the interviewer for his or her time. If it hasn’t already come up, you may ask how long you can expect before hearing back. If the person doesn’t know, don’t push for an answer.

Remain professional until you pull out of the parking lot. You never know who is watching you from the office window.

As soon as you get home, write a thank you note and get it in the mail. This will show your good manners and keep you fresh in the mind of the interviewer when the time comes to offer a position.

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