Knowing proper job interview etiquette is an important part of successful interviewing. How you dress, what you bring to a job interview, how you greet the interviewer, and how you communicate can all make a big difference in the outcome of the interview.
Review these job interview tips for before, during, and after a job interview, to ensure that your job interview etiquette is up to speed and you are making the best impression on the interviewer.
What to wear to a job interview
When you are dressing for a job interview the image you present is important. The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That is why it is always important to dress appropriately for a job interview.
Generally, you want to wear professional, or business, attire. For men, this might mean a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie, or a sweater and button down. For women, this might mean a blouse and dress pants, a blazer or a statement dress. You can also incorporate some modern style trends into your outfit. Whether you are a man or woman, you also want to think about the colors you wear for an interview. Avoid anything too bright or flashy that will distract the hiring manager.
Greet your interviewers as Ms. or Mr. and follow their lead
When you arrive at a job interview, introduce yourself to the receptionist, if there is one. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and introduce yourself. Most people prefer you call them by their first name however, when you call someone by their last name you are showing them respect.
Follow the interviewers’ lead and let them guide the direction of the conversation. If there are periods of silence...just sit there in the silence. If you are well prepared for your interview, relax, you have nothing to worry about. One of the most common interviewing mistakes is talking too much. It is easy to ramble and over explain things if your interview is a person of few words and there are periods of silence. Resist this and simply let them set the pace of the interview.
Make sure your cell phone is off... not on vibrate
The last thing you need is a distraction during one of the most important meetings of your life. People can still hear your cell ring in vibrate mode.
What to bring to a job interview
It is important to come prepared to a job interview. Bring extra copies of your resume along with a list of references to offer the interviewer. Also, bring a list of questions to ask the interviewer. If you are interviewing for a tech or web job and you want to show examples of your work, it is fine to bring your laptop or tablet to show the interviewer what you have accomplished.
What you should not bring? Do not walk into a job interview with a coffee cup or bottle of soda or water or anything else to eat or drink. Do not chew gum.
When to get to a job interview
It is important to arrive a few minutes early, or on time, at the latest, for a job interview. Know where you are going, how much travel time you need, and how to get to the interview location. Google Maps could be of a great help! Check out the logistics ahead of time, so you ensure that you are not late. Giving yourself a bit of extra time will give you an opportunity to stop in the restroom and freshen up, if need be, to make sure you don't have any hair, makeup or wardrobe glitches.
A few extra minutes will also give you an opportunity to catch your breath and stay calm. An interview is even more stressful than normal if you are rushing to get there on time.
Pursue the interview even if it is going badly
You might be enduring an awful interview experience quietly thinking to yourself, this is the last place I would ever want to work... get me out of here!
Best advice I can give you is be professional and finish what you started to the best of your ability. No one has a gun to your head to take this job. You are in the driver's seat because you can always withdraw from the process or turn down an offer.
Follow up with a thank you note
Following up with a thank you note is on the list of interview etiquette best practices. Taking the time to say thank you not only shows that you appreciated the interview, it also gives you an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the job.
In addition to saying thank you, refer to anything the interviewer mentioned that enhanced your interest and summarize why you think the job is a good match and why you are a strong candidate for the job.
When it comes to interviewing, knowing the rules ahead of time is a great start. So be prepared, be confident, and be yourself, and you will shine for sure. Good luck!
The Business Lobby Team