Etiquette (from Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary): the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life. Rules of acceptable behavior.
Etiquette is the first and most important part of a job candidate’s interview.
A job interview requires good etiquette, because a job interview is a formal interaction. It is not a casual get-together or “hanging out.” It is a formal business appointment and the job candidate will be judged on their appearance and behaviors, even in an IT company where everyone wears khakis, T-shirts, running shoes, and perhaps purple hair and multiple piercings.
For a job interview, dress yourself a bit better and above the level you’d expect among the current employees, wear conservative clothing, and act in a conservative manner.
Interview etiquette is all about showing as much respect to the interviewer and your potential new employer’s company as you can. It is also all about being completely appropriate in manners for a business setting. Knowledge, experience, determination, and communications skills will help, but etiquette is the first picture your new employer will have of your character.
Hiring decisions to reject applicants, based on poor etiquette often occur within the first five minutes of the job interview. A tentative decision to hire you could also be made in that first five minutes, if your etiquette is good.
Etiquette begins to be observed from the time you drive onto the parking lot or get off the bus stop nearest the company to reach your interview appointment. Many times, a staff member of the company is stationed in a place to be able to observe you coming onto the property for your interview. They may also observe you leaving. Make sure your movements are confident, but relaxed, and that you use good posture. Don’t look down, but look straight ahead.
Observe good manners and safety rules while driving and don’t screech your tires or cut across empty parking spaces in the lot if you are driving. Stick to the driving lanes and speed limits (usually 10 mph in a parking lot). Wash your car the day before your interview, if you will be driving. Some people even rent a car for job interviews in order to make the best impression and the cost is often a tax-deductible job-search expense.
Next, you enter the building. Be polite, and hold the door for others who are entering the building. Show good manners and greet everyone politely, from the receptionist to the janitor, and especially any customers or clients you encounter.
Next, your character shows in how you choose to enter the room. Do not do it without thought.
Politely greet the receptionist and introduce yourself and state whom you are to see and follow her directions. When he or she tells you it is time to go into the next room for your interview, do not walk straight into the room without being asked by the interviewer to do so. Knock on the door first if it is closed or wait for the receptionist to walk you in. The interviewer may also come out to meet you first. Wait for him or her to ask you into their office.
Th following comprise a set of informative tips for effective job interview etiquette:
(For some extra pointers, read Things You Should Never Say in an Interview)
Be on time. Actually, be 10-15 minutes early. Drive past the company the day before to make sure you know where it is and how to get there. If you drive by early in the morning, you will see how employees dress as well. You might stop in at the lobby and introduce yourself to the receptionist and pick up some company literature. You can study it overnight. If something happens unexpectedly to make you late the next day, call the receptionist as soon as possible.
Turn off your cell phone for the interview. No exceptions.
Job interviews require more formal attire (business-formal), no matter how you dress in everyday life. Business office attire is still business-formal for women and men. You may see people in movies getting jobs for their attitudes or creativity, instead of their appearance, but those are movies. They are not real life and it usually does not work that way. Have a good appearance and wear your best outfit, unless is it party-wear with flashy colors or sequins, etc. Wear a suit if at all possible or borrow one if you can. Otherwise, a clean and pressed shirt (plain, not a print), with a tie and dark-colored pressed trousers will work for men. A clean and pressed tailored dress or skirt and blouse will work for women, and nothing should be above knee-length. No short skirts. For shoes, both men and woman should wear closed-toe dress shoes or clean shoes that are not running or sports shoes. No sandals.
Wash your hair the day before your interview and get a haircut if you need one. Comb and brush it well and wear it neatly for your interview. Long hair needs to be tied back. Braids and large or multiple pieces of hair jewelry are not acceptable. Do not wear blue, green, or purple hair or extensions. Do not wear cologne or perfume, because it will be distracting and the interviewer might be allergic to it. Do use deodorant
Smile when you meet the interviewer with a smile that reaches into your eyes. Use an assertive handshake and look people in the eye. Assertive does not mean aggressive. Shake hands firmly and bend forward slightly to show respect.
Wait to be offered a seat and then say, “Thank you.” Sit down with good posture and keep your feet flat on the floor. Do not cross your legs except at the ankles and do not shake your feet or legs, or fidget.
Do not hog the conversation, make rude remarks or sit silently at the interview. Respond to questions in a positive, energetic, and forthcoming manner. Ask good questions when you have a chance. If it is a breakfast or lunch interview, use careful table manners. Do not try to make jokes.
Sell yourself by pointing out how you will benefit the employer. Do not dwell on hobbies, volunteer work, your family, or your personal life.
Do not lie about anything.st interview is often seen as unethical. The employer should mention a salary range first. If you mention a range first, it may be lower than the employer would actually pay. However, if they ask you, give them the range you have chosen as reasonable according to what similar jobs are paying in your city.
Thank the interviewer(s) at the end of the interview, asking when they will contact you for a second interview or with a hiring decision. Thank the receptionist on your way out.
Walk out of the interview and the building with a real smile on your face and walk with upright posture in a confident manner. Be polite and friendly to those you encounter on your way out.
Drive carefully out of the parking lot or wait calmly at your bus stop and stop somewhere to purchase a Thank You Note on your way home. Hand write a sincere thank you for the interview and mail the note later the same day or first thing the next morning. Be sire to get the interviewer’s name correct – call the company and ask if you are not sure. The Thank You Note can make a difference!
If you need to be late because of emergencies, call ahead. Further, current wisdom is that it if preferable for you be 10 – 15 minutes early for an interview, but no earlier. The rationale is that earlier arrivals stress out the staff and encroach upon the interviewing process and flow.