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 etiquette tips for before, during, and after a job interview, to ensure that your job interview etiquette is up to speed and you're 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 really important. Your image is what makes the first impression on the interviewer; that first impression is the one that sticks, so it's important to dress appropriately when interviewing.
Regardless of the type of job you're interested in, you want that first impression to be a great one. When dressing for an interview for a professional position, dress accordingly in business attire. If you're applying for a job in a more casual environment, like a store or restaurant, it's still important to be neat, tidy, and well-groomed, and to present a positive image to the employer.
What to Bring to a Job Interview
If you're interviewing for a tech or web job and you want to show examples of your work, it's okay to bring your laptop or tablet to show the interviewer what you have accomplished.
What shouldn't you bring? Don't walk into a job interview with a coffee cup or bottle of soda or water or anything else to eat or drink. Don't chew gum.
Your cell phone should be turned off and out of sight. You don't want to be the applicant whose text messages or calls disrupted the interview.
When to Get to a Job Interview
It's important to arrive a few minutes early, or on time, at the latest, for a job interview. Know where you're going, how much travel time you need, and how to get to the interview location. Check out the logistics ahead of time, so you ensure that you're not late.
You also may want to confirm the interview ahead of time, so you're sure about where and when you need to arrive.
Giving yourself a bit of extra time will provide you with 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 malfunctions.
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're rushing to get there on time.
How to Greet the Interviewer
When you arrive at a job interview, introduce yourself to the receptionist, if there is one. Let them know who you are and who you are scheduled to meet with.
Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and introduce yourself. Be prepared for a little small talk, but don't overdo it. Follow the interviewer's lead and let them guide the direction of the conversation.
The Best Way to Respond to Interview Questions
When you respond to interview questions, listen carefully to the questions, take time to phrase your responses, and ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you're not sure what they are asking.
Be brief and don't ramble when you respond. However, do be sure that your responses answer the questions, are focused, and highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job. Do your best to get the hiring manager on your side during the interview.
Keep in mind that your responses are your sales pitch. You're selling the interviewer on yourself as the best candidate for a second interview and the job, so be sure you focus on your relevancy, i.e., why you are a good candidate, how you can do the job, what you can contribute, and how you will benefit the company if you're hired.
What to Give the Interviewer
Bring extra copies of your resume with you, in case the interviewer needs a copy, or you end up meeting with several people.
Have a list of three references printed out, including contact information for each reference, ready to offer the recruiter at the end of the interview.
A pen and notepad are always useful for jotting down questions you might want to ask, and for making a note of the names of people you meet with.
How to Close an Interview
Toward the end of the interview, let the hiring manager know that you think the job is an excellent fit and that you are very interested in the job.
It's appropriate to ask what the next step in the hiring process will be and when you might expect to hear.
Finally, thank the interviewer for the time they spent interviewing with you.
Be Prepared for a Phone Interview
Phone interview etiquette is just as important as in-person job interview etiquette when it comes to getting hired. That's because, regardless of whether you interview on the phone or in-person, a successful interview will get you to the next stage of the hiring process.
Review phone interview etiquette tips, including phone interview techniques, advice on how to prepare for a phone interview, and phone interview questions and answers, so you can ace the interview.
Remember Your Table Manners
Dining with a prospective employee allows employers to review your communication and interpersonal skills, as well as your table manners, in a more casual environment.
Good manners can give you the edge over another candidate, so, take some time to brush up your dining etiquette skills before you go to the interview.
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 appreciate the interview, but 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're a strong candidate for the job.