Interview Etiquette

An interview, like any social interaction, is governed by rules of etiquette. People are often nervous in these situations because they don’t know the rules that they are expected to follow, and rightly so. Etiquette is about presenting yourself well to others, if you can’t do that, employers may question whether you possess the self-awareness, control, and polish to be effective at a job.

Before the interview:

* Choose conservative attire. A pressed, dark color (navy, black or charcoal) suit with matching belt, polished shoes, and (if applicable), a handbag is recommended.
* Ladies, your hair and make-up should be simple. Keep your hair out of your face and your make-up light and natural-looking. Choose your accessories carefully. More than one or two items of jewelry is too much, and smaller items are preferable.
* A light spritz of cologne or perfume is acceptable, but don’t douse yourself.

At the interview:

* Arrive 5-10 minutes early to allow time to fill out paperwork and use the restroom.
* Be polite to everyone – receptionists and administrative assistants often have a lot more influence than you might suspect.
* Don’t chew gum.
* Use a firm handshake, but don’t try to crush the other person’s knuckles.
* Sit up straight.
* Make eye contact.
* Answer questions in a straightforward manner. Keep your answers to the point and don’t ramble.
* Sound like a professional. Don’t use “umm,” “like,” “you know,” or “whatever.” If you need to pause to compose an answer, don’t use any vocalizations. Silence is not terrible, it makes you appear thoughtful.
* If you have questions, think them through before speaking. Don’t interrupt. Wait until the interviewer is finished, then ask your question.
* At the end of the interview, shake hands and thank the person for their time.
* If you are being interviewed over a meal, there are several additional things to keep in mind.
* Don’t order the most or least expensive item on the menu.
* Avoid items that are difficult or messy to eat (fish/pasta) or that are eaten with the fingers.
* Don’t order alcohol.
* Don’t talk with your mouth full.
* Don’t discuss religion or politics.

After the interview:

* Send a personalized thank you note to everyone who interviewed you – email is fine. Thank them for their time and express interest in the position.

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