11 Tips for a Perfect The Job Interview Etiquette
Your work interview does not go unnoticed by decent bosses, etiquette — or lack of it-. We will explore 12 behavioral rules that will help you to make a lasting impression on hiring authorities. Proper interview etiquette may be second nature to you, but it is always a good idea to do a quick self-assessment to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. You will be shocked to see how much your body language or other personality traits judge you. We all have them but once you are conscious of your mannerisms, during your interview you will over-compensate them to better represent the real you.
1. Greet as Ms or Mr your interviewees
Most people prefer you call them by their first name. When was the last time someone instructed you to call them by their last name? So what’s the big deal?
Well, it’s really not a show stopper, and there is minimal risk you’ll offend someone if you do call them by their first name; however, when you call someone by their last name you are showing them respect. In essence you are saying to them, I respect you and you are important.
Do you like to feel respected and important? Again, it’s a little thing, but in a world where there is too little respect going around, it will make you stand out from other competing candidates for this same position.
Special Tip: Hiring managers will seek to determine how easy you will be to work with and handle during your interview. It’s true, employers need champions and self-starters, but sometimes they just need you to be a good soldier and do your job.
2. Make sure your mobile phone’s off … not on vibration
The last thing you need is to confuse yourself at one of your life’s most important meetings. During vibrating mode, people can still hear your mobile ring. Better still … Just put your cell phone in the car.
There is nothing more important right now than an interview with you. For you and your family, this may be a life-altering moment. BTW — How have we lived without mobile phones all those years?
3. Look at people in the eye, and smile.
Body language is a very critical aspect of an effective work interview etiquette. Experts in communication tell us that 80 percent of our contact with others is nonverbal.
One of the best ways of communicating with people and building trust is to look them in the eye. It’s also necessary to have eye contact during a group interview.
During my experience as an executive recruiter, I regularly had applicants arriving at an employer who believed they would be in a one-on-one interview environment, only to be brought into a conference room with 4 to 5 hiring authorities asking them questions one after the other.
Many people do not smile when under pressure and appear anxious and lack confidence. It’s amazing how something as easy as a smile can project confidence and leadership … even if you’re a nervous wreck.
Have you ever heard anyone say, the guy I didn’t trust? He never looked at me in the eye?! Your eyes are the portals to your soul, and often express that you are trustworthy and true to others.
True Confession: One of my personality defects is that I prefer to have a stern face to rest. The reason I ‘m aware of this is that I’ve had co-workers and friends on occasions asking me if everything’s okay … or if I’m upset about something.
I use to get irritated when people question me if I’m in good mood most of the time; but understanding how others perceive my body language gives me the ability to overcompensate for this character quirk whenever I encounter new people, give a speech, or take part in a big meeting.
4. Steady handshake
This is a common nonverbal way of communicating with men. It seems unfair to have a sloppy handshake judged negatively, but people do it all the time. However, be vigilant with this advice.
You don’t want to make your handshake too firm — especially when a man shakes hands with a woman. At my church, there is this man who literally breaks my hand every time we shake hands. Finally, on Sunday, I try to stop “The Bone Crusher.” He’s a nice man, but sheesh, just take it easy!
5. Let the business take the lead when interviewing you
Often you may feel the need to keep things going when your interviewer is soft spoken or laid back. So, you are trying to take back some leverage and you’re rambling the next thing you know.
Need to stop. Let the series run by the Employer. When there are times of silence … just sit in the silence there. Relax if you’re well-prepared for an interview, you have nothing to worry about.
One of the most common errors in interviewing is to speak too much. If your interview is a person with few words, and there are stretches with silence, it’s easy to ramble and over-describe things. Resist this, and just let them set the interview pace.
6. Do not move on the last 3 words of a conversation with someone
These days I have observed a disturbing pattern. When I talk to someone, they often step on my sentence’s last 2-3 words and talk about me without extending the courtesy of finishing my sentence to me.
Have you ever seen this happen? Annoying, aren’t they? The hosts of the Reporters and TV talk show do it all the time. Type A personalities are especially prevalent.
Let the interviewer finish his point, pause for 1-2 seconds; then answer their question or add to the conversation. Check out my quiz on readiness for my job interview. It highlights your shortcomings regarding the interview process and reveals how best to respond.
7. Sit straight and lean forwards slightly
In my role as an executive recruiter, I can’t tell you how many times the hiring managers rejected good candidates because, in their interview, they were too laid back … literally. For candidates over the age of 50, this is particularly valid.
Unfortunately, older job seekers are often prejudiced as lacking in drive and ambition, but younger job seekers also need to be on guard against becoming too casual or relaxed.
Sitting up straight and slightly leaning forward sends out the following non-verbal signal: I listen intently. What you have to say, I ‘m interested in. I have a great deal of time, and I am ready to go to work.
It’s hard to believe you can make this kind of impression in a couple of seconds, but it’s true. So neglect at your own peril this piece of interview etiquette.
8. Take notes while interviewing
Take with you a professional-looking binder so you can score a few notes during your interview. It conveys a genuine interest in what your interviewees have to say and gives you the chance to write down a question to ask at the right time.
I’m not thinking about a cheap 3 ring binder when I say a good looking binder like you carried around in 8th grade. Invest in a leather binder with the first-class feel. Should not use an IPad or an electronic tablet to take notes unless you apply for a programmer or a separate IT job.
The other good thing about keeping a professional binder on your lap is if you are nervous you can use it as a cheat sheet. You will have a couple of key phrases written down before your interview to help you if you get stuck … and you’re shortlisted of relevant questions to ask them.
Ultimately, should they ask you for them, you should keep your relevant references and copies of your CV in handy. When a recruitment manager asks you during your interview about your relevant references, this is certainly a purchasing signal.
9. Go ahead with the work even though the interview goes poorly
You might endure a terrible interview experience thinking quietly to yourself, this is the last place I ‘d ever want to work … get me out of here!
Be professional is the best advice I can give you, and finish what you have begun to the best of your ability. No one has a gun to take this work to your back. You are in the driver’s seat, since you can always withdraw or turn down an offer from the process.
Here are 2 situations where job seekers made the fatal error of prejudging things too early …… and lived to regret it. As a general rule, wait until you have all the facts before you make your final judgment on an individual or a firm.
Pearl of Knowledge: You never know who you are going to meet, or how your downstream career could be positively affected by a total stranger. Let people have a good opinion of yourself. In the future, it might be paying dividends. I once heard of a company combining with a rival. Imagine having incorrectly interviewed the VP of the rival who is now your boss.
10. You don’t finish your interview until you head down the lane.
I’ve known to hire managers in a few instances to observe applicants from their office window as they leave the building and get into their vehicle. People can do some pretty crazy stuff like swearing, lighting up a cigarette, organizing themselves, yapping 20 minutes on their mobile phones while sitting on their vehicle, chowing down on a sandwich in their vehicle, and other stuff you wouldn’t believe.
And stay in professional mode until out of reach of your tail lights. You can also be seen arriving for your interview.
True Story: Once a candidate parked his car and walked from the parking lot to the building where he was to have his interview. The building was very new and the glass had been mirrored. Out of the building, you could clearly see but you couldn’t see in.
When the candidate approached the door, he quickly darted in front of one of the mirrored windows adjacent to the door to test his appearance last minute and found some out of place hairs. Soooooooo … he spits in his mouth, rubs them together, and to his satisfaction, he slicked back the unruly hairs.
As it turns out this gentle one had a panel interview with 4-5 executives that day. And yes … the entire interview team was sitting in the conference room watching in horror as this candidate in true hillbilly fashion groomed himself up close and personal.
In this case, how will you handle a firm handshake? Think about a lack of etiquette for an interview!
11. Send a short note of thanks after your interview
It is a MUST on the etiquette list for a job interview. This is not only common courtesy, it also keeps your name in front of those who interview you.
This is so important that thank you notes, I actually wrote a separate article about the impact of a well-written interview. My article also answers concerns as to whether you can send a written email or form, and how frequently you can follow up with hiring authorities if you don’t hear from them.