Job Interview Etiquette

  1. Dress appropriately for the position. This may take some research. Find out the acceptable dress code for your potential job; is it traditional office wear, office causal, or simply causal? The traditional power colors black, blue, grey, and brown are still acceptable and highly recommended. Avoid wearing jeans. Even if the job is one where you normally would wear jeans, opt for a pair of tan khakis and a nice polo type shirt instead. Make sure your shoes are neat and clean.

  2. Choose a trim resume holder along with a pen and pad of paper. Don’t load yourself down with a bunch of stuff. Know in advance if you need to bring samples of your work or additional materials. If so, then pack light and simple. Choose something in black, brown or burgundy that is easy to reach into without causing a fuss during the interview. Be sure you bring a pen and paper along to take notes.

  3. Get directions. Make sure you have the correct directions. Use MapQuest to get correct driving directions. Call in advance, and double check with the receptionist if necessary. Leave your house in enough time to allow for unexpected delays.

  4. Arrive on time. On time means 15 minutes early, it’s better for you to wait than to be waited on. Once you arrive, give yourself a “once-over”. Check yourself one last time for any imperfections, leave your cell phone in the car, pop a mint in your mouth, and head on in.

  5. Be polite to everyone. Greet the receptionist with a pleasant “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon”, then say “My name is ________ (first and last name) and I have a ________ o’clock appointment with Mr./Ms._________.” If the receptionist is on the telephone, don’t interrupt. Wait patiently until she’s finished the call. Remember, you’re there early so you can wait.

  6. Greet with a firm hand shake and maintain good eye contact during the interview. Once you are called in for the interview, greet your interviewer by keeping it simple. Just stand up straight, smile, say their name, and give them a firm handshake. It’s a good idea to practice shaking hands at home. Avoid handshakes that are too limp or overpowering.

  7. Pay attention to your body language. Stand and sit up straight, don’t slouch. Don’t stare the interviewer in the eyes too hard; just make sure your eyes meet frequently. Be moderate in talking with your hands and using hand gestures. A recent UCLA study says up to 93 percent of effective communication is non verbal, so you don’t want to send the wrong message.

  8. Be mindful of how you hand over resumes and portfolios. During the interview if you have materials or a portfolio to present, wait until the interviewer has asked to review it. Be sure to open it up, and turn it towards the interviewer allowing them to read it from their direction.

  9. Mind your voice and vocabulary. Speak clearly and audibly, not too soft or too loud. Be sure you make good use of the English language. Avoid using slang words, and know your vocabulary before you use it. If the industry you are applying for uses specific jargon, you may want to include some as you answer questions. You give the interviewer a chance to hear you speak like one of their team members.

  10. Keep conversation pleasant, and professional. Don’t go on and on about yourself. Don’t talk too much or too little. Avoid making demands about pay, benefits or perks. Don’t become so comfortable to where you wind up sounding like you’re just shooting the breeze with your friends.

  11. Leave a lasting impression. At the end of the interview stand, look the interviewer in the eye, give a firm hand shake and thank the interviewer for their time. Send a short thank you note after the interview.