What is the Proper Etiquette During a Job Interview?

Knowing proper etiquette tips during an interview is a critical part of job hunting. How you greet the interviewers, how you dress, what you bring to the interview room, how you communicate and your body language can make or break your chances at securing the job.

So, whether it is your first interview, or you are a seasoned professional looking to scale the career ladder, it never hurts to familiarize yourself with a few etiquette tips and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Below, we will explore the 12 codes of job interview conduct that will help you shine on your big day.

Let’s delve right in, shall we?

1. Respectfully Greet the Interviewers

The first thing you should do when you enter an interview room is to greet your interviewers. Address them as Mr or Ms. Look them in the eye while doing so and smile.

You can even choose to greet them by their first name. You are more likely to recall someone’s name later on if you actually called them the first time you met.

When extending a handshake, you want to make sure the grip is firm but not too intense. By all means, do not extend a limp handshake. And if you happen to be the one receiving the limp handshake, gently squeeze the interviewer’s hand. This might prompt them to extend a firmer handshake.

Pro Tip: During the introduction, the hiring team will be trying to assess how easy and approachable you are. It’s true, employers always want to hire leaders, but sometimes they are simply looking for someone who will be fun to work with.

2. Keep Your Phone on Silent, Not on Vibrate Mode

This one is a no-brainer. It is important to keep your phone in silent mode to avoid unnecessary distractions on arguably the most important meeting of your life. Better yet, do not take your cell phone to the interview room. Leave it in the car instead.

Pro Tip: At the moment, the most important thing is your interview. You should not let anything derail your chances of securing the job.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Appropriate Body Language

Did you know that your posture communicates a lot during an interview? For instance, sitting with your legs crossed may send a message that you feel alienated and defensive.

If you keep your hand clenched into a fist, you may send the impression that you are nervous. On the other hand, playing with your hair could mean you lack self-confidence.

Besides, proper job interview etiquette dictates that you should stand whenever someone enters the room. You lose credibility and respect if you remain seated when someone else comes into the interview room.

Pro Tip: Remain conscious of everything you do so that you are not caught off-guard during the interview.

4. Dress the Part

When dressing for an interview, you want to appear professional. Your image is what will create the first impression of you. As such, it is important to dress the part.

Irrespective of the job you are interviewing for, you want to send a perfect first impression. Dress in formal attire when attending an interview for a professional role.

In contrast, if you are attending an interview for a casual role, such as in a restaurant, it is equally important to be neat, and well-groomed in presentable attire.

Pro Tip: An interview may be your only shot to impress the key decision-makers, so make sure you ace the dressing part.

5. Come Prepared with all Interview Materials

Going to an interview room prepared is very important. Carry extra copies of your CV along with the requested references. Additionally, you should carry a list of questions to ask the hiring team.

If you are interviewing for a tech job, you would be in a better position if you have examples of your previous work. In this case, bring your laptop to showcase exactly what you accomplished in your previous working capacity.

Pro Tip: On the other side of the coin, what should you never carry to an interview room? First off, you should not walk into an interview with a cup of coffee, a bottle of water or anything else that can be eaten. Second, never ever, chew gum when in an interview room.

6. Answer Every Question Confidently

When responding to interview questions, take the time to phrase your answers correctly. Politely ask the interviewers to repeat a question if you did not hear it.

Be brief and to the point. Avoid rambling. Ensure that each answer adequately addresses the questions asked while highlighting the skills you have.

Pro Tip: Keep in mind that every answer is a sales pitch. You are selling yourself to the hiring team as the best candidate for the position. So be sure to remain relevant and focus on why you are the best, how you will do the job, what you will bring to the table and how you will benefit the company.

7. Let the Hiring Team Take the Lead throughout the Interview

You may feel the urge to get the ball rolling, especially if you find that the hiring manager is laid back and soft-spoken. In such cases, you would naturally want to take control.

Resist the temptation. Let the hiring manager take charge of the show.

If there are periods where both of you are silent, just sit back and relax. Nothing is alarming about brief periods of silence.

Pro Tip: One mistake most people make is talking too much. It is easy to ramble over and over especially if you notice your interviewer is soft-spoken. Resist this and let the interview take its course.

8. Sit Upright Throughout the Interview

Sitting upright and even leaning forward a bit sends a very strong non-verbal message: I am listening keenly. I am following every word you say, and I am ready to bring the same energy to the team.

Pro Tip: It is quite surprising that you can send such a strong message by just sitting upright. Your sitting posture is extremely important. Dismiss this vital job etiquette tip at your own peril.

9. Take What You are Offered

When you are in the interview room and the hiring team offers you water or coffee, do not refuse it. Drink it even if you do not feel like doing so.

Pro Tip: Sipping on something may help you buy time when faced with a difficult question. Besides, if you are anxious, drinking something may help calm you down.

10. Do not Forget Table Etiquette

Some interviews may be done over a meal, and all basic mealtime etiquettes should apply in such situations:

-If you are served first, wait until everyone else is served before you start eating
-Put a napkin on your lap
-Do not talk when you have food in your mouth
-Take tiny bites, and eat at the same pace as your interviewers

Pro Tip: It’s best to decline any alcoholic beverage during a meal interview. If your interviewers order alcohol, you can opt to take a soft drink, but avoid alcohol by all means.

11. Ask Questions

A job interview is usually a two-way street. It is the perfect opportunity for you to sell your skills, while also learning about the company to see if the job is a good fit for you.

Go into the room with a list of questions, such as the details of the job position you are applying for, the cooperate culture of the company, and the career path that someone in the position you are applying for would take.

Pro Tip: Do not shy away from asking questions. In fact, not asking any questions might send the impression that you are not interested in working with the company.

12. Send a Simple Thank You Note

It is best to follow up on an interview with a simple thank you note to the hiring team within 24 hours after the interview. In the note, you should simply thank them for their time and appreciate them for giving you the opportunity.”

If you had several interviews with different people, you can send a personalized thank you note to each one of them.

In addition to the email, it is important to also send a handwritten note. This is the best way to be remembered by the hiring manager. Even if you fail to secure the job, closing the whole thing off with a thank you note says a lot about your professionalism and etiquette as an individual.

Pro Tip: No need to get all excited- and do not be tempted to send flowers or gifts to the hiring team.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! The 12 simple etiquette tips for acing a job interview. As you can see, the points discussed above are fairly common sense, yet you’d be amazed at the number of candidates who fail to take them seriously.

Faced with the prospect of an interview and the preparation that comes with it, such small things as body language and respect tend to be forgotten in the heat of the moment.

So, before you attend an interview, spare some time to go through these simple job etiquette tips, and you’ll be sure to ace that interview.

In short, be prepared, be confident, be yourself, and you will shine. We wish you all the best.

Matthew Ryan

I'm Matthew Ryan, one of the guys behind MannersAdvisor.com I am passionate about the world of good manners, etiquette and proper behavior to have on any special occasion. Here I decided to share my passion with you!

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