A Look at the Critical Elements of Interview Etiquette

A Look at the Critical Elements of Interview Etiquette

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Image by Alan Cleaver / CC BY

Understanding job interview etiquette is crucial to obtaining an offer. Whether you are a new college graduate or a professional with decades of experience, how you act during the interview is just as, if not more, important than having an impressive resume.

Perhaps one of the most underappreciated pieces of interview etiquette is letting your personality come across to the interviewer. If you try to act like the person you think the interviewer wants at the company rather than yourself, you will likely come across as disingenuous. Employers want to see what someone cares about and what motivates them. At the same time, keep your humor appropriate and in check. You want to appear passionate and enthusiastic, not superficial.

When the interview walks up to you, do not be afraid to initiate the interaction. When you extend your hand first, you demonstrate confidence. Offer a firm handshake and be sure to smile throughout the greeting. Remember that people at the company already see value in you if they have invited you to an interview.

Come to the interview prepared. Conducting research about the company and the position and then weaving this information into your responses shows your interest in the job. Preparation also involves printing off a couple extra copies of your resume and reviewing it thoroughly so that you can talk about anything you have written about in greater detail. Look at common interview questions and consider your possible responses. In addition, bring a notepad and take notes during the interview.

An interview is as much about you asking questions as it is about you answering them. Questions about expectations, opportunities, and evaluation show that you are carefully considering whether you and the company are a good fit. Keep questions about salary and benefits off the table during the first interview.

Second interviews sometimes take place over a meal. Before this sort of meeting, you should understand the functions of a place setting, know which foods to order, and practice eating them to avoid making a bad impression.

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