Job Interview Etiquette You Take For Granted That Recruiters Don't
Your job interview etiquette, or lack of it, will not go unnoticed by respectable employers. Proper interview etiquette may be second nature to you, but it's still a good idea to do a quick self-assessment to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. You'd be surprised how often you are judged by your body language or other personality quirks. We all have them, but once you become aware of your mannerisms, you can over compensate for them during your interview to better reflect the real you.
We'll explore the 12 rules of conduct that will help you make a lasting impression on hiring authorities.
1. Greet your interviewers as Ms or Mr last name.
Most people actually prefer you call them by their first name. When was the last time someone instructed you to call them by their last name?
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: Throughout your interview, hiring managers will be trying to assess how easy you will be to work with and manage. It's true, employers need self-starters and leaders, but sometimes they simply need you to be a good soldier and do your job.
2. Make sure your cell phone is off not on vibrate
The last thing you need is a distraction during one of the most important meetings of your life. People can still hear your phone ring in vibrate mode. Better yet, just put your phone off.
Right now there is nothing more important than your interview. This could be a life changing moment for you and your family. BTW--How did we survive all those years without mobile phones?
3. Look people in the eye...and smile
Body language is an extremely important detail of proper job interview etiquette. Communication experts tell us that 80% of our communication with others is non-verbal. I have to be honest as possible, most people don’t lookmin other eople’s eyes for differen reasons; coyness, respect, cultural background, past experiences, whatever your reasons are, ensure you get past it before you sit in front of the interviewer. Look them in the eye!
One of the best ways to connect with people and build trust is to look them in the eye. Eye contact is also important during a group interview.
Most people when they're under pressure, don't smile, and appear nervous and lacking in confidence. It's amazing how something as simple as a smile can project confidence and leadership, even if you're a nervous wreck.
Have you ever heard someone say, ‘I didn't trust that guy, he didn't look me in the eye’ Your eyes are the windows to your soul and often convey to others that you are trustworthy and real.
True Confession: One of my personality flaws is I tend to have a serious resting face. The reason I'm aware of this is because over the years I've had co-workers and friends ask me on occasion if everything is alright...or if I'm upset about something.
I used to get annoyed when people asked me this because most of the time I'm in a good mood; but, knowing how others interpret my body language gives me the opportunity to overcompensate for this character quirk whenever I meet new people, give a speech, or participate in an important meeting.
4. Give a firm handshake
This is another non-verbal way to connect with people. It seems ludicrous to be judged negatively by a limp handshake, but people do it all the time. Even at that, be careful with this advice. You don't want your handshake to be too firm – especially if you are a man, shaking hands with a woman.
5. Let the company take the lead during your interview
Sometimes when your interviewer is soft spoken or laid back you may feel the urge to keep things moving. So, you start taking back some control and the next thing you know, you're rambling. Resist this. Let the employer run the show. Don’t act like you know it all, they know you don’t.
If there are periods of silence, just sit there in the silence. If you are well prepared for your interview, relax, you have nothing to worry about.
One of the most common interviewing mistakes is talking too much. It’s easy to ramble and over explain things if your interview is a person of few words and there are periods of silence. Resist this and simply let them set the pace of the interview.
6. Don’t step on the last 3 words of someone’s conversation
Oh how frustrating this is. And I've observed this as a trend recently. When I'm talking with someone, often times they will step on the last 2-3 words of my sentence and talk over me without extending to me the courtesy of finishing my sentence. Has this ever happened to you? Annoying, isn't it?
Reporters and TV talk show hosts do it all the time. It is especially prevalent among Type A personalities.
Let your interviewer finish making their point, pause for 1-2 seconds; then, respond to their question or add to the conversation.
7. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward
I can't tell you the number of times hiring managers have rejected good candidates because, they were too laid back in their interview...literally. This is unexpectedly true for candidates under 30 years old, you’re supposed to be young and agile, come on.
Disgracefully, older job seekers too, are often prejudged as lacking in drive and ambition; however, younger job seekers need to also be on guard against being too casual or relaxed.
Sitting up straight and leaning slightly forward sends the following non-verbal signal: I'm listening intently. I'm interested in what you have to say. I have a lot of energy and I'm ready to go to work.
It's hard to believe that in a few seconds you can make this kind of impression, but it's true. So ignore this slice of interview etiquette at your own peril.
8. Take notes during your interview
Bring a professional looking binder with you so you can jot down a few notes during your interview. This conveys a sincere interest in what your interviewers have to say, and gives you a chance to jot down a question to ask at the appropriate time.
When I say a professional looking binder, I'm not talking about a cheap 3 ring binder like you carried around in secondary school or the one that was distributed at Sade weds Tobi. Invest in a leather binder that looks first class. Also, don't use an IPad or electronic tablet to take notes unless you're applying for a programmer or other IT position.
The other nice thing about having a professional binder on your lap is you can use it as a cheat sheet if you're nervous. Prior to your interview you should have a few key phrases written down to help you if you get stuck and your short list of appropriate questions to ask them.
Lastly, you can keep handy your your professional references and copies of your resume/CV in case they ask you for them. If a hiring manager asks you for your professional references during your interview, this is definitely a buying signal.
9. Pursue the job even if your interview is going badly
You might be enduring an awful interview experience quietly thinking to yourself, this is the last place I'd ever want to work...get me out of here!
Best advice I can give you is be professional and finish what you started to the best of your ability. No one has a gun to your head to take this job. You're in the driver's seat because you can always withdraw from the process or turn down an offer.
As a general rule, wait until you have all the facts before making your final judgment about an individual or a company.
You never know who you are going to meet or how a total stranger might positively affect your career downstream. Leave people with a positive impression of you. It could pay dividends in the future.
10. Your interview is not over until the firm is no longer in sight.
This is pertaining to conduct and behavior. I've known hiring managers to watch candidates from their office window as they exit the building and get into their car. People can do some pretty outrageous things like spitting, lighting up a cigarette, changing clothing, yapping on their phones for 20 minutes while leaning on their car and other things you would not believe.
So, stay in professional mode until you are out of sight. Also, you may also be observed arriving for your interview. Be very aware.
11. Arrive 15 minutes early...but no sooner
Obviously you never want to be late for your interview; however, did you know that arriving too early could be annoying to employers? Their reaction could be something along the lines of ‘I mean, you don’t have the job yet, what audacity?!’ So be discerning in your punctuality.
12. Promptly send a thank you note after your interview
This is a MUST on your job interview etiquette list. Not only is this a common courtesy, but it also keeps your name in front of the mind of those who interviewed you.