Proper Etiquette: The Job Interview

With the economy the way it is and so many people looking for work, many of us will be going on job interviews.  Here are some tips on proper interview etiquette:

  • Be Prepared.

The Scout Motto is useful for many situations,  especially for a job interview.  Bring a letterpad – or a portfolio for you creative types – that includes your resume, a note pad and any previous work you many need to present (again, for those in the creative arts).   It helps to have a few copies of your resume, one for you and one for each interviewer.  Also, write down any questions that you will ask during the interview on your note pad and have those ready when the time comes.

  • Dress Appropriately.

Your interview attire will depend completely on the type of company with whom you are interviewing.  For a more formal business, such as a law firm, you will need to wear a suit.  For a more casual work place, you can either wear a three-piece ensemble or a skirt/pants with a nice blouse or button-down.  If you’re interviewing for a job in the fashion industry, you are allowed to be a bit more fashion-forward, but still maintain a professional image.

  • Be Early

It is best to arrive 10-15 minutes early.  Early is always better than late, but it is ok to be exactly on-time.  However, in cases of companies with a security front desk, you will ALWAYS need to arrive 15 minutes early in order to receive a guest pass and sign in with security.  Being early also helps settle nerves, because you have the time to calm yourself before the interview.  You can take this time to go over your resume and/or interview questions.

  • Send a Thank You

It is very important to send a thank you after the interview.  You can either type a letter or hand-write a note and mail it to the hiring manager, or you can send one via email.  Ideally, you should send a thank you by mail, but in this technology-ridden society, email is now the preferable form of communication.  The thank you shouldn’t be long, just let the interviewer know you are interested and thank them for their time.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the interview itself:

  1. The Handshake:  keep it firm, but not too firm – you don’t want their hand hurting when they pull away.  Make sure your palms aren’t sweaty.  Give two handshakes, one at the beginning of the interview and one after.
  2. Do not sit until invited to do so.  If no one invites you to sit, make sure you are the last person seated.
  3. Speak clearly and make eye contact.
  4. Be confident, natural and yourself.
  5. Avoid any nervous ticks:  If you tend to get nervous talking in front of a group, practice this at home before the interview.  Don’t touch your face, bite your lip, or play with your hair.  Also, try not to bounce your legs or fiddle with your clothes.
  6. Ask questions!  Have a few questions prepared before your interview, but if any come to you during the interview, jot them down.  Wait until the end of the interview to ask them, or when the interviewer gives you the go-ahead.

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