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Etiquette for a job interview

By: Stephan Smith | Date: 31 March 2014

Etiquette for a job interview New article


After preparing a persuasive CV, the interview is the second important step towards the desired job. Many people, however, make some mistakes that might cost them the craved job. So here are some tips on etiquette and protocol behavior during and after the interview.



Before the interview


Do not be late in any case. You are expected not only to be on time, but to arrive 10-15 minutes earlier. Provide enough time to reach the place: do not forget that it is possible to find yourself stuck in traffic jam, to be looking for a parking space, to have trouble finding the exact address or even get lost. However, remember that you need to arrive not earlier than 10-15 minutes before your appointment.


It is obligatory that you turn off your mobile phone. If you forgot to do so and it rang during the interview, the interviewer  would  certainly not like it and may even cost you the place for which you are applying. So do not let such a mistake spoil your good performance.


Get dressed appropriately, no matter what position you are applying for. Certainly you wouldn’t be wrong if you bet on the conservative style. Clothing should not attract the attention of others but  to contribute to the good impression you will make. Remember that dressing well, we demonstrate respect for ourselves as well as for others.

Go to the bathroom before and never during the interview.



During the interview


Make a good first impression. Be careful how you behave from the moment you enter the building until you leave. Be nice to everyone you encounter: it is unknown whether the interviewer himself is not among them.


The stoop does not make a good impression, so walk upright. That will surely make you look more confident.


Do not underestimate the good handshake. It should not be remiss in any case. Stretch your fingers and squeeze confidently the hand of your interlocutor. The handshake should be short, it is better if you stood up, because otherwise it would be disrespectful. Wait for the interviewer  to stretch a hand first. Remember also that you should not enter the private space of your interlocutor. If you are about to communicate with a foreigner, learn what is accepted in his own country, as there are some differences between cultures.


Wait to be invited before you sit down. Do not put your bag on the desk but on the floor or on a chair beside you. Take notes on paper, not on your laptop.


Do not ignore body language because it plays a major role in the impression you will create in people. Stand straight and do not cross your legs. Do not turn around in your chair. Do not hide your hands under the table, because it will be interpreted as a sign of uncertainty and worry. Remember that you should use too many hand gestures. Grab a pen, if you think it would help. Do not take up too relaxed a pose because instead of showing confidence and lack of anxiety, it will be interpreted as disrespect towards your interlocutor.


Maintain good eye contact and do not forget to smile. Smile shows confidence and predisposes our interlocutor. Besides, it shows that you are a nice person that will surely be appreciated by the interviewer.

You are expected to have explored carefully the company you are applying in for a job. The interview is the time when you can impress your interlocutor by asking appropriate questions showing  your interest.


Do not wait for too long before you answer the questions that you’ve been asked.


Do not interrupt your interlocutor.


Do not lie during the interview about  the knowledge and skills you possess, as sooner or later the truth will come out and it is not excluded to find yourself in an awkward situation.


Do not slander against your former employers, even if they have not treated you fairly.


In the end, thank for their time.


If the interview is an invitation for lunch


If your current job requires business meetings of this type, lunch is a way for the interviewer to get a general idea of your manners and knowledge of business etiquette in different situations. Treat the staff of the restaurant with respect, be careful what you order to eat and do not allow yourself any alcohol, even if the other person ordered for themselves: it is unknown whether this is a way to test you. Wait for the person in front of you to come to the real point of your conversation - that will happen after the lunch itself. Pay the entire bill, not just what you consumed yourself.



After the interview


It is good to thank for their time in writing and this must be done within 24-48 hours after the interview. Send an email if you think that an ordinary letter would take too long.


The job interview does not exclude the importance of a well written CV and the experience you have, but it gives you the opportunity to show how you behave and interact with others - a factor which is not to be underestimated.

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