Interview etiquette can be a minefield to navigate. Should I shake the interviewer’s hand? What do I address them by? What should I wear? Can I ask questions?
These are all common doubts stressed by candidates going through the recruitment process as they endeavour to make a winning first impression.
We’ve compiled our top etiquette steps to help reduce nerves and to ensure you’re ready for your next interview.
1. Go for the handshake
Nothing communicates respect and self-confidence like extending your hand to the interviewer as you introduce yourself. Ensure you make eye contact and smile at the interviewer as you shake hands. If there are multiple people in the room, proper etiquette is to shake hands with each person. Just remember, you only get one chance at a first impression so smile and make it a positive one!
2. Dress conservatively
A job interview is not the time to test out the latest trend gracing the cover of fashion magazines. Always dress well and conservatively, as this indicates respect for the organisation you are interviewing for. We always recommend corporate attire even if you predict the interviewer might be more casually dressed – it’s better to be over dressed than underdressed.
3. Switch your mobile phone off
Simply said, leaving your mobile phone on is not worth the risk.
It is incredibly rude and disrespectful towards the interviewer for your mobile phone to ring during the interview (this goes for vibrating noises too). Avoid this from happening by switching off your mobile phone before you enter the organisations building. We understand you very rarely don’t have your mobile phone on the table beside you, but this is one occasion to leave it in your bag or pocket.
If the dreaded happens and you find yourself with a ringing phone, reach down and switch the phone off immediately and then apologise to the interviewer. Don’t look at the screen to see who it was or consider answering the call. Doing either can seriously diminish your chance of securing the role.
4. Be prepared
Preparation is vital for any interview – you must know your resume inside out but you must never have it on the table beside you.
Make sure you do your homework and research the organisation that you are interviewing for.
At a minimum, review their website, google them for market information and view the LinkedIn profiles of who is interviewing you.
If/when they ask you what you know about the business all this research shows how keen and committed you are to secure the role and work for their business.
5. Recite names
Names are unique to us all – and we love hearing them out loud. It’s essential to use the interviewers name when you meet them and again when you say goodbye at the end of the interview.
6. Question the interviewer
An interview is your opportunity to learn more about the organisation and position you are applying for – don’t be afraid to ask questions.
It’s also important to figure out if the organisation and workplace environment is a good fit for you. As a rule of thumb, ensure you have prepared a handful of questions before entering the interview. Not asking questions can indicate that you’re uninformed or not willing to put in extra effort. Please remember that the interview is a two-way street and this is your chance to interview them.
7. Thank the interviewer
Finally, the essential rule of etiquette is to thank the interviewer at the end of the interview. Your recruitment consultant should be in-touch with you after your interview and he/she will then relate your feedback to the interviewer. If you have secured this role directly with the client follow up with a thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview.
Making a great first impression often takes practice and a little bit of know how. Use each interview as a learning curve. The more experience you gather, the less you’ll worry about etiquette and the more you’ll focus on perfecting your answers.