© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
A mastery of dinnertime etiquette will make you more popular, but a mastery of job interview etiquette will get you the job you want. The most important thing to remember when you go for a job interview is that you are there to convey your best qualities to the interviewers. The etiquette that you use as a candidate at the interview is intended to show how professional you are in all aspects of your behavior both job-related and personal. Consequently, your interview begins the moment you make your first contact with the target company. Whether that is a phone call, an email, or the submission of your resume, the first contact is when you make your impression.
The best way to handle the job interview before the interview itself is to be as concise and brief as possible. Whether you are sending your cover letter in or setting up the time for your personal interview, your goal is simple. You want to get into the job interview at the time that is most convenient for the interviewer and yourself. A good time to schedule is when you are most likely to receive the attention you want. Mondays are bad, because people are distracted by memories of their weekend. Fridays are bad because most people have already checked out for the weekend. Early mornings are bad because people haven't had their coffee yet. After lunch is also bad, because people are sleepy and trying to get done for the day. So Tuesday through Thursday, from 10 to 12 should be your goal.
The job interview etiquette of the actual interview starts with arriving on time, even if that means that you left for the office an hour earlier than you absolutely had to and have been sitting in the car waiting for the appointment. Proper job etiquette also demands that you are dressed appropriately. This usually means professional attire, though there may be different expectations for creative or more informal environments. In any case, your rule of thumb is to be clean, neat and understated. Your personality should not be overshadowed by your outfit, no matter how informal the office might be. Additionally, it's a good idea to be dressed up a little more than the people currently working in the office.
The last piece of job interview etiquette advice involves the actual face-to-face interview. Look the interviewer in the eye and shake hands firmly when you enter. Allow the interviewer to direct you to a chair and to initiate the conversation and control the topics. After the interview is over, quickly write down the topics and subjects the interviewer seemed particularly interested in and be sure that you asked for the interviewer's business card. You will need that contact and subject information for the thank you note that you will send out to everyone who took the time and trouble to speak to you.
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