We’re not going to insist you balance a stack of books on your head, but we will insist that you adopt more useful forms of etiquette before your next job interview. A well-written, properly-formatted resume gets your foot in the door, but the right attitude and the proper job interview etiquette will likely land you the job. Consider the following best behavior rules before meeting with your future boss.
Nail the first impression
It’s a lot of pressure, but every moment in an interview counts. You will probably be one of many faces your interviewer will see that day, so you need to be engaging and interactive. Demonstrating enthusiasm for your preferred position reflects upon your character and possibly your work ethic as well—you’re more likely to work hard at a position you feel passionately about. Smile, make eye contact, and maintain an open posture with your shoulders back.
It’s not just your future boss you want to impress, but your co-workers as well. Be polite to everyone you meet and try to form connections. People will appreciate your extra effort and will likely feel more comfortable about potentially working with you in the future.
Of all the uncertainty an interview brings about, presenting yourself as a polished, confident professional is one of the few things that are in your control. There are many options of dress that vary depending on the type of business you’re interviewing for.
Do your homework on the company’s dress code, but always err on the side of overdressing. A nice suit, dress, or dress skirt are great options—just remember to keep it simple. Lots of makeup, jewelry, and bright colors may distract the interviewer. You don’t want your wardrobe to divert attention away from your impressive answers.
Remember your body language
It’s imperative that you maintain proper posture throughout your interview—don’t slouch and keep your chin up. People respond well to a straight back as it evokes confidence. You’ll also want to be wary about direct eye contact; it can end up feeling quite intimidating, especially if you don’t break from it every once in a while. Engage in “direct face contact,” switching focus from the eye, forehead, mouth, cheeks, and elsewhere. You will appear engaged without looking, well, bizarre.
Anticipate the questions
As far as etiquette goes, there’s really nothing worse than an underprepared candidate. There’s no excuse for such neglect on your part—the Internet contains interview prep guides and commonly asked questions you can use to prepare. Each interviewer may compose additional questions to gauge your interest and skills for a specific position, but these are some basic questions you should confidently know the answers to:
- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
- What makes you a good fit for the company/position?
- Why do you want this job?
- What are your career objectives?
- What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
- What is your greatest professional achievement?
- Tell me about a conflict you faced at work and how you overcame it?