job InterviewThere may be no more stressful—or exciting—event in a person’s life than a job interview. There’s so much on the line, especially if you really want the job! If there was ever a situation where first impressions really do mean everything, this is it.

But if you do a little homework and brush up on your knowledge of job interview etiquette, you’ll look great, feel confident … and significantly increase your chances of landing the job. A lot of these job etiquette tips may sound like common sense, but a refresher never hurts … and it might just help you get your dream job. So, let’s get started:

Show up on time
Better yet, show up early! Try to get to the interview fifteen to twenty minutes early. That way you’ll have time to regroup, take a look in the mirror, tuck in your shirt, touch up your makeup, straighten your hair, and feel truly ready. Even if you have to wait a little while in the reception area for the interview to start, you can calm down, get acclimated to your surroundings, and be ready to make your best impression.

Dress the part

Make sure you know the culture of the company you’re interviewing for. If you got the interview through a staffing agency, be sure to ask your representative what the best wardrobe choice would be. Even though it usually shows respect and professionalism to wear a suit, it might backfire if the company is extremely casual. In that situation, you could send the wrong impression and appear that you won’t fit in. Your best bet is to do your homework on the company’s culture. Perhaps dress a notch or two above their daily dress code. Then once you get the job, be prepared to dress in a way that fits in on a day to day basis.

Do your homework on the company

Try to be as well-informed as possible about the company, the position you’re interviewing for, and the people you will be talking with—and most likely working with. Spend some time on the company’s website really getting to know their services and offerings. Read a few of their blog posts and press releases. Watch a few of their videos. That way, you’ll really have a feel for what they do and be able to converse about it comfortably. Don’t be afraid to check out your interviewers’ pages on LinkedIn. You may find out that you’ve worked for similar companies in the past … or perhaps went to the same college. Getting to know your interviewers online could give you some more great conversation-starters. Make sure to have a few questions prepared that are job-specific, or relevant to the company or the industry.

Emphasize what you can do for the company

Be ready to share what you will be bringing to the table for the role you’re interviewing for, and for the company in general. Remember, this is your opportunity to sell yourself! To paraphrase a famous motto: “Ask not what the company can do for you. Ask what you can do for the company.”

Be prepared and be confident!

Be sure to look people in the eye, give a good handshake, and project confidence and ease with your body language. And don’t feel like you need to rush to tell them every great thing about yourself. Take your time and speak slowly and with purpose.

Don’t bring up salary, benefits, etc.
Your first interview is all about getting to know your potential employers and letting them get to know you. Both parties are trying to determine if there’s a good fit. If you focus too much on the salary and other perks you think might be coming to you, you probably won’t get a second interview. So, keep the conversation focused on what you can do for them in your role, and showing them you’re a good fit. There will be plenty of time to negotiate salary, vacation time and other benefits when they offer you the job!

Send thanks

As soon as you are able after the interview, send a follow-up/thank you email to your interviewers. Make sure to mention some specifics your discussion. This will help them remember who you are, and what you talked about. Then, as soon as possible after you send the thank-you email, be sure to send a hand-written thank you note to your interviewers, as well. This extra step is sure to make you stand out among the sea of candidates you’re competing with. And it’s just proper etiquette!

If you’d like to learn more about how to have impeccable etiquette in every business situation, be sure to explore our etiquette courses and sign up for one today!