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Interview Etiquette

Aug 17, 2007
By far, interview etiquette remains the third most important factor that decides the fates of most job candidates. Subject expertise or skills and body language are the only two qualities that score over interview etiquette, according to expert human resource practitioners. These elements gain importance, as they are often the only indications of a candidate's character.

Interview Etiquette: An Overview

If etiquette can be described as rules governing socially acceptable behavior, they apply to a job interview, too, in the same fashion. Good etiquette shows from the moment you enter the company, and how you conduct yourself until you are called.

1. Unless someone shows you in, knock at the door before you enter.

2. Being lenient with dressing, un-pressed clothing or wearing casual clothing for interviews is simply not good etiquette. An office environment and especially interviews call for formal dress.

3. Greeting the interviewer is another aspect of etiquette. Greet him before he greets you, and with a firm handshake. Be assertive in shaking hands, as this is where you can start building a good impression. Remember, being assertive does not mean you are aggressive. Some people slightly take back their opposite shoulder and bend forward simultaneously while shaking hands as a show of respect. But don't indulge in over doing it or shaking hands for endless seconds.

4. Wait until they offer a seat to you or you can ask them if you can have a seat. Choose a seat opposite the interviewer so you can keep direct eye contact. You can sit in a semi-casual position. Crossing the legs at knees may be alright but you should never put a foot over your opposite knee. Shaking your legs during the interview or scratching your head are things to avoid.

5. If you are offered business card, don't just stuff it into your pocket; instead, study the card for a while. You should ask a pertinent question, too. Never write anything on the card; it is not your notepad.

6. Trying to monopolize the conversation will often annoy the interviewer. Making rude remarks or speaking negatively about your past employers will expose the down side of your character. Sitting there with nothing to say can be seen as a negative. You have to have something to say, even if it is just small talk.

7. When you are asked to talk about yourself, they are not asking about your family or personal history. This is your opportunity to make the most of your time; talk about how you can contribute to the organization and so on.

8. Avoid discussing salary in the beginning unless the interviewer brings it up first.

9. Never forget to thank the interviewer before you leave the room; also don't forget to ask whether they want you to get in touch with them or when they can get back you.

10. On your way out, give a thank you and a smile to the receptionist or secretary. These are the people that will often give feedback to the interviewer.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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