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En Route: A Career Blog

Interview Etiquette

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: ,
POSTED: January 31, 2012 at 11:07 am

Once you receive that coveted phone call inviting you to interview it’s best to remember that you only have one chance to make a stellar first impression.

Keep these tips in mind for your interview:

Dress appropriately. Even if the company culture is casual Friday or downright casual, it’s best to dress one step up. It shows professionalism and your seriousness about the position. The time to wear deck shoes and khakis is once you’re hired. For men, get a haircut and trim your facial hair if you have a mustache or beard. For women, keep the jewelry and makeup to a minimum and don’t wear overpowering perfumes.

Arrive a few minutes early. Ten to fifteen minutes is advised. It will give you time to relax before you’re called in and will show your professionalism in keeping appointments. To assure that you’ll arrive in a timely manner, drive to the office on a weekday to determine what traffic will be like, where you’ll be able to park, etc. Don’t leave these details till the last minute.

Be nice to the receptionist/administrative assistant. If you’re rude or demanding, they won’t forget and they may very well report it to the manager. Be courteous to all. However, it’s also wise to remember that the receptionist or secretary isn’t your best buddy. If she or he starts to talk about the company and disparages it in anyway, keep your opinions to yourself.

Turn off your cell phone before you’re interviewed. Nothing is more distracting or irritating than to be interrupted by someone else’s call.

Sit appropriately during the interview. Don’t slouch in your chair or bounce your legs up and down no matter how nervous you are. Project an image of success and you’ll be treated accordingly.

Never interrupt the interviewer. Yes, you want to get your points across, but barging in on anyone’s comments is rude. Once it’s your turn to speak, take a moment to reflect upon what was said and comment as well as you can.

Don’t have a sense of entitlement. If the first words out of your mouth are – “What’s the salary and benefits?” – you won’t be considered for the position no matter how great you believe you are. Always speak about the company’s success and how you would like to make it reach all goals.

For the Gen Yers – don’t bring your parents to an interview. Yes, it’s been known to happen and having your mother or father arrive with you isn’t the way to impress a hiring manager.

Make eye contact. Don’t stare the interviewer down, but be certain to meet his or her gaze rather than staring off into space or glancing nervously around the office.

Be prepared to sell yourself and to answer the usual interview questions. Don’t arrive unprepared. Practice interviewing with friends or family members.

It’s not always easy to ace an interview but it can be done with forethought and practice.

  • paul

    how do you respond to the question, why did you leave your last job if you were terminated?

  • http://www.resumeedge.com Darlene Zambruski

    Depends upon the reason for the termination. If your job was eliminated because of downsizing or the company going out of business, this is expected and you can simply state the facts.

    If you were terminated for cause, you are facing an uphill battle. It’s never prudent to lie about what happened. A background check will unearth the details and your trustworthiness in the eyes of the new employer will plummet.

    Depending upon the circumstances, you can tell your side of the story in the hope that it will soften the blow. For example, if office politics led to your dismissal, you might share some examples of how you tried to diffuse the situation before it got out of hand.

    Again, your respone would depend upon the reason for your termination, its seriousness and how well the new employer will be able to overlook it.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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