Whether you are a new college graduate or seasoned executive changing fields after a successful career, job interview etiquette is a major factor when it comes to landing the position. No matter how impressive your resume, the first impression is extremely crucial in the hiring process.
Here are my suggestions on how to stay cool, calm and collected when you are under pressure.
Make the first move. Don’t hesitate to initiate the primary greeting. Extending your hand communicates you are respectful and self-confident. You have already made it through the email sifting portion and are there because you appear to have something valuable to offer. A confident handshake is key for your bright future.
Show your interest. Carefully craft each resume to demonstrate you are a strong contender for the specific position. Enough can’t be said for thorough research to learn as much about the company as possible before walking through their office door. Weave facts you discovered into your answers to prove your interest.
Arrive prepared. Bring a notepad and pen tucked into your portfolio, along with your identification, a reference list (in the event they request it), and multiple copies of your resume. When appropriate, carry examples of your previous work. Come equipped to discuss fully your previous success on projects, obstacles you overcame and examples of your leadership abilities.
Interview the interviewer. It’s important to get a feel as to whom you will be reporting to, working with and what is expected of the person who takes on this role. Ask thoughtful questions that indicate you are wisely evaluating the position to ensure a good “fit.” For example, “How do you see the perfect hire solving some current challenges?” And, “What tools are available to assist this position?” Questions about salary and vacation are secondary topics better discussed at the end of the interview, or the follow-up meeting.
Let your personality shine through. Employers want to see who you really are, and what you care about as it translates into the enthusiasm you will bring to the office each day. At the right time, allow your sense of humor to shine through. Be cautious not to come across as the “class clown.”
Take a dining course. Second interviews are commonly conducted over a meal. Before you put yourself in front of a hot steaming plate of food, it’s wise to fine tune your dining skills. Get familiar with the place setting, what to order and which foods to avoid. I share basic dining etiquette recommendations in my article, The Art of a Mannerly Business Meal.