Minding your manners is not just for children, we as adults need to also brush up on our manners and etiquette from time to time, especially when job hunting….
When it comes to interviews, good manners and etiquette are vitally important, and how you behave in the interview, may mean the difference between getting the job and being overlooked for it. It’s not all about having the right experience and skillset. Regardless of what role you are interviewing for, the chances are you are going to have to work with others at some stage, and recruiters will look for good communication skills, and somebody who is respectful and polite to those around them.
What can you do during the interview to improve your chances?
Shake hands when you meet for the first time, and introduce yourself, and then, shake hands again when you get up to leave, and thank the interviewer for having taken the time to have met with you. At the beginning of the interview a little small talk is fine, to start off with, but don’t overdo it. Always let the interviewer guide the course of the conversation, never highjack the interview. Listen and pause before answering a question, it gives you a few seconds to get your thoughts together, and it also shows courtesy in that you are not interrupting the interviewer.
When the interview is over, ensure that you thank the interviewer for having taken the time to have met with you. Say please and thank you, as and when it is applicable during the interview. Ensure that you maintain good eye contact. Looking somebody in the eye when you speak to them during an interview is extremely important. There is nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with somebody who is looking everywhere but at you. If you don’t look the interviewer in the eye when answering questions, it can give them the impression that you are not being honest, or not concentrating on the question.
Always remember when dealing with potential employers that manners do count. Even if you feel the interviewer was abrupt and offhand, always maintain your dignity and treat them with respect. Sitting in an interview, jingling the change in your pocket, cutting in when the interview is talking, answering your cell phone during the interview, and not thanking the interviewer for having taken the time to see you, are all going to leave a bad taste in the interviewer’s mouth.
The most important thing is to ensure that you are on time for the interview. Arriving late is just a no no, and is going to immediately create a bad impression. So ensure you arrive at least 10 minutes early, give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. Bringing coffee cups or a bottle of soda into the interview with you, is a no no. Don’t chew gum, and ensure that not only is your cell phone switched off, but that it is out of sight. Putting it on silent and leaving it on the table where it is going to vibrate or light up, if somebody phones or texts you, is not acceptable.
Give the interviewer your business card, you may be thinking why do that, when they already have your resume, but resumes generally end up on a database, or in a filing cabinet, whereas if the interview likes you, and your business card is on the desk in full sight they must just pick it up and give you a call if there is a suitable position.
Always remember it only takes a few seconds to make a first impression, but it can take a lifetime to undo it….so remember what your mother would have told you as a child, and mind your manners, even when you are all grown up, and in an interview!