top of page
Job Interview

During job interviews, impressions are everything. First impressions are crucial but so are lasting impressions. When the interviewer thinks back, what will they remember? That you were poised, confident, engaged and intelligent? Or that you were disorganized, disrespectful, inconsiderate or (even) lazy?

Your goal is for the interviewer to remember you as a poised, confident, engaged potential employee. In order to do this, you must follow good interview etiquette. You need to mind your manners.

Etiquette is simply the code of polite behavior (i.e. manners) that shows your respect and consideration of others. It is not a lost art. Many a job offering has been squandered because a candidate has shown up late, arrived in ripped jeans or even thrown their legs up on the interviewer’s desk.

So here are some things to remember for your next interview:

  • USE A PROFESSIONAL SOUNDING EMAIL ADDRESS - Potential employers aren’t going to take “” or similar types of addresses seriously; and if you’re going to add your photo, make sure it’s professional looking.

  • CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA - Employers DO peek at your social media.  Take a quick look at your accounts from an outsiders point of view, or possibly change your privacy settings. Check out other Social Media Resources.

  • SPELL & GRAMMAR CHECK YOUR RESUME - If you claim to have great “attention to detail” as one of your attributes but have numerous spelling and grammar errors; potential employers will undoubtedly dismiss your resume.

  • BE ACCURATE ON YOUR PAST POSITIONS AND DATES OF EMPLOYMENT, along with everything else on your resume.  Remember, falsifying a job application is grounds for dismissal.

  • BE PREPARED - Check out the company’s website before the interview.  Know what they do, and be familiar with the job duties for the position you’re interested in.  Be prepared to explain how your past experience makes you a great candidate for their open job.  Know your resume inside & out and be ready to explain gaps in employment that are longer than one month- and no matter why you left a past position, NEVER BASH YOUR OLD BOSS OR YOUR OLD COMPANY!!!

  • BRING A PEN & NOTEBOOK -   The interviewer will be impressed that you want to make sure you don’t forget important info they may share with you.  Jot down any questions you may have before the interview, that way you’re prepared when asked if there is anything additional you would like to know.

  • Have your resume and any other materials you are taking with you organized and prepared.

  • BE ON TIME FOR YOUR INTERVIEW - Arrive about 10-15 minutes early (not too early that you make the interviewer feel rushed) and, more important, don’t be late! If unforeseen circumstances arise, do everything you can to call ahead and let them know you’re on your way.

  • GREET EVERYONE YOU MEET WITH A SMILE AND A FIRM HANDSHAKE - Let them know you’re happy to have been selected to interview with their company. Use a firm handshake with a secure, steady grip. As a candidate, it is important to stand apart from the crowd. A firm, confident (not crushing) handshake goes a long way in achieving that goal; a poor, limp handshake goes a long way in destroying it.

  • Dress accordingly but make sure your clothes don’t steal the show. You need to impress the interviewer with your skills, not distract him/her with your wardrobe.

  • USE YOUR MOUTH FOR TALKING ONLY - Unless the interview involves lunch, nothing should be in your mouth but words.  No drinking, eating, smoking, or chewing gum- and pop a breath mint before the interview begins.

  • SHUT OFF YOUR PHONE - A ringing cell phone, and even worse, answering that call, is a sure way to end your interview quickly.  It sends a clear message to the interviewer that the interview isn’t as important as that phone call.

  • Pay attention to your body language. Stand and sit up straight; do not slouch. Moderate your use of hand gestures. You want the interviewer to think back and remember your words, not your hands.

  • Address the interviewer by name…not “dude”…and make sure you pronounce his/her name correctly. If you cannot pronounce it, ask right away. This shows conscientiousness and attention to detail – especially to those who have gone their entire lives having their name mispronounced.

  • Keep eye contact with the interviewer, but do not go so far as to stare.

  • Listen and ask thoughtful questions. Show genuine interest in the company, the interviewer and the job. Do not look for any/all opportunities to fill silence, which is the natural tendency when you are nervous. Be alert and interested. The questions will come.

  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.

  • Do not make any negative comments about former employers or co-workers. It is disrespectful and will be offensive to others, namely because they will wonder what you will say about them.

  • Put your briefcase or other interview paraphernalia on the floor – not on the desk – and take notes on a note pad and not on your laptop.

  • Do not lie. You will be caught. If you have not completed your degree, do not lie and say you did.

  • Go to the interview alone (let parents, children, spouses, friends etc. wait outside the building if they accompany you).

  • Be polite to everyone in the office, and this does include the receptionist. Use “please” and “thank you” and do not curse.

  • THANK THEM AT THE END - Thank the interviewer for their time and ask what the next steps are, if they didn’t already tell you.

  • Make sure you follow up immediately with your Snelling recruiter.  We’ll try to provide you with feedback just as soon as we hear from our client.

In the same way that having good table manners makes you look good when dining out with friends/family, good interview etiquette will make you shine above other candidates in the interview. Many of the items on this list may seem like “little things” on the surface, but they do all add up to the result that you want – to make an overall favorable impression. So pay attention to the little things. Interviewers will notice, and appreciate, the respect you are showing for their time and the potential job. This alone may move you up to the top of the candidate list.

bottom of page