When your résumé gets you a job interview, it marks the first big step towards your dream job. The will primarily focus on the kind of person you are with job skills becoming secondary. During the interview it is extremely important to consider the following etiquette tips that could land you that dream job!

Be punctual: Like anyone at work, your interviewers are in the midst of their busy workday. Show them that their time is valuable to you; after all they have demonstrated the same by giving you their time to present yourself off of the printed résumé pages.

Being late tells others that you’re self-centered, disorganised, rude, or all three (qualities only sought after by the recruiters of reality television. So, unless you are seeking a spot on the next The Real World, leave home with plenty of time to account for delays otherwise beyond your control.

Dress accordingly: At an interview, proper etiquette dictates that your manner of dress should by and large fit in with the scene around you, but in a show of respect for the occasion, you should dress just a step above the norm of that environment. The reason is because inappropriate business attire, in either direction, up or down creates an unacceptable distraction. When the focus should be on you and all your skills, your clothes shouldn’t be stealing the show.

Take note of that handshake: A handshake is a physical interaction. During the interview, it’s a physical interaction between strangers; make it a prime moment for etiquette. A firm handshake in which you pump the hand once or twice with a secure, steady grip, and then release conveys affability and openness, and this can create an immediate feeling of comfort between two people.

On the other hand, a meek, milky handshake or a flesh-grinding cinch can make a person uncomfortable. Before they have the chance to get to know you, you’ve already given them an unpleasant feeling. Making people comfortable around you is an essential aim of all etiquette. Think about it: Do you really want to make your interviewer uncomfortable?


During the job interview, countless moments will come up when etiquette is required. Getting them right gives you confidence visible to your interviewer. Enunciate, as well as animate, your language. An interviewer shouldn’t have to ask you to repeat yourself, or wonder if they heard you right.

Look at the interviewers in the eyes. It’s a trusting gesture to which people always respond positively. Anything else is simply rude. Use engaging, non-threatening body language. Good posture alone can convey your interest in being there, while slouching conveys disrespect and indifference.

Use your interviewer’s name, but in moderation. It proves you’re involved and listening. It also helps establish rapport, which goes a long way in making for a successful interview.

Thank them “twice”
At the end of the interview; ensure to thank your interviewers both for their time and for your own opportunity. Much like arriving on time, thanking them in this way sends a message that you understand and appreciate the value of one’s time.

Don’t consider the interview completely over until, that evening, you have written a short thank you note. Keep it short. E-mail is acceptable but snail mail is preferred. Since this is a business communication, it shouldn’t be handwritten.


Don’t get caught unprepared: Learning as much as you can about the company and about the position for which you’re applying is a sign of respect. As simple as it sounds, don’t forget that your interviewer works for this company; it’s a big part of this person’s life. Therefore, a modest but competent display of your commitment to this interview through prior research makes you look good while flattering them at the same time.

Don’t disparage past employers: If you can’t say something positive about someone, don’t say anything. It’s disrespectful to take shots at former employers and companies (in part because they’re not around to defend themselves), and doing so can seem cheap and offensive to others.

Furthermore, the interview is about you and about this company, and how you fit together; don’t leave your interviewer with descriptions of former bosses and coworkers who have nothing to do with it.

What’s impossible to miss, however, is the lack of etiquette. In this case, you want to leave the interviewers thinking about how friendly, intelligent and engaging you are, but not how obnoxious you are or what a ridiculously painful handshake you gave or what you were thinking when you put on your dirtiest jeans before leaving the house.

Good Luck!


Makena Mugane works at Dolphins Group – Dolphins Training & Consultants Ltd.  Email: [email protected]



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