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Demonstrating Professional Etiquette In Job Interviews

The definition of the word etiquette is the customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession. Navigating through a job interview process requires more than just being able to showcase your experience and your qualifications that are relevant to the job role.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
May 22, 2024

The definition of the word etiquette is the customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession. Navigating through a job interview process requires more than just being able to showcase your experience and your qualifications that are relevant to the job role. It demands that you have an understanding of the importance of professional etiquette because from the moment you step into the interview room to the second you leave, you must be aware that demonstrating the required and expected professional etiquette which is tailored for the interview, can significantly impact your chance of success.

Some rules of etiquette must be strictly adhered to such as arriving on time for your interview, in fact it is expected that you arrive at least ten to fifteen minutes early, to allow for unexpected delays and to show that you are reliable and prepared and of course you won’t have to rush and become overly flustered thinking you’re going to be late! Your punctuality shows respect for the interviewer’s time. For example, if your interview is scheduled to start at 2pm, aim to arrive for between a quarter to or at the latest ten minutes to two. It also allows you to compose yourself for a few minutes and mentally prepare yourself for the interview.

It goes without saying that your interview attire should reflect the company culture and the level of formality which is expected for the position. When in doubt, it’s far better to dress conservatively and also choose clothes that are clean, well fitting and comfortable that convey both professionalism and confidence.

Offer a firm handshake, smile and maintain eye contact when greeting the interviewer, using their title and last name unless instructed otherwise. A warm and friendly demeanour sets a positive tone for the whole interview. Respect personal space and be aware of your own body language so sit up straight, avoid fidgeting and stay focused.

Practice active listening throughout the interview by giving your full attention to the interviewer's questions and comments. In addition to this, occasional nodding of your head, and verbal cues such as ‘yes, I understand’ or ‘That sounds interesting’ will demonstrate to the interviewer that you are engaged and understand what is being explained to you. When speaking, do speak clearly and keep it totally professional even if you find the interview is fairly informal. Respond to questions truthfully and provide specific examples when asked. If you are ever unsure what the interviewer means, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for clarification rather than perhaps giving a vague response.

As the interview comes to a close, you may be asked if you have any questions to ask the interviewer about the company, the team or the role. Asking questions shows your interest in the position and that you want to learn more about the company. Express gratitude for the interviewers time and reiterate your interest for the job before enquiring what the next steps will be in the hiring process. Within 24 hours of the interview, send a brief email to express appreciation for the opportunity of the interview and once again, repeat your enthusiasm for the position.

By adhering to professional etiquette, you can make a positive impression. Professionalism encompasses not only your skills, experience and relevant qualifications but involves your behaviour, demeanour and attitude throughout the interview process.

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