Interview Etiquette 101

Interviewing for a new job and concerned you might make a misstep along the way? Don’t fret! We’ve got the interview etiquette tips and tricks you need to get off a potential employer’s naughty list and onto the nice one when scouting for your next job.

Personalize to show your strengths

When sending a resume or cover letter, make sure to personalize these documents. You’re doing yourself a disservice when you recycle the same cover letter for every job. The cover letter is your first opportunity to discuss how your strengths and experience would benefit your employer if you were hired, so tell them! It doesn’t have to be long (just a couple of paragraphs), but it should leave them eager to meet with you.

Dress to impress

When deciding on your interview outfit, always err on the conservative side. Even if you’ll be working at a creative agency, they’re serious about their work, and you could be taken less seriously if you show up in jeans and a T-shirt. Dress to impress in a sharp outfit you’ll feel confident in, and that your potential employer will feel good about too.

Don’t stink

Beyond showering (which you hopefully already do), JobJenny recommends taking the day off from cologne or perfume and to avoid eating anything stinky before your interview. Just in case, feel free to pop a mint before heading in.

Follow up… but avoid hassling

Employers often receive hundreds of resumes when a job is posted, so going through each one and scheduling individual interviews can be a lengthy process. Dawn Rasmussen notes that it’s fine to send an email to check in, but too many emails can send the signal that you are desperate – and crazy.

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Be on time

It’s time for the interview, and there’s one big thing to remember – Don’t be late. If you aren’t sure how long it will take you to get there, go the day before to find out how much time to allow for travel.

Do your homework

Before your interview, research the company and know who you’ll be interviewing with and their title. As Simply Hired states, “The more you can speak intelligently about a company, the more the interviewer will be able to see you working for them and know you did your homework.”

Clean up your (social media) image

In a survey released by Career Builder, 45 percent of employers check social networks before hiring, and 35 percent of companies rejected a candidate based on information from a profile they had on a social network. On the other hand, 50 percent of companies did end up hiring a job candidate because their profile communicated a good fit and personality.

Joshua Waldman of Career Enlightenment’s takeaway: Clean up your social network profiles and be honest to reflect your best self.

Thank your interviewer

Send a thank you note after your interview. If the employer needs to make a decision right away, sending an email will suffice. On the other hand, if there’s a little more time, send a thank you card in the mail (be sure to mail it that same day as your interview) to set yourself apart.