Job Interview Etiquette & Manners

Essential, hints, tips, advice and guidance on job interview etiquette and the suitable manners for the occasion.

having successfully managed to secure a job interview, it is essential that you make a good lasting impression with the people who meet you at any job interview. Showing yourself as qualified for the job is one important element, but you need to win the person over and ensure he or she is also impressed by your personality. Following the right etiquette and showing good manners are essential elements of this.

While job interview etiquette and good manners are essential. By not following the correct job interview etiquette or not showing good manners, it is very easy to destroy and good work that you have done in the CV, and in having an impressive career history. Interviewers want people they feel they can work with. Someone who is ill-mannered or does not follow the correct etiquette will quickly form negative impressions in the interviewers’ minds.

However someone who uses the right etiquette and is well mannered at the job interview, will enable the interviewers to warm to them and this will give a real competitive advantage over any other people who many be interviewed for the job.

What is job interview etiquette?

Etiquette is not a word that is as widely used as it used to be. It may have undertones of what is done in polite society and not relevant to everyday life, especially in today’s informal atmosphere. However it is very important to follow the right etiquette in a job interview as you need to impress the people interviewing you.

Etiquette is said to be the code for polite behaviour in a society. In other words it is following what polite code for what the interviewer will expect.

The etiquette or code for job interviews has many elements to it, but the sections below outline a few hints and tips about what to do.

Job interview dress etiquette

When attending an interview, the way you dress is of particular importance. First impressions are all important, and the way you present yourself by dressing will be one of the major elements in creating the right or wrong impression.

It is necessary to judge the place to which you are going. However for most professional jobs a suit of some form is best. Often it is wise to dress conservatively, especially for engineering jobs as many engineers and engineering managers will be conservative by nature. For other types of jobs, especially marketing, etc., a more contemporary style may be acceptable. However before the interview, try to assess the place and the people and gain a good idea of what would be best. If in doubt a conservative approach is generally the safe option.

There are a few styles to avoid. In particular it is wise not to dress provocatively. For men tight shirts, etc that show muscular figures are not normally appropriate. Similarly for women, low cut or tight tops and short skirts are to be avoided. While they may turn eyes, it has been shown that managers tend to be cautious and tend to hire people who are not dressed provocatively.

It has been shown that people who dress in a conservative suit are generally more successful for professional jobs. For women it has been shown that Hilary Clinton has a dress style to emulate.

Be punctual

One large turn off is being late for a job interview. Whatever the reason, any interviewer is likely to loose patience with anyone who is late. Even if unexpected road conditions have caused the problem, the interviewer may tend not to look beyond the basic fact that you are late. He is likely to have a busy schedule, and any lateness could disrupt his schedule.

Accordingly it is best to plan arrive close to the location of the prospective employer with some time in hand. Even try to the route beforehand and find any local coffee shops in which you may be able to wait if necessary. However don’t allow so much time that you start to worry.

It will then be possible to arrive at the reception point a just few minutes early and be in good time for the interview.

Any last minute rush will make you agitated and stressed and you may not be able to present yourself as well in the interview.

Good handshake

When meeting people, it is customary to shake hands. A handshake tells a lot about the person. A limp handshake by a clammy hand will not impress. A firm but not knuckle crushing handshake gives a far better impression.It is perfectly normal to be nervous before the interview, and this may result in a sweaty hand. It is worth taking an extra handkerchief to wipe one’s hand before the interview and make sure that you do not have a clammy hand when you shake peoples hands.Remember names

It is often difficult to remember people’s names when being introduced. However it makes a very good impression if we can do that. One way to help is to repeat the names of the people in conversation immediately after meeting them.

For example one could say something like: “Thank you for giving me your time Mr. Xxxxx.” Or something else that may be appropriate. This helps fix the name of the person in your mind.

Unfortunately it is always difficult to remember names when meeting people because you are usually focused on the initial meeting rather than remembering names. As names are important, remembering the interviewers’ names will be seen as a very positive note.

Non-verbal communications

Although we often think of verbal communications as conveying most of the information we give to other people, this is not actually the case. Non-verbal communications account for much of the impression we create with anyone at the interview. It is therefore very important that any non-verbal communications reinforce the job interview etiquette impressions that have already been created.

Eye contact, posture, hand position, all convey information, so it is necessary to be aware of this.

Eye contact shows that you are interested in what the other person (interviewer) is saying and doing and that you have confidence. Lack of eye contact will imply that you are not interested, and it is also a sign of lack of confidence.

Posture is also another indicator. Sitting back in a chair gives an impression of a casual attitude and it gives a “don’t care” impression.

It is important to make sufficient eye contact with both or all interviewers, and to sit up straight in a chair.

It is not always possible to “fake” the body language, so it often best to try to make yourself feel positive and attentive before going in for the interview. Having the right attitude will mean that the body language will follow.

Sell yourself

The interviewer will expect you to sell yourself. It is effectively part of the job interview etiquette to be able to sell yourself in a professional and sensible manner. There are many ways of doing this.

in order to sound truthful about your achievements be prepared to use examples and specifics. Detail the reasoning for decisions you made and the keys that enable you to be successful in a particular area. By giving the underlying reasons for your achievements, the interviewers will be able to see that you are not lying and this will add credibility to your application.

Don’t brag and over dominate the conversation

While it is necessary to be able to talk about yourself in a positive way, you will need to be careful to let the conversation be two-way. The interviewer will want to ask questions, so be aware of this so that they can get into the conversation rather than just listening to a continuous sales pitch about yourself.

It is also necessary to be careful not to be seen as bragging. While you need to let people know your achievements, don’t let it go so far that it could be seen as bragging about what you have done.

Be truthful

One key element of job interview etiquette is to be truthful. If an interviewer discovers you are lying, then he will not want to employ you, and often inconsistencies may give you a way.

Honesty also impacts how much you can claim you have done yourself.. While you want to claim credit for what you have done, don’t overdo it because this could also be seen as lying, and the interviewer will not like this.

Thank you

One final piece of job interview etiquette is to thank the interviewers for their time. Interviewers will generally be busy and will often have many interviews to conduct beyond undertaking their normal job. A short thank you at the end of the interview will help the interview to end on the right note.

It is also worth writing a short note as soon after the interview as possible – possibly that evening – to thank the interviewers. Few people will take the time to do this and it shows that you are someone who does not take things for granted. Not only is it good for the interviewers to know that their time was appreciated, but it may also help your job application.


Etiquette and good manners at a job interview are vitally important. Showing the right job interview etiquette and manners will give you a real advantage over other candidates, and therefore it is wise to prepare yourself to sue the right etiquette before the interview. Putting yourself in the right frame of mind before the job interview, along with asking yourself what you would want if you were the interviewer can help. Remembering to be thoughtful and positive about selling yourself without being “over the top” also helps. Think what etiquette would help you give the job to someone if your were the interviewer.