What is good interview etiquette? (With tips and examples)

If you want to impress an interviewer, it’s important to conduct yourself in a positive and honest manner. By taking this approach, you could more easily convince them that you’re a thoughtful person, deserving of due consideration during the selection process. By following this guide, you could learn how to stand out against rival applicants during an interview. In this article, we define the term ‘interview etiquette’, before offering six tips on how to conduct yourself in an interview.

What is interview etiquette?

Interview etiquette is the behavior, language and empathy that you deploy during a job interview. It’s useful to use such etiquette throughout the interview process, as this encourages the interviewer to view you as a kind and trustworthy person. If your counterpart views you positively, they’re more likely to recommend that their manager hire you, allowing you to secure a new job more quickly. If you follow this advice each time you interview for a job, you can progress your career to a more senior level in a shorter period, boosting your earning potential as a result.

How to conduct yourself in an interview

The following section lists six tips on how to conduct yourself in an interview, each supported by a contextual example:

1. Prepare in advance

You could benefit from making extensive preparations for your interview beforehand, to avoid making simple mistakes. For example, you can perform research into common interview questions for your industry, before preparing detailed answers to them. You may also research the business’ commercial goals, before preparing answers that highlight how you could help achieve them. You may then more easily sustain the conversation without hesitating or making factual errors. This may prove to the interviewer that you’re a diligent individual whose willing to work hard to progress at work, boosting your chances of securing the role.

For example, if you’re invited to interview for an entry-level job as a graphic designer, you might benefit from making advance preparations. In this situation, you may conduct research into questions often asked during graphic design interviews, before preparing basic answers. If the interviewer asks ‘What defines a successful graphic designer?’, you can list multiple soft skills that graphic designers often possess, such as creativity and communication. You can then outline why they’re useful, before providing evidence to show that you possess them.

2. Act professionally

You can also benefit from acting professionally, to encourage your counterpart to view you as a competent individual. In this situation, you may prepare your interview notes in advance, before neatly organising them in a formal briefcase or satchel. You may also consider wearing more formal clothing, such as a smart suit or skirt. By taking this approach, you could find it easier to make a positive first impression with the interviewer, encouraging them to view you as trustworthy. You may then feel more relaxed, making it easier to answer each question without becoming muddled.

For example, if you’re attending an interview for an investment banking job, you may benefit from conducting research into the correct dress code. Investment banks often expect individuals to wear reserved and formal clothes that reflect their large financial responsibilities, such as a smart suit in black, grey or dark blue. If you attend the interview in clothing that reflects this style, you could more easily give your counterpart a positive first impression. You could then more easily answer questions about your career without fearing judgement.

3. Use positive body language

As you arrive at the interview location, it’s advisable to display positive and confident body language. In this context, you could walk toward the interviewer with an upright gait, before firmly shaking hands with them. In the interview itself, it’s useful to maintain eye contact with your counterpart, to show that you’re genuinely interested in learning more about the role. By taking this approach, you can show the interviewer that you’re a trustworthy and curious person, making them feel more comfortable during the interview. You could then find it easier to persuade them that you’re well-suited to the role.

For example, if you’re interviewing for your first entry-level job after graduating, you could feel nervous about making a good impression. To avoid displaying these nerves in public, you can use positive body language as a distraction. For example, when the interviewer asks questions, you could lean forwards and try to maintain eye contact. By taking this approach, you force yourself to pay close attention to the interviewer’s comments, distracting your attention from your initial anxiety. When you’re speaking, you may sit upright and with an open posture, ensuring that you’re fully engaged with answering the interviewer’s question.

4. Use clear and detailed sentences

It’s also important to use clear and detailed sentences during an interview, to ensure that the interviewer can understand everything you say. By taking this approach, you could more easily communicate why you’re the ideal candidate for the role, increasing your chances of securing a formal job offer. In this situation, you may prioritize using simple yet formal language, recognizing the professional nature of your relationship with the interviewer. You can also limit potential confusion by stating the main point at the beginning of each answer, before expanding on it in more detail.

For example, if you’re interviewing for a job as a sales manager, you may use clear and detailed sentences to explain your suitability for the role. By taking this approach, you can reassure the interviewer that you’re able to communicate sales targets to junior colleagues without confusion. This can build a more harmonious and efficient sales team, encouraging the firm to hire you. By using formal language, you could also prove to the interviewer that you recognize how formality encourages more efficient communication between senior and junior colleagues.

5. Direct the conversation towards your attributes

You may also benefit from trying to direct the conversation towards your own skills and experiences, to show how they relate to the job’s specifications. By taking this approach, you can more clearly show the interviewer how you could help their organization to meet its commercial goals. They could then feel more willing to hire you.

For example, if you’re applying for an entry-level job as a financial advisor, you likely possess little experience in this field. To convince firms to overlook this issue, you may use your answers to highlight your core skills. If the interviewer asks ‘How could you thrive as a financial advisor?’, you can highlight your analytical skills. You may then explain how you might apply these skills to your duties, such as assessing stock performance. By relating your own skills to the role’s duties, you can better convince the interviewer that you could thrive as a financial advisor.

6. Express gratitude

At the end of an interview, you can thank the interviewer for the opportunity to explain the benefits of hiring you. By taking this approach, you can show due respect for the efforts that they’ve made to advance to such a senior position at this organisation. The interviewer might then develop a more positive impression of you, increasing your chances of securing the role in question. You can express immediate gratitude by shaking the interviewer’s hand and thanking them for their time. You could also produce a personalised thank you letter, emailing it to the interviewer later that day.

For example, if you’re interviewing for an entry-level role as a marketing copywriter, you may use gratitude to stand out against other applicants. In this situation, you can draft a personalized thank you letter that covers topics discussed during the interview. If an interviewer inquired about your experience with SEO techniques, you can thank them for the opportunity to highlight your skills in this area. By including specific details in the letter, your gratitude is more likely to seem sincere.