How To Behave In An Interview (Interview Etiquette And Tips)
Updated 7 September 2023
When preparing for an interview, it is important to be professional and use good etiquette. Having good manners can show your professionalism and help you make a positive impression on the interviewer and others within the organisation. Learning about proper behaviour for an interview can help you feel confident and increase your chances of success. In this article, we explain how to behave in an interview and provide some additional interview tips so you can arrive prepared.
How To Behave In An Interview?
Use these steps to learn how to behave in an interview:
1. Arrive prepared
Arriving prepared for the interview shows your consideration for the time and effort of the hiring team. Being prepared means arriving on time with the materials you need for the interview. For example, bring several copies of your resume, cover letter and references page. Try to have one copy for each member of the interviewing team and bring a few extras. If the hiring manager requested for you to bring other materials, make sure to have them with you. Consider keeping your paperwork in a folder so that you have everything you need in one place.
Being prepared is important because it shows your organisational abilities, time management skills and professionalism. It shows your respect for the time and effort of the interviewing team. When you arrive prepared, you may make a positive first impression by showing that you take the interview seriously.
2. Be friendly and polite to everyone you meet
Show courtesy to everyone you meet on your way to the interview. While it is important to show kindness and respect to others every day, make sure you pay attention and treat others kindly at the interview location. If your interview takes place at the potential workplace, being respectful and polite to the people there can help you make a positive first impression with potential colleagues.
Additionally, you may not know who is on your interview panel before you arrive. Treating everyone with kindness ensures that you behave politely and professionally if you encounter a member of the interview team before the meeting starts.
3. Introduce yourself confidently
When you introduce yourself before the interview, do so with confidence. Your body language can help convey confidence, such as having good posture, smiling and making eye contact. You can also show confidence with a polite and professional greeting. When introducing yourself, greet the interviewer or members of the interview panel and state your name. Repeat the name or names of your interviewers, both to help you remember them and to show that you are paying attention when they introduce themselves.
To help you with your introduction, try practising with a friend or another trusted individual. You may practice saying your name, giving a handshake and using open body posture. If posture, shaking hands, making eye contact or smiling are uncomfortable or challenging for you, use other strategies to show confidence, such as dressing professionally or focusing on your answers to interview questions. Emphasising the skills and experience you hope to bring to the company is more important than your introduction. It can improve your confidence when you focus on your strengths and abilities.
4. Practice good manners
Use good manners whenever possible during your interview. Simply using good manners like saying 'please' and 'thank you' can demonstrate your politeness and professionalism. If the interview takes place over a meal, practice good table manners. For example, wait until everyone's meals arrive before starting to eat. Finish chewing before speaking and try to take small bites that allow you to eat while maintaining a conversation. Good manners can show your professionalism and consideration for others. Politeness can help you establish positive relationships with the interview team because it shows respect for their time and attention.
Related: An In-Depth Guide To Professionalism
5. Follow up with a thank-you note
After the interview, send a thank-you note to show your gratitude for the opportunity. It is best to send the thank-you note as soon as possible after the interview, or within 24 hours of the interview. For example, you may keep a stack of blank cards in your car or on your person so you can quickly write a note and deliver it to the interview team immediately after the interview. While delivering a physical card can be a nice gesture, it is acceptable to send a thank-you over email.
Try to personalise the note. Thank the interviewer or the interview panel for their time, and address them by name in the note. You can also mention a specific point related to your discussion during the interview. For example, you can talk about an element of the workplace you learnt about during the interview, or you can address a follow-up point about your own skills that you may have left out during the conversation. Personalising the note shows your genuine engagement with the interview and your interest in the job.
Tips For Your Interview
Here are some additional tips to help you feel more prepared for your interview:
Plan your outfit ahead of the meeting
It is important to dress professionally for your interview. Planning your outfit in advance can help you feel confident on the day of the interview. Choosing your outfit before helps you focus on preparing your responses on the day of the interview. It also means you can ensure your outfit of choice is clean and prepared for when you need it. You can also practice for your interview while wearing your chosen outfit.
Arrive on time
Be punctual on the day of your interview. Always confirm the time and date of the meeting. It can help to review the directions to the location of the interview the day before so you can feel confident that you know how to get there. Additionally, make sure you know where the interview takes place at the meeting location.
For example, some office buildings are large, and some corporate locations even have multiple buildings on their campuses. Knowing which building is the right one and where to go once you arrive can help you feel more confident. You may also want to ask about parking if you plan to drive yourself to the location. Know whether you can park at the location, if you need a guest parking pass or if the parking area is far from the building.
Rehearse with another person
It is always a good idea to practice before your interview. Have a friend or another trusted person pretend to be the interviewer while you pretend to give the interview. Choose someone with whom you feel comfortable and ask them for feedback on your responses. You can search online for common interview questions in your field and use those questions as a guide during your rehearsal. If you cannot practice with another person, you can practise on your own. Rehearse your answers in front of a mirror to review your performance.
Bring your own questions
Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer. A job interview allows you to learn more about the company and the position so you can decide whether it is a good fit for you. Spend time before the interview researching the company and writing your questions so you can remember to ask them during the meeting. You can bring your list of questions with you into the interview.
Be authentic and positive
During the interview, try to be genuine and positive. Answer the questions honestly, but try to emphasise positive skills and qualities. For example, if the interviewer asks you to share about a time when you made a mistake, give an honest answer, but focus on how you resolved the problem. This shows that you have effective problem-solving skills, while also showing your ability to take accountability for your mistakes.
Non-verbal communication is one of many tools that can help you make a good impression in interviews and in your professional life. However, candidate assessments should be based on skills and qualifications, and workplaces should strive to be inclusive and understanding of individual differences in communication styles.
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