Always dress up and dress conservatively for a job interview. Even if you are applying for a job behind a steam table in a fast-food restaurant or in the relaxed environment of an IT company, this is a strategy that works. Remember how your parents told you to dress up to go to church or to visit Grandma? Their reasoning was that we show respect for an organization or an individual by dressing up. Your polish indicates that you think the interview and potential employer matter and that you respect them and the situation.
Arrive 15 minutes early. But no sooner.
Obviously you never want to be late for your interview; however, did you know that arriving too early could be annoying to employers?
Enter the interview room with enthusiasm and energy, both of which can help to mask your nervousness. Smile, make eye contact, and try to maintain an open posture (line your shoulders up with the shoulders of the person you are meeting) as you shake hands with each individual in the room. If possible, walk around the side of the table or desk to shake hands; try not to have a barrier between you and the person you are meeting. Introduce yourself using your first and last name as you shake hands (at least to the first person, if there are several people on the interview team), and, say your first and last name as you shake hands.
Sit up straight and lean slightly forward.
Sitting up straight and leaning slightly forward sends the following non-verbal signal: I'm listening intently. I'm interested in what you have to say. I have a lot of energy and I'm ready to go to work.
It's hard to believe that in a few seconds you can make this kind of impression, but it's true. So ignore this slice of interview etiquette at your own peril.
After you shake hands with all of your interviewers, stand behind a chair until you are invited to sit down, or politely ask where the interviewer would like you to sit. When you take your seat at an interview table, do not place personal items on the table no cell phones, I'phone, handbags, briefcases, water bottles or coffee cups. All of these things should be placed under your chair or on a chair beside you. You may place a portfolio or notepad and pen in front of you. If a beverage is offered, decline politely. Remember to sit up straight with both feet planted on the floor.
People love to hear the sound of their name, so use names when you meet interviewers and when you say goodbye. It is not necessary to sprinkle their names throughout the interview: "That's an interesting question, Mr. Paul" will seem artificial and cloying if said more than once. Because you may be nervous when entering an interview room, you may not hear and remember all of the names of the people you are meeting for the first time. Instead, when you are contacted by the interview scheduler, ask for the names and titles of the individuals who will be interviewing you, and write them down in the notebook or portfolio that you will carry to the interview. Memorize this list. Then, when you enter the interview room, you can use an individual's name when you shake hands: "Good morning, Miss. Julia. It's a pleasure to meet you." And always, always use an honorific (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Gen.) and last name when meeting someone for the first time in business. When introducing yourself, either in person or on the telephone, use your first and last name.
When meeting people from other countries, you need to research cultural differences in order not to offend others or embarrass yourself. In some cultures for example, a hug, kiss or air kiss may accompany that first handshake--you don-t want to be taken off guard.
Maintain an open posture when shaking hands, smile, make eye contact, and say your first and last name. When meeting someone for the first time, always try to say their name as you shake hands and use an honorific (Mr. Ms., Mrs., Dr., Gen.) and their last name. These rules apply to both men and women.
How you greet people reveals a great deal about you--your confidence, your attitude, your polish. Learn to give a good handshake. Begin with your hand parallel to the floor with your thumb pointing to the ceiling, and go all the way into your partner's hand until the space between thumbs and index fingers touch. Wrap your thumb and fingers all the way around your partner's hand and squeeze assertively--not painfully--and shake 3-4 times. Always stand for a handshake in business.
Make eye contact and maintain an open posture. This means aligning your shoulders with the shoulders of the person to whom you are speaking, whenever possible. Do the best you can in a situation where a number of people are interviewing you. Do not fidget in your chair, cross your legs, or wring your hands, and try not to use too many hand gestures. Hold a pencil or a pen if that helps to control your nervousness.