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Job Interview Etiquettes to Leave a Great Impression

"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot." —Clarence Thomas

Jack is at the top of his class at college. He has a stellar grade point average. While still a sophomore, he came up with his take on cloud computing, which earned him rave reviews and made the tech world sit up and notice.

So when Jack decided to interview at a big corporate, everybody expected him to land the job.

But he didn't!

He, too, was shocked.

You may also be surprised at the outcome. Why didn't the panel hire Jack, when he seemed to be the perfect fit?

The truth is that the panel saw something in Jack that made them back away instantly. He was discourteous, rude, arrogant, disregarding the company's regulations, and quite simply put, lacking the necessary manners to fit in with the rest of the team.

His interview etiquette was way off.

He turned up looking crummy, went out several times to answer calls, and was barely polite to other candidates.

Remember that you might have the most stellar resume among your rivals, and your qualifications might beggar belief, or you may look smart and be dressed chicly, but it all counts for nothing if you do not have a courteous nature.

In this article, we will give you some interview etiquette tips and some post interview etiquette know-how.

We'll also help you with interview tips and tricks while discussing good interview etiquette.

Here is a gist of what you are in for!

  • Why Is Following Interview Etiquette Important?
  • What Is Interview Etiquette?
  • Job Interview Etiquette
  • How to Prepare for an Interview

Why Is Following Interview Etiquette Important?

"Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them." Bill Kelly.

You may believe that technical prowess, knowledge, experience, and skill are all it takes to crack an interview, but you couldn't be more wrong.

Here is some career advice for you.

You are competing with those just as qualified, if not more qualified than you.

So, think of yourself as a copy of the same book. Now, why should the interviewer prefer your copy to the others, since the content is the same?  What is the difference between five copies of the same book?

You are right! The cover.

First impressions—of which etiquette plays a big part—matter. When the competition boils down to choosing from among the best book cover, then the most well-put-together book wins hands-down!

Next, what employers are looking for are team players. They want to know if you will fit into a mold they have already created in their work culture, unless you are interviewing at a start-up.

So, to fit into their mold, you need training in some basic interview etiquette to blend into their work culture seamlessly. Interviewers will be looking for a candidate that can join an existing team without creating ripples of the wrong kind.

In a job, you will be working with plenty of people from different backgrounds and qualifications. How you treat them goes a long way in building team spirit and boosting morale. Interviewers are looking for a gentleman, not a wild child or a highly individualistic prodigy whom they have to rigorously school in the ways of the company. Every employer looks to reduce ruffled feathers, so they prefer to hire someone more conventionally well-mannered. And they will keep their eyes peeled out for such a candidate.

If you are still not convinced why etiquette is important then consider the last time someone was rude to you. Didn’t the experience rub you the wrong way? You want to avoid the same impression on your interviewing panel.

Some of you may believe that putting on good manners for an interview is a bit of a sham. You're faking it to get a job when it is not a part of your psyche. But that's the last thing expected of you! Through these basic interview etiquette tips, you will make good manners a part of your overall personality, and they will remain in your blood even after the interview is over!

So while taking Interview prep courses, pick up a few interview etiquette tips along the way.

What Is Interview Etiquette?

Etiquette goes deeper than a 'please' or a 'thank you.' It is ingrained into your character from childhood as a part of your upbringing. It is respectful, mature, forgiving, considerate, polite, and scrupulously honest.

Your manner of behaving betrays every trace of how your parents or caregivers raised you. Did they raise you to treat others with respect? Did they raise you to be considerate, polite in speech, and dare we say it, a 'gentleman' or a 'lady'?

Interview etiquette is those set of rules or expected behavior patterns you need to keep in mind while interviewing since they create a favorable impression of you in the interviewer's mind. They include how you dress, talk, and treat others—including rivals and those on the panel. Having pleasing manners is half the battle won in making a good impression, so work on it.

If you feel a tad discomforted by your lack of manners or wonder how you can polish off the rough edges in your demeanor, follow these interview etiquette tips we have prepared for you. Your etiquette during interview will play a significant factor in propelling your success in getting the job, so let's plunge on!


Here are some interview tips you might otherwise forget!

  • Carry your pen and paper to the interview.
  • Prepare your Unique Selling Points in advance.
  • Wear your best outfit to boost confidence.

Job Interview Etiquette

Good manners are cost-effective. They increase the quality of life in the workplace besides contributing to employee morale. They also embellish the company image, and play a major role in generating profit.

With these sage words in mind, let us approach the following interview tips and tricks basic etiquette.

  • Prepare and Practice

Before going for an interview, prepare! You will need to have answers ready for some probing questions they might ask. So please do thorough research on the most typical questions asked at interviews and prepare your answers for them. Some of the questions you might be asked at the interview are:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What does life in five years look like to you?
  • What unique life experiences have you had?
  • What do you hope will be your legacy?
  • Why are you applying for this job?

Do not expect to wing it at the interview. Also, once the preparation is done, practice answering the questions in front of the mirror. If you are not satisfied with your answers, neither will the panel. Learn good interview etiquette on your breaks so you can consistently make it a part of your life.

  • Be respectful to everyone you meet

When you enter the building, remember you are being watched. Some little sparrow somewhere has got its eyes on you and your every move.

From subtle body language to the things you say, you are being mentally judged.

You are in a Kafkaesque position. Not to get you too paranoid, but you need to be aware that even treating the doorman rudely has consequences. Even the most unsuspecting person like the security at the door may be called to give feedback on you.

When you reach the venue, treat your rivals with respect. Engage in conversation with them. Make friends and try to ease the tension of the situation. The job interview etiquette you have picked up will serve you well now.

  • Be polite

The first thing you do when you get there is to greet everybody with a smile and wish them a good day. It will help you ease your nerves and get you acquainted with everyone at once. Remember also to greet the interview panel.

Next, while answering questions, do not get annoyed if you have to repeat yourself or explain anything more than once. It could be a subtle test. Stand up when anyone enters the room and maintain eye contact at all times. When you shake hands, make it a firm handshake, anything else will be interpreted as weakness. If you maintain this etiquette during interview, you won't go wrong!

  • Be confident

"As is our confidence, so is our capacity."– William Hazlitt.

Those are wise words from the English essayist. Now, what happens if you feel under confident? It is easy to advise someone before an interview—‘be confident'. But where is that confidence going to come from when you feel there is a shortage in your soul? What if you suffer from low self-esteem?

Remember a lack of confidence could have an underlying cause. Are you not prepared well enough for the interview? Are you unsure of the basics of the domain? Try technical interview prep mock classes to get interview ready. Be honest with yourself. Do I believe I am good enough for this post? Is my expertise watertight? Answering such probing questions will lead to you find the root cause of your low confidence levels. Then you can start work on patching up the problem.

  • Be careful with body language

People read into body language a lot nowadays. They are adept at picking out clues from your posture, your facial expressions, and they can judge if you are defensive, or open.

For example, a posture with shoulders hunched depicts an under confident person while someone with shoulders back portrays a strong, commanding nature. Picking at your face or touching your face too much is a sign that you are nervous. Arms folded is a sign that you are defensive, while hands on your lap is a sign of under confidence. Read up a lot of exactly what your body language communicates and avoid those signs.

  • Know What to Wear to a Job Interview

The most vital interview etiquette tip is what to wear to the interview. Most offices have business casual or formal business attire stipulation. If you do not know how to turn up dressed for the interview, do some research on the company. Check out the pictures they post on their official site and social handles once you find out how the herd dresses, imitate them. Mostly, if you are confused, then go for the traditional suit. Women can try skirts or knee-length dresses.

There is a whole rationale behind the colors that you choose, so try to stick to navy or greys.

Bring copies of your resume. And bring a sheet with at least three references. You should provide names, addresses, and telephone numbers in working order. In case you are a web designer or app developer, you may need to bring in samples of your work. Carry your laptop with you and make sure it is charged. A little known job interview etiquette tip is to carry a list of questions you have for the interviewer. You can ask these questions at the end or whenever they open the floor to you.

  • When to Get to a Job Interview

The most basic interview etiquette tip is to be on time for the interview. If they have said eleven am, reach early, but never late. When you do reach early, then take a few minutes to freshen up before the interview. Settle your clothes and do a light touch up then get seated for the big day to begin.

If you do arrive very early, do not enter the office at once and expect to be served. Instead, buy a cup of coffee at the café around the corner, and wait until it is fifteen minutes to the interview. Then you can enter the venue.

  • How to Greet the Interviewer

Greet the interviewer with utmost confidence. Shake hands firmly and speak clearly. Even if you are nervous, do your level best to control the nerves.

Smile and let them do the talking. The onus is on the interviewer to steer the direction of the interview. He or she will introduce himself or herself and lead you into small talk. Follow the interviewer's lead. Do not attempt to sit in the power seat in an interview. Make your greeting short. A simple 'Hello' or 'Hi' is good enough, along with your full name. Maintain eye contact when you're saying this so that the memory of you sticks in their mind. Maintain traditional etiquette during interview, that is common to that particular culture.

  • The Best Way to Respond to Interview Questions

The best way to respond to interview questions is to answer carefully and confidently. Once the interviewer asks the question, pause. Reflect. Then logically make your answer and highlight what you feel is important. Take your time. Explain in detail. Just do not begin to ramble. If you do not know the answer, tell them the truth. It is considered good interview etiquette to ask the interviewer if you should continue answering when you sense their attention is lagging.

  • What to Give the Interviewer

Give the interviewer a copy or multiple copies of your resume. Also, a list of references is a good idea to keep on hand. The references should be of a minimum of three people with their full names, their addresses and their numbers.

It is a part of job interview etiquette to have a little more copies of your resume since you do not know if it will be a single person interviewing you or a panel.

  • How to Close an Interview

It is a part of post interview etiquette to reiterate your interest in the job. The interview is usually closed by the interviewer, but you do get to make some closing statements. What should you include in your post interview etiquette questions? Thank them for taking the time and ask them what happens after this stage of the interview is over. Ask them when you can expect a reply, and you are done!

  • Follow your table manners

If the interview is to be held at lunch or else at breakfast, then strictly mind your table manners. Do not eat a lot, and be tidy in your manner of eating and drinking. Avoid getting drunk. This is a crucial basic interview etiquette tip. Other tips for a lunch or breakfast interview is to offer to pay, though convention demands that they pick up the tab.

  • Do the send a thank you note

A part of your post interview etiquette is to send them a thank you note. It’s a nice way of appreciating how you are grateful for the time they have taken in you and how you’d like to know more about the position.

It could go something like this:

Dear John, thanks for allowing me to interview yesterday.

I was pleased with the whole experience. I'd like to reiterate my interest in the position.


Yours faithfully,


The note should preferably be handwritten. And it should highlight how keen you are on the position without sounding too needy.

How to Prepare for an Interview

Before preparing for any interview, you might be interested in some interview tips and tricks basic etiquette.

There are so many ways to prepare for an interview! But it can be broken into roughly two parts.

Firstly, you should make yourself technically sound. If you do not have the necessary technical expertise in your subject, you are just building castles on sand. To get technically sound, try the help of various technical interview prep mock classes.

Once you are through with these, you can then move on to perfecting your basic interview etiquette. While this should never take precedence over skill, it is an important finishing coat of paint on a solid standing wall.

Last updated on: 
October 27, 2023

Ashwin Ramachandran

Head of Engineering @ Interview Kickstart. Enjoys cutting through the noise and finding patterns.

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