We make our first impression with our manners. Good manners can land you the job. Bad manners can disqualify you. Follow the key job interview etiquette rules. Present yourself at your best. Make a great first impression. 

What job interview etiquette is

Job interview etiquette is the set of rules to maintain appropriate behavior during the job interview process. Such rules include:

  • The steps to make a good first impression.
  • How to prepare for a job interview.
  • The job interview mistakes to avoid.

As a job seeker, you should respect job interview etiquette to appropriately manage the process and deal with recruiters.

Job interview etiquette. The most important rules. By interviewers, recruiters, and hiring managers.

Job interview etiquette rules

1) Have impeccable personal hygiene

This is the foremost job interview etiquette rule. The interviewers assume that, at the interview, you are at your best. Thus, your personal hygiene must be perfect.

Shower or bath before the job interview. Wash your hair. Comb your hair. Shave or trim your facial hair. Brush your teeth shortly before the interview. Your breath must be fresh. Wear clean and neat clothes.

2) Dress appropriately for the job interview

Get the dress code right. Research the company you are interviewing for. How do their employees dress? Mirror their style. Dress like you are already part of their team.

It is good job interview etiquette to make an effort. Dress like you would on a normal day on the job. Still, choose your best or newest clothes for the interview. 

How to avoid the wrong dress code for a job interview

Your clothes show that you are a good fit for the hiring company. They show that you did your homework. You researched the company. Understood their culture. Saw how their employees dress on a normal day on the job.

If you wear a t-shirt at an investment banking job interview, the recruiter will doubt your understanding of the job.

The easiest way to research a company’s dress code is by looking at its career website. Look at the photos of employees and how they are portrayed. Another easy step is by searching for photos of top managers of the company. Such as the CEO or another top role. Look at their style when they attend a public event.

Job interview etiquette. How to prepare for an interview. The most important tips according to hiring managers.

3) Prepare before the job interview

The main goal of job interview etiquette is to show your consideration for the company. 

Prepare before your interview. Do not go unprepared. Research the company. Go through their website. Read the latest news about them. Test their products.

Memorize the names of your interviewers. Remember the names of anyone in the company you spoke with. Learn the name of their CEO.

Prepare some notes. Prepare your answers for the most likely interview questions. Write down a few questions to ask the interviewers. It shows that you prepared for the interview. Thus, it proves your interest in the role.

Have a notebook with you during the interview. Take notes. It shows that you care about what the interviewers say. Not taking notes is bad job interview etiquette.

Forgetting the content of your resume is bad job interview etiquette

Know your resume by heart. Memorize everything. Numbers. Names. Titles. Dates. Activities. Interests. If you do not remember everything on your resume, recruiters will assume that you made it up.

Before the interview, review everything you wrote in your job application to the company.

4) Greet the interviewers

The job interview is a meeting, and thus you should not neglect the basic social etiquette rules. Greet your interviewers then you meet them.

Everyday salutations work. “Hello”. “Nice to meet you”. “How do you do”. Thank the interviewers for inviting you to the interview. Say that you are happy to be there.

At the end of the interview, before leaving, thank the interviewers for their time. 

5) Speak in a professional manner

Job interview etiquette calls for appropriate language. Adapt your communication style to the occasion and the company. Speak in an appropriate tone. Be clear and concise.

6) Respect conversation etiquette

The job interview is not meant to be a monologue. Try to turn it into a conversation. Do not talk for over 1 or 2 consecutive minutes. Allow the interviewers to jump in. Ask them questions. Try to keep them engaged.

Make eye contact. Listen carefully to the interviewers. Pay attention when they speak. Do not interrupt the interviewers. Take some notes.

Neglecting meeting rules is bad job interview etiquette

Recruiters assess your manners and soft skills too. At a job interview, etiquette mistakes are interpreted as poor soft skills.

Do not be late. Get there around 10 or 15 minutes before the interview. If you are early, walk around. Being too early is an etiquette mistake. Greet the interviewers at the beginning and end of the interview. Respect conversation etiquette. During the interview, make sure that you keep positive body language.

7) Avoid inappropriate topics or remarks

Avoid any topics that can be controversial or inappropriate. Discussing such topics during a job interview is a major etiquette mistake. 

Negative remarks in general are bad job interview etiquette too. Such remarks make you look immature and uncoachable. Do not make negative statements about your past or current company, managers, or teammates.

8) Show that you are mature and coachable

The interviewers want to assess your fit with the company and the role. They want to know if they can work with you. 

Thus, you want to look mature and coachable. If you are mature, you can be a good team member. If you are coachable, you show the potential to be trained and to improve.

Acknowledge the mistakes you made in your career. Do not blame others or external factors. You will look immature. Show your talent, but acknowledge your areas for improvement. Do not overstate your skills or expertise.

Job interview bad habits. How to avoid the worst don'ts.

Job interview etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

job interview etiquette mistakes

Avoid the worst job interview etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Going to a job interview with poor personal hygiene.
  • 8/10. Making negative or inappropriate remarks.
  • 7/10. Forgetting the content of your resume.
  • 7/10. Neglecting social meeting rules.
  • 7/10. Going to a job interview unprepared.
  • 5/10. Wearing the wrong dress code.