Interview etiquette is one of those phrases that suddenly appeared a few years ago and is permanently entrenched in the recruitment sector.

Interview etiquette is essentially a set of guidelines savvy job seekers are following to give themselves a head start against the competition. There are no hard and set rules, and much of it is actually courtesy and common sense. So whether you need help writing a good thank you email after an interview or don’t know which tie to wear, this is our guide to interview etiquette. 

Be polite

This should go without saying but too many interviewees are only polite to the actual person who interviews them. Black marks have gone against potential employees for bumping into a supervisor and not apologising or not holding the lift for the HR manager. When a company employs someone they then become an ambassador for that company. It speaks volumes about someone’s character if they aren’t humble enough to say sorry, or isn’t courteous enough to hold the lift for a potential colleague. Make sure your manners are in place from the second you leave your home. You never know who you are pushing in front of or not holding a door open for.

Perfect timing

You never ever should be late for an interview, but you shouldn’t be too early either. If a  disaster does strike which is going to make you late always contact the company and let them know and apologise sincerely once you get there. Don’t make the mistake of running there and arriving hot, bothered and flustered. You may think it shows how keen you are, they won’t be impressed with your first impression. Arriving too early is also a pet peeve of employers. You may feel like you are giving yourself a head start by watching how the company works and familiarising yourself with it. In reality, you could be in the way and make the interviewer feel guilty for keeping you waiting. If you have time to spare pop into a local coffee shop and relax before heading over around 15 minutes before your interview is due to start.

Dress to impress

Even if you are having an interview with a laid back company where employees come to work in jeans and T-shirts you must still dress up for that interview. We touched on this above but you never get a second chance to make a first impression. If yours consists of messy hair, creased clothes and dirty shoes, you have ruled yourself out before you even open your mouth. 

Never forget a name

You want to be able to stride up to the desk and say confidently “I’m here for my 3pm interview with Carl”. You do not want to say “I’m here for my 3pm interview with, erm, Carol? Carl? Cheryl?”This is a rookie mistake in which you look both unprepared and uninterested. You should have received an email or letter with the person’s name on that will be interviewing you and if you didn’t there is nothing to stop you calling in advance and asking who it will be.