lessons in etiquette #2: interviews

Job interviews. They’re unpredictable, nerve-racking, and generally awkward.

Depending on the type of job and position you’re applying for, each interview will be different and giving advice for every possible scenario would be impossible. But there are a few rules of etiquette that should always be abided by and will help you make the best first impression possible.

1. Do your research 

Make sure you’re knowledgeable about the company and the position you’re applying for.

2. Dress appropriately 

This all depends on the type of job you’re interviewing for. If you’re unsure, always air on the side of being more professional. Stick with solid colors and office-appropriate styles. If the job doesn’t require a uniform, wear something similar to what you’d wear if you were hired. Always avoid baggy clothes, excessive layers, and flashy jewelry. Makeup and hair should be sleek, simple, and fresh.


3. Arrive on-time

Never late and no more than 10 minutes early. You don’t want the interviewer to feel rushed.

4. Bring a resume, paper, and pen

It’s best to have two copies of your resume (just in case) along with a paper and pen for jotting down notes. Keep your resume clean and relevant– in other words, don’t include jobs that have nothing to do with the position you’re applying for. If possible, limit it to one page and make sure it’s well-organized. Need help? Resumizer has great free downloadable resume templates.

5. Turn off your phone

Just do it. You do not want to be the person who’s phone goes off in the middle of an interview.

5. Be yourself 

Smile, maintain good posture and exude confidence. Don’t turn on the phony “charm” or be overly-enthusiastic. Simply be honest and present the most genuine version of yourself.


6. Be prepared to answer: 

-Tell me a little about yourself
What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
Tell me about a time that you made a mistake. How did you handle it?
Why do you want this job?

7. Say thank you

Always, always, always thank the interviewer (and anyone else you talked to) for their time and consideration. Ask when you should expect to hear from them and don’t follow up until then. After the interview, mail over a brief thank-you note to show your appreciation. Little things like that leave a lasting impression and will set you apart when they’re looking to hire people in the future.

Think about it this way– interviewers want to hire you. They want to find the perfect person for the position so that they won’t have to search anymore. So, don’t stress and have fun. You got this. 

Here’s to the perfect interview…


  1. Taylor said:

    It’s so odd but I have always loved interviews!
    These rules are definitely ones that I follow. I always find dress code to be the most complicated although I follow the rule that it is always better to be over dressed than under. I actually once had an interview at a corporate job and was dress in my professional outfit while the interviewer was wearing jeans and a baseball shirt 😐 that was an odd one!

  2. Ashley said:

    Numbers 1 and 5 are my personal favorite tips — it always helps to be prepared, and that means brushing up on the company or person you’re interviewing with. And being personable means the interviewer gets a better sense of who you are and you know they’ll hire you for YOU, not because you pretended to be someone else.

    Lately, a lot of places seem to be doing Skype interviews to save time and money. When I was job hunting, all my interviews were done over Skype or the phone. It made it a little weird not to get to see anyone in person, but these tips were just as useful. I still dressed nice and came prepared because a Skype interview is just as important as an in-person interview!

    • Emily said:

      I’ve heard a lot about Skype interviews but I’ve never encountered one myself. I’m sure they’re a whole different ball game– but, you’re right, you should still be just as professional and prepared!

    • Emily said:

      Right? I’ve grown to hate them less and less over time but they’re still intimidating!

  3. P said:

    Never heard of Resumizer but thanks for sharing! In college, we had advisors who were trained to help with resumes so that was nice.

    I have had interviews for retail jobs, scholarships, grad school…and at first you would think they would be different but I found them all to be very similar to one another. It’s mostly just a professional way to get to know the person behind the submitted application

    • Emily said:

      Oooh, that’s such a nice thing for your college to offer. I wish mine had done that.

      And you’re right– all of my interviews have been really similar, no matter what they were for!

    • Emily said:

      Aw, thank you!

      I agree– doing your research before an interview is the most important thing. Knowledge is always impressive. (:

  4. I was hanging out in Panera when they were conducting employee interviews and some of the things people say was eye opening – one guy said he didn’t want to work any earlier than 8:30! Yikes!

    Great tips 🙂

    • Emily said:

      LOL! Seriously? People amaze me. It’s like they don’t even want the job…

      Thank you!

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