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Etiquette is the key to job interview success
By Liz Brewer, Etiquette and Social Behaviour Expert
There is nothing more important than making the right first impression, and nowhere is that more true than in a job interview scenario. As an expert on social behaviour and etiquette in the 21st century, I’ve written books about how to do these things correctly; I was also selected as the etiquette and social behaviour teacher on ITV’s award-winning TV series Ladette to Lady.
I’ve seen the mistakes that people make in job interviews, and they are all things that can be easily rectified. The most common problems include entering the room nervously, looking down instead of looking at the interviewer, and fidgeting during the course of the conversation. Candidates often let themselves down by failing to make an effort with how they look, or by giving off negative nervous energy, talking too quietly, and swallowing their words.
I work with a lot of young people preparing for interviews who are looking for guidance on how to enter the room, how to start a conversation, and how to properly greet their interviewer. These are the kinds of things that bright academic students do not learn at school and university, and they can be daunting to those embarking on a programme of job interviews for the first time.
If I were to distil my advice down to four top tips on how to impress in a job interview, I’d advise candidates to smile, be positive, be prepared, and take care in dressing. Getting those few basics right is a pretty good starting point.
But there are plenty of other things to be taken into account, all of which revolve around the crucial skills of correct social behaviour, and making a good first impression. However nervous a candidate is, for example, they should always take deep breaths, and adjust their energy to give off a positive demeanour. Presentation is critical – to succeed in an interview, one needs to dress in accordance with the job in question, and place great emphasis on looking clean and tidy.
It is important to use the correct greeting on arrival, and to be sure to thank the interviewers for their time and consideration when it comes to the time to leave. And throughout the conversation, making eye contact is extremely important – without eye-balling the interviewer – as is remembering to speak slowly and clearly. Learning to relate to people, to understand the energy that you are giving off, and to manage the tone of your voice, can all go a long way towards making the difference between success and failure in a job interview.
I believe passionately in helping young people present themselves in the best possible light, and that’s why I’m proud to support Finito’s courses and help candidates build their self-awareness and learn how to appoint themselves properly in the interview room.
With thoughtful preparation and a positive outlook, everyone is capable of leaving a great lasting impression and starting out on a successful and fruitful career. Just don’t forget to send a thank you letter afterwards – an underrated, and often overlooked, common courtesy.