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There are so many things to think about when planning for an interview that basic interview etiquette can sometimes take a backseat. That’s why, although it could be considered common knowledge (and common sense) it bears repeating. So here are some basic pre-interview considerations;

Don’t be late

Sloppy timekeeping is a big no-no for obvious reasons. Time is our most precious commodity, unlike money, it’s something you can never recoup. Your hard work throughout the application process has afforded you a slot of the hiring manager’s time. If you’re late, you’re sending the message that you don’t value it, you’re ill prepared and you’re likely not interested in securing the role

Aim to be at least 15 minutes early in case you encounter unforeseen circumstances, like car trouble, tailback traffic or you happen to get lost. If you don’t know where you’re going, Google Maps the location so it looks familiar to you when you arrive. Check public transport times and parking availability well before you go.

Of course, sometimes we’re a victim of circumstance and no matter how good your time keeping, the worst has happened and you’re going to be late. In this instance call ahead, calmly explain the situation and apologise. More often than not, people will be sympathetic to your situation and give you the benefit of the doubt but don’t leave them hanging. A no show with no call is a strike through your name for any vacancy that hiring manager is leading on again.


Terry’s Tip

Make sure to take along some extra copies of your CV in case you need to hand them out. It’s always handy to have a pad and pen if you want to make notes during the interview, or refer back to your questions if you need to.


Dress to impress

And by impress we don’t mean a sequinned tiara. What to wear for an interview is always a hot topic but it’s generally common sense. Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in. Make sure it’s clean and ironed, with no stains, holes or stray cat hairs. As a rule, avoid anything overly revealing and clothing should be seasonally appropriate. You want them remembering you, not what your outfit.

If you’re concerned about the level of formality, err on the side of caution. Feeling overdressed in a business casual environment is less awkward than turning up in a polo shirt and chinos to sit in front of a panel of suits.

Do not disturb – in more ways than one

TURN YOUR PHONE ON SILENT. Seriously, you feel foolish when it goes off in the cinema, you’ll want the ground to swallow you up if it happens mid-interview. The same goes for the incessant bing of notifications. Just turn it off until you’re out of there!

An obvious one again but has been flagged by our head hunters in the past; No swearing please. As your mum says, it’s not big and it’s certainly not clever in an interview setting. Even if your usual lexicon is strictly post-watershed, a slip of the tongue could see you miss out on your next big job opportunity. Is it worth the risk? F**k no.

We’ve talked about looking clean, that should also extend to smelling it! Steer clear of strong odours before your big interview – that means tuna sandwiches and excessive use of Lynx Africa! It’s unlikely in our new era of social distancing you’ll be getting that close but better safe than sorry if you’re interviewing in person. Chewing gum is always a good idea but ditch it before you go in!

Making a good first impression

The interview starts the moment you set foot on the premises. Every interaction, from being greeted by a security guard, checking in with reception to finally getting in front of the hiring manager, is being assessed. It’s not unheard of for hiring managers to ask auxiliary staff about a candidate’s behaviour before they’re invited to the interview room.

Be friendly, personable and remember to smile – a golden rule for interview etiquette and a great rule for life in general!

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