With competition for jobs as fierce as ever, being highly qualified isn’t enough. If you barge into an interview like you own the place, you probably won’t get hired. As expert Arnie Fertig tells clients of his Jobhuntercoach service, “behavior, attitude, and manners are all components of your personal brand and the impression you make,” and in a great U.S. News & World Report post titled “7 Key Etiquette Tips for Your Job Search,” he shares advice for building and maintaining a good professional reputation.
1. Let the Courtesy Flow — You never know who’s watching or where cameras might be rolling, Fertig writes, so when you go in for your interview, don’t just be polite and respectful in your interactions with the interviewer. Be courteous with the receptionist and the janitor and the guy or girl you wash hands next to in the bathroom. He or she might be a hiring manager.
2. Don’t Be a Pest — Applying for the same job over and over or contacting a company repeatedly after an interview to follow up and find out where they are in the hiring process won’t do you any favors.
3. Answer Questions Carefully — As Fertig writes, “Tell me about yourself” isn’t an invitation for a 30-minute intro to your life story. “Make sure you are answering the questions people actually ask, rather than the questions you want or expect them to ask,” Fertig writes. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting time.
4. Pay Attention — If you ask for a bit of information during your interview that’s been relayed minutes before, you’ll mark yourself all sorts of foul, Fertig writes. It’s the “kiss of death” to seem like someone who doesn’t pay attention, so listen carefully. Side note: It’s OK to ask for clarification on a point, but make sure you make clear you heard and processed what was originally said.
5. Lose the Phone — This one’s pretty obvious: If you’re fussing with your phone, you’re not giving the interviewer your full attention. Turn it off, or better yet, leave it in the car.
6. Look the Part — How you dress says a lot about how seriously you take yourself and the opportunity. In most professional circumstances, Fertig writes, business attire is the norm, but business casual is sometimes appropriate. When in doubt, check with the person who scheduled the interview.
7. Follow-Up Appropriately — Be sure to send a thank-you email no later than the next day, and if you promised to pass along work samples or things of that nature, be sure to follow through.