Interview Etiquette – How to Create a Good Impression?
So you have solved hundreds of coding problems, brushed up your technical skills, and are ready to rock the interview! Although there is another important aspect which most interviewees ignore when it comes to technical interviews – Soft Skills or Basic Etiquette. Interviews are meant to assess how good a fit you are for the specific job opening and organization as a whole and is not just limited to your knowledge, skills, experience, and professional background. Now, where does etiquette come into the picture?
Researches show “You only have 7 seconds to leave a good impression on anyone”
You might wonder why your body language and etiquette matter? Aren’t my skills and knowledge enough to hire me? The answer to the question is that you will represent the organization if selected – hence you must be well-behaved and ooze confidence in the way you carry yourself.
The below pie chart gives a pictorial representation of what constitutes a first impression. You will be surprised to know that only 7% of what you speak contributes to your overall body language! Hence, it is very important to focus on other aspects of your personality as well, like the way you sit, dress, and speak.
The first impression definitely does not finalize your interview result, but it has the power to shape the way your next 20-30 minutes of the interview are going to look like. So how can you make the first 7 seconds count?
- Be on time. Arrive at least 10 minutes early to the interview location.
- Dress appropriately & professionally.
- Make proper eye contact with the interviewer(s).
- Greet the interviewer politely with a smile.
- Have a firm handshake.
- Maintain good posture.
- Speak clearly & confidently.
HOW TO SIT?
You’re recommended to consider the below-mentioned Do’s and Don’ts:
- Maintain a straight posture while sitting
- Keep your hands on the lap
- Rest yourself on the back of the chair
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer
- Keep your documents handy within your hand’s reach
- Slouch your shoulders
- Fold your hands on your chest
- Fidget or Play with your hands/hair/objects around you
- Make distracting noise – tap feet, crack knuckles, click your pen
- Look down or around the room while speaking
HOW TO DRESS?
You must dress to the occasion – Dress like you are an employee of the organization and not like you are going to the movies with your friends!
- Wear clean and ironed formal clothes
- Wear proper fitting, comfortable clothes
- Wear neutral colors – White, Blue, Black, Navy, Gray, Brown
- Patterns allowed – Plain OR Small checks
- Try the clothes once before the interview
- Be overly fashionable/trendy
- Wear bright-colored clothes with patterns
- Wear loose crumpled clothes
- Wear your casual home clothes (even during online interviews)
HOW TO SPEAK?
Do remember the following points:
- Volume: Loud enough to be heard easily but make sure you are not screaming.
- Speed: Fast-talking is a sign of nervousness. The optimal Speech Rate is ~150 words/minute
- If nervous, take a pause for a few seconds
- Count 1 to 5 in your mind
- Take a deep breath
- Tone: Be fluent, clear & confident
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s) while talking
- Do not interrupt the interviewer in the middle
- Use hand gestures only to emphasize a point
- Stay natural – Have a warm, enthusiastic and positive attitude
Another thing to understand is that an interview is simply a conversation with the interviewer about your technical knowledge and skills. So participate freely in the conversation, be honest, and most importantly – Be yourself.
Remember that the interviewer is a human as well – they are friendly, understanding, and empathize with the interviewee’s situation. So ask for clarifications if the question is not clear, ask for time if you need some for solving a question, and make the interviewer aware in case you are facing any sort of difficulty.
Finally, let’s go through some tips for online interviews as well since they have become the new norm nowadays.
- Install the required app (Zoom / Meets) at least a day before on your device.
- Run test meeting on the app with family a day before — Familiarize yourself with how to mute/unmute yourself, turn the video on/off, share screen, send chat message, etc.
- Check internet & microphone connectivity at least 30 minutes before. Keep a backup available beforehand with you in case of last moment glitches.
- Join the meeting ID 5 minutes before start time.
- Find a good spot in your room – clear of noise or visual distractions.
- You can even set a virtual background or blur the background while your camera is on, in case you cannot find a suitable place.
- Follow all etiquette similar to offline interviews.
- Keep your video on throughout the call.
- Keep your mobile out of your hand’s reach. Put it on silent or DND mode and switch off alarms.
- Don’t casually check your mobile even if there’s a pause/break due to technical glitches.
- Don’t get frustrated in case of technical issues. Remember they are external factors on which you have no control. Calmly inform your interviewer about the same, ask for a few minutes, and try alternate options.
With these tips and etiquette rules, you will definitely be able to create a good impression on your interviewer and pose yourself as a professional individual!!