If you’re like a lot of job seekers out there, you’ve probably spent endless hours sending out your résumé and waiting (im)patiently for a call. It seems like a losing battle at times, but just as you’re about to give up, you get the call you’ve been waiting for. Congratulations! Finally, someone has taken the time to recognize your skills.
The job interview is the most crucial part of the hiring process. This is where the employer assesses you in almost every way imaginable. It’s also where most people stumble due to a lack of proper interview etiquette. Sure, answering interview questions well is important, but if you don’t use proper etiquette you likely won’t get hired … no matter how strong your answers are!
There are many resources out there to help improve your interview manners, but admittedly they aren’t very fun. Let’s liven things up a bit and look to our favourite musical artists for inspiration and advice.
Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it, strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.
Vogue – by Madonna:
Clearly, attending an interview is not a fashion show by any means. But it’s crucial to always dress your best. Remember to always dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you’re not sure about the company’s dress code, it’s always better to overdress. No matter the position you’re interviewing for, it’s probably best to avoid wearing jeans, flip flops or running shoes … unless the employer, company or industry specifies otherwise.
I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight, I’ve never seen you shine so bright.
The Lady in Red – by Chris de Burgh
The employer will make a decision about you within five seconds of meeting you. It’s true: first impressions count. If you look messy, inappropriate or unorganized, an employer’s first thought might be that your work will be the same.
Shine bright like a diamond, shine bright like a diamond.
Diamonds – by Rihanna
We’re talking about the literal meaning, here. Big dangly jewelry, bright makeup, or neon nail polish may be appropriate accessories for a night on the town, but not for an interview. If anything, these items will be distracting to your interviewer(s). Keep it simple so the employer can keep focussed on what you have to say.
It’s too late to apologize (it’s too late!)
Apologize – by Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
Don’t be late! If you’re on time, you’re late! The right time to arrive is 10 minutes before the scheduled interview. When you’re late, you give the impression that you don’t respect the employer’s time. Map out your route in advance and do a trial run to figure out how long it will take you to get to the interview. This may seem like unnecessary work (and we agree — it’s time consuming) but this can make all the difference in the world. If you’re late, chances are you won’t get the job.
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire, ’cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar!
Roar – by Katy Perry
Don’t look down and mumble during your interview. Unless you’re a child, mumbling and looking down at your shoes as if you’re in trouble isn’t particularly endearing. Not maintaining eye contact or talking too quietly indicates a lack of confidence. If an employer thinks you lack confidence in your answers and body language, they may think you will lack confidence in your work. Remember, you have been selected for the interview; therefore, the employer saw something in you that piqued their interest. They already think you can do the job – don’t deflate on them now. Stay strong, look them in the eye, and tell them why you are the best person for the job.
Ladies leave your man at home…
Jumpin’, Jumpin’ – by Destiny’s Child
Don’t bring your spouse, kids or pets to an interview. If for some reason someone needs to drive you to the interview, make sure they wait for you outside and not in the reception area. Whoever is accompanying you may not be professionally dressed, and even if they are, it’s not appropriate to bring an entourage with you.
What do you mean (oh, oh) … When you nod your head yes, but you wanna say no?
What Do You Mean – by Justin Beiber
Keep your answers relevant to the question. Be concise and provide brief examples to strengthen your point. If the interviewer looks confused, you may not have answered the question. In this instance, simply ask the interviewer, “Have I answered your question?”
Interviews are both exciting and nerve-wracking. It’s important to remember that as much as the employer is assessing you and your skills, you are also assessing them and the work environment. Be confident in yourself. Practice makes perfect, so recruit a friend to practice your interview techniques. Research the company prior to your interview so you come across knowledgeable and interested in the organization.
And in the event that you don’t get hired, you can always look to the almighty Cher for inspiration …
‘Cause I’m strong enough
To live without you,
Strong enough, and I quit crying
Long enough, now I’m strong enough
To know … you gotta go!
Vicki Sahar is a Senior Employment Specialist at The Career Foundation, and spends much of her time connecting job seekers with employment opportunities in the GTA. She is an avid fitness lover and frequenter of local sushi restaurants, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.