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Good Interview Etiquette in 2021

People Shaking Hands / Interview

Do you remember the last time you prepared for a proper interview? Or felt that anticipation wanting to make a great first impression? By now you’ve had enough zoom “tips and tricks” that you’re set for life in a virtual reality simulation. Now that some businesses are back in the office, if you’re given the option to have an in-person interview again and you feel comfortable doing so, in-person is always the best option.

We’ve laid out a couple of updated tips and friendly reminders (hopefully we’ve all gone back to wearing pants regularly) so that you feel confident in your next interview, whether it be in person or in a video face to face interview.

If you’re given the option to have an in-person interview versus a video call, we recommend you do in-person. The second-best option is to choose a video call interview instead of a phone call. An interview where you can see the other person will often be the best option because interviewer can see your smile and read your body language. This allows them to connect with you on a more personal basis. We’ve seen less qualified candidates get offered the job because the interviewers connected better with them and their physical presence made the candidate seem more motivated to get the job.

If you want to stand out as an exceptional applicant or company, here’s how you can go above and beyond for your interviews. 

Job Applicants/Candidates:

  • Be open to sharing something personal about yourself and who you are outside of the workforce. Make sure you tell stories, and we encourage you to share a laugh with the interviewer.
  • Answer the interviewers’ questions but don’t gush or do all the talking. It is your responsibility to interview them just as much as you and the role of the speaker should be 50/50.
  • Every organization has growing pains and challenges. Hiring managers want to know pains you’ve experienced and different challenges you have had along your career journey.
  • Ask if there are any challenges that affect the position you’re interviewing for and why the position is available.
  • Time is money. The traditional “thank you note” after an interview is still a great way to stand out to hiring managers. To get ahead of the competition, use email to send a “thank you” no later than the night of your interview. If you are unsure of what to write, you can begin by thanking them for their time, restate your interest in the position, and list the reasons you’d be a good fit for the job and also for the team.

Hiring Managers:

  • Schedule meetings with a 15–30-minute window in between to give yourself enough time to not only process the interview, but to avoid clashing with the next meeting you have scheduled. Respecting the candidate’s time helps them maintain a positive perspective about the organization.
  • Give the applicant for the position a distraction free interview. Many companies are working around the clock or feel like they’re playing catch up form a difficult year. Allow yourself to process the current conversation by muting your desktop notifications and putting your phone on silent.
  • The interview isn’t meant to be a grilling session (so don’t bother to bring the spatula). It is your responsibility to interview them just as much as it is their job to interview you and the company.
  • Ask questions about the job candidate’s work experience, but also be sure to ask for more stories from candidates to get more information on their personalities and their problem-solving skills.

If you have never had a video interview:

  • Be aware of your lighting and camera angles – It’s hard to capture an authentic good first impression when the person on the other end of the call doesn’t have much to look at besides your nostrils. Be sure to set up the camera of your device a few feet away from your face and at eye level.
  • Give at least 15-20 minutes given your technological skills to log into the call and test the video quality and audio on your video call prior to your interview.
  • Pretend the other person is actually sitting right in front of you. We have a tendency to look at ourselves on camera, so if you have the option, you can either minimize the video window showing your face and just view the other person. As an alternative, you can place the viewing window near your desktop’s webcam so that it appears that you’re making more direct eye contact.

Whether your next interview is in person or virtually, give yourself plenty of time to prepare and focus on the conversation. Practice open body language and making “eye contact” with the web cam or with a person. Despite the crazy job market, both employers and candidates are taking the time to find the right fit, not only for the position, but for the team and company culture.

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