There are various things to consider in arriving for an interview. How should I dress? Should I introduce myself first or allow the interviewer to do so? Firm handshake or relaxed? Address them by their first name or sir/madam?
Unfortunately, there are no cookie cutter answers to those questions. Let’s start with appropriate attire. This rudimentary expectation seems to be a lost art with Millennials. No longer do companies expect individuals to dress professionally for interviews. This neglect has brought about some ambiguity on proper business attire. That being said, I would not recommend anything less than a long sleeve collar shirt and slacks. Anything less is disrespectful in any business occasion. Have a good understanding of the position you are applying for and come respectfully dressed to attain that position. If you are applying for a warehouse position, a suit and tie is probably not necessary. You can overdress. Wearing a three piece suit to apply for a seasonal ski lift operator is a little much. It may leave the interviewer questioning if you arrived for the right interview. It signals misunderstanding and overqualified although that may not necessarily be the case. Research the profession or position you are applying for and use that to determine your attire for the interview. Remember, nothing less than a collar shirt and slacks.
Allow the interviewer to introduce themselves first. It’s polite and your fate lies in their hands. It will also allow you to pay attention to their name. Letting the other person state their name first allows you to concentrate and make a conscious effort to memorize it. As I stated in my earlier blog, addressing the person by their name will be of significant importance. Addressing someone by their first name is a catalyst for building a personal connection. It eases the tension and allows conversation to flow. Also, continue to address them by their first name so it becomes ingrained and instinctive. It will be easier to recall when you follow up. Sir or madam is too cold and formal in today’s work environment.
Lastly, the handshake. The goal is not to deform the hand of the person that may provide you with an opportunity to work. Not too firm and not too soft, enough to have presence but not enough to inflict pain. It is important to make eye contact showing your attentiveness. Take the initiative to shake hands again when the interview is over as a show of respect and thanks to the interviewer. It goes a long ways.
These etiquette tips may seem elementary but they are so often mishandled. Pay attention to the small details and the more prominent items will take care of themselves. Be proper, polite, and personable to create the presence that every company desires to have.