Job Interview Etiquette (Part 2): What to Say?

When you walk into a job interview, you have to talk the talk. Learn the proper things to say at a job interview with these 3 easy tips.

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #164

I’m not saying to walk in and boast your qualifications or brag about your awards - that can sometimes come off as conceited and very unmannerly.  However, when done properly, showing your boss that you are the most capable and reliable candidate is like hitting a grand slam homerun.

Say you’re going in for surgery and the doctor says, “Yeah…I’m an okay doctor, I suppose.” You’d grab your drafty hospital gown, and leave right away, wouldn’t you? Same thing goes for a job interview.  The boss asks: “Why should I hire you?” Your response: “Without a doubt, I am the most qualified person you will interview because of X, Y, and Z. All I need now is for you to allow me to prove it.” Your response needs to be tailored to the exact position. So research it beforehand, knowing they’ll ask you this, and make sure to have your answer, with specific examples, ready to go.

Tip #2 - Ask Questions

If you were on a date and only one person asked the questions, it would seem very odd and uncomfortable, right? So, when the boss asks you, “Do you have any questions for me?” and you say, “No… don’t think so…” it shows a complete lack of respect for, and interest in, the company, in which case I wouldn’t expect a call back. The most mannerly thing to do (in any conversation) is to engage the other person. Don’t make it a one-sided meeting -- make it a conversation.

Questions do not have to come at the end of the interview either, ask in the middle too. Also, don’t always focus on just the “office” topics – see what else you can bring up by taking note of the interviewer’s interests. As in a real life situation, it’s only polite to inquire about someone else when meeting them for the first time. Looking at photos in the office is a great way to find an appropriate topic: “I see you like golf. Earlier this year, I went to XYZ Course for the first time, and it was great.”  This will take the edge off the conversation and you’d be surprised how well it can go from there. Then, at the end, when they ask if you have any more questions, try something like, “How many people will I be working with directly?” or “You said there is travel involved – which I love. How often are the trips and to where?” or “Do people in the office usually telecommute?” Anything to show interest and that you are not just there to be handed a job, shows great office etiquette.

Tip #3 - Be Memorable

When you go for a job interview, you are, of course, wishing that you get the job. But others are wishing just as hard – and may be just as qualified. So your goal is to stand out from this crowd of wishers.  I’m not saying you should give them an antique paperweight with the company logo that you had engraved in advance. That would be creepy. But proper job interview etiquette is like proper dinner party etiquette – if you show up and contribute nothing, you may not be invited back.

This takeaway could be anything from your unique résumé in a folder with your name on top or something that you talked about that they will remember.  I’d even go as far as to bring up something they may be interested in before you head out like, “I just read a great article in Golf World about these new titanium clubs. I’ll email it to you.” This shows attention to something they enjoy and will definitely be memorable. Also, ask for one of their business cards and tell them you hope to hear from them soon. Then head out and don’t dawdle.

Do you have a great story about how you handled the talking points for a job interview? Post all the details in Comments below.  As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Check out my Modern Manners Guy Facebook page, follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Richie Frieman
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