Interview Etiquette

1. Timing is Everything

Don’t be late. This may seem like it goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many candidates still show up late to interviews. Give yourself a good hour before the interview to relax and regroup. If you are, for unforeseen circumstances, running late, it’s very important that you phone ahead to let them know and apologize to your interviewer. Try to collect yourself before entering the interview. Looking flustered and confused is not going to help your image. Getting lost is one of the most common causes of being late to an interview. It’s always best to look at your route ahead of time on Google maps (or other apps) and give yourself extra time in case you can’t find the business location.

Don’t be too early. Another huge pet-peeve of many interviewers is extreme earliness. Remember, chances are that your interviewer will have other tasks to complete and even need some time to prepare themselves before the interview, and could possibly be using that time in another interview as well. Especially today with Covid protocols there may not be room for you to come inside and wait. If you’re sat waiting, it could leave the interviewer feeling pressured, rushed, and even irritated.

If you accept a position elsewhere prior to the interview or decide for any reason that you do not want to go through with the interview, please be courteous enough to cancel the interview with as much advanced notice as possible. Not showing up for your interview or cancelling only a few minutes before can be detrimental to your reputation in your field of work.

2. Dress for the interview

These days, most businesses don’t promote strict uniform policies and corporate wear has relaxed considerably, but unfortunately, you’re still going to have to dress up for your interview!

Make sure you dress appropriately for the position you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying for a labourer position in a construction field, you probably don’t need to show up wearing a suit and tie.

But whatever the industry of job you are applying for, you need prove that you’re willing to put in some effort to win them over.

Another tip we have is to avoid the strong, stinky-smelling cologne or perfume. Many people nowadays have scent allergies and spraying large amounts of body spray on you before an interview can be very distracting and may not leave a good impression. Just make sure you are clean, and dressed nicely and that will do the job.

3. Turn Your Phone Off

Another pretty obvious fundamental of interview etiquette, but you’d be surprised how many candidates ignore it. Of course, accidents do happen and if your phone does ring, don’t ignore it and hope for the best (even if it’s on vibrate!) Genuinely apologize and immediately turn it off.

4. Body Language

One of the most off-putting interview blunders is bad body language.

Your interviewer doesn’t really have that much to go on when they make their final decision. Chances are that they’ll only get to meet you once or twice before hiring and that means that during the interview they’ll be scrutinizing your every move.

  • Sit up straight and look genuinely interested.
  • Keep good eye contact.
  • Don’t slouch.
  • Don’t lean forward, towards the interviewer.
  • Don’t cross your arms.
  • Don’t stare for too long.
  • Don’t fidget or keep looking around the room.

Your body language will betray some of your feelings in the interview, so if you can take control of your body, it could go a long way towards acing the interview.

5. Always Be Prepared

A common interview question you will likely encounter is “What do you know about the company?” or “What do you expect your duties will be in this position, and what your typical day would look like?”

Prior to your interview you should (in most cases) research the company and the position you are applying for. Take notes, learn it and reference this in your interview. This includes any questions you’d like to ask them.

There is nothing worse than forgetting the company name, or roles and responsibilities of the position you are applying for in the interview process. This is a rookie error and it really does make you look unprepared and indifferent.

You’ll be amazed how well your interviewer will respond to a display of even the most basic knowledge about the company and the position. It shows that you care enough to go the extra mile, are committed to the job role and that you’re not wasting the interviewer’s time.

6. Don’t Over-share

There’s a very fine line between bonding with your interviewer and over-sharing.

It’s important to be open and friendly as they’ll be assessing how you’d fit into the team, but only share relevant parts of your life with them.

  • Never complain about previous employers, colleagues or jobs.
  • Never discuss personal topics like relationship issues, family problems or addictions.
  • Do not discuss anything not relevant to the interview or position you are applying for

Hiring managers want professionals that are friendly, will fit in and won’t rock the boat; they really won’t want employees who are full of drama and could become flaky and unreliable.

Make sure you answer the questions to the best of your ability without talking too much, and make sure not to interrupt the interviewer.


At the end of the interview, be sure to thank the interviewer for their time. Pre-covid I would tell you to shake their hand – but those times are gone (for now)

As you can see, the simple rules for appropriate interview etiquette are fairly common sense, but you’d be amazed how many candidates fail to follow these guidelines.

So before every interview, go through these simple, but effective guidelines. They’ll help you to shine and show your best self to the interviewer.

Good luck on your next interview!

Written By: Breanne Turner
Operations Supervisor
Direct Traffic Ltd.
1535 Frederick Street
Brandon, MB, R7A 6Z6

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