Many candidates compare job interviews to blind dates. After all, they’re meeting a new person for the first time, trying to make a good impression, and hoping that meeting will positively impact their future.

This analogy also fits the hiring professionals on the other side of the table—except that we’re typically the ones who walk away with horror stories about the interview. That’s because candidates often come across as unprepared, uninterested, or outright rude when they make mistakes like these:

Before the interview

Some candidates show up late because they didn’t know where to park. They have a limp handshake. They wear clothes that look like they were wadded up on the floor for a week. These things all give the impression that they don’t care about our time or their appearance—which makes us think they won’t care about the job, either.

During the interview

Then there are people who seem well put-together, until they start talking. We’ve heard it all. Some people are so nervous they whisper their answers and make no eye contact. Others act cocky to cover up a lack of skill for the job. And just like a blind date’s bad etiquette is a turn off, this poor behavior ruins a candidate’s chances of getting the job.

After the interview

Some candidates become clingy after the interview, sending multiple emails or calling us daily. Others try to pique our interest by acting like they don’t care if they get the job. (Newsflash: that makes us think the person who pretends not to care actually doesn’t care.) All we want is a candidate who sends a simple follow-up note, then lets us make the hiring decision.

All of that to say, candidates need to learn proper interview etiquette to prevent these mistakes. These 21 practical tips for a successful interview will help them gain the tools to land the job. Reading up on these tips will also help hiring professionals; when we know what candidates should be doing, we’re much better equipped to spot the good candidates as soon as they walk in.

 

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