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Manners Still Matter – 7 Tips for IT Job Interviews

interview manners do's and don'ts

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Do manners still matter in the fast-paced, informal world of technology? The short answer is yes, especially during job interviews.

In today’s business environment, efficiency often takes priority over dress codes and formal meetings. Business communications that used to be strictly formatted and written in perfect English have been replaced with text and email messages that cut straight to the point. However, people still appreciate being treated with respect.  When talking with recruiters or employers about your next IT position, it’s important to remember that interview manners still matter.

Whether or not you accept an offer from the company, your personal interactions will be remembered.  Here are 6 tips on etiquette during the recruiting and interviewing process.

  1. Put away your cell phone before meeting someone in person, whether it’s a recruiter or a hiring manager. When you arrive at the office where the interview will take place, be courteous and friendly to the receptionist or security officer who checks you in and sit at attention in the waiting area (without your phone). Smile and shake hands with the person who escorts you into the building. Be aware that many hiring managers ask everyone who has had contact with a candidate for their impressions.
  2. Dress conservatively for in-person and virtual interviews, even if the company’s normal dress code is casual. This is a sign of respect and shows that you take your career seriously. No need to overdo it; alignment is better than showmanship. If you’re in a business casual environment, wearing a collared shirt and slacks is appropriate. Flashy jewelry, a diamond-studded watch or other “statement making” attire is inappropriate. Find out more about what to wear by reading our blog on dress codes.
  3. Make eye contact, smile and give the person you’re meeting with a firm handshake. Regardless of whether you end up working with this person or not, make sure they will remember you as friendly, confident and professional.
  4. Don’t apply directly for a position if a recruiter has already submitted you as a candidate, and don’t work with a recruiter if you’ve already applied for the same position directly. This may disqualify you from being considered for the job.
  5. Always thank the recruiter or interviewer for taking time out of their day to call or meet with you. If you are interested in the position, follow-up with an email or hand-written note. Take this opportunity to state why you believe your experience uniquely qualifies you for the position. Tie past experiences and skills to the opening.
  6. Be honest. If you feel the opportunity being presented is not a good fit or you have accepted another position, say so. Don’t hide from one firm while waiting for a better offer – just tell them your situation and find out the deadline for giving them an answer. I’ve seen good offers evaporate when candidates went dark, holding out for another offer that didn’t materialize. Turn down a formal offer as soon as possible, so the firm can extend an offer to another candidate. People appreciate frank, timely feedback and will be more likely to call you in the future or recommend you for another position.
  7. Don’t forget the thank-you note. Thanking someone for their time is a great way to be remembered as a true professional, and it gives you an advantage over other candidates. A handwritten note is great, but an email is just as acceptable.

Here’s the bottom line: Even in the world of remote work, manners will always be important in business. Interview manners still matter in the fast-past, casual world of business we’re now in. You would be surprised how interconnected the business community is. You never know when you will need help in your career, so strive to establish positive relationships within the business community. Good luck!