Before the interview
When you first enter the building where your job interview will take place, you may need to check in with reception. Step forward and introduce yourself with your full name, interview time and job title of the role you’re interviewing for. This can be quick and simple, such as,

“Hi, my name is Max Taylor. I’m here for a 12 p.m. job interview for the program manager role.”

Once you’ve checked in, you may be asked to wait while the recruiter or another HR representative comes to meet you. It’s good etiquette to avoid taking out your phone to pass the time while you wait. If you’re seated, place your arms on the armrests or in your lap. Your feet can rest on the floor or cross at the ankles.

When someone arrives to greet you, stand to meet them and follow these steps when introducing yourself:

Smile and give them a firm handshake, but don’t grip their hand too strongly.
Introduce yourself with your full name in a confident voice.
When they introduce themselves, respond with, “It’s nice to meet you…” and then repeat their name out loud—you’ll be more likely to remember it if you repeat it back to them when you first hear it.
If you’ve spoken to this person by phone or email prior to your job interview, you can say something like,

It’s nice to meet you in person.”

When you’re talking, smile and look them in the eyes. From here, this person may give you a quick tour or show you directly to the interview room. If this person is just guiding you to the room rather than interviewing you, be sure to thank them before they leave.

During the interview
Typically you’ll be seated in a room to wait until your interviewer comes to meet you. You may want to use this time to get out your pen and paper for notes, take a drink of water and a couple of deep breaths to relax your body. When your interviewer enters the room, greet them confidently by standing up, extending your hand to shake theirs, stating your name and smiling.

It’s likely that your interviewer knows the role you are applying for and has seen your resume. Still, you should prepare a short statement to make sure you’re they know who you are and what role you’re applying for. Something like,

“It’s great to meet with you to talk about the associate role on your events team.”

Once introductions have been made, you can give them a hard copy of your resume, if they don’t already have one. You will likely exchange a few pleasantries and get into the interview questions—especially if they’ve got a busy day. If they begin the conversation, let them take the lead.

If there’s a bit of silence, don’t be afraid to lead with your own elevator pitch that quickly summarizes your professional background and interest in the job. Here’s an example that someone applying for a Graphic Design position might use:

One common interview question you may be asked early on is, “Tell me about yourself.” Having an internal outline (or written, if helpful—but avoid reading it directly to keep things conversational) can help guide your answer. Keep it concise and focused on why your background makes you the best fit for this job opportunity.

Being prepared ahead of time can help calm your nerves, so do some research on the company and, if possible, your interviewers. This will help guide the rest of the conversation, set you up to answer questions intelligently and ask solid, informed questions of your own. Presenting yourself as knowledgeable and confident shows your potential employers that you’re the right choice for the opportunity. Take a look at our Complete Guide to Researching a Company to get started.

It’s appropriate to write down notes as the conversation progresses. You can refer to these notes to ask any questions at the end of the interview and can reference them when you follow-up after the interview to show them you were attentive and valued your time with them.

The interviewer wants to hire someone who is qualified for the role, but also someone who they genuinely want to work with and will be a good culture fit at the company. As you’re answering their questions and preparing to ask your own, remember to be yourself and let your personality show.

Remember to breathe and take the conversation one step at a time. It’s appropriate to pause to collect your thoughts and say, “Let me take a moment to think about that” before beginning to answer—in fact, this can send a positive signal to your interviewer that you are invested in giving them the best possible response.

After the interview
No introduction is complete without a goodbye. After your interview has ended, follow the lead of your interviewer: stand when they stand, shake their hand again and thank them for their time with a smile. You can prepare to say a few phrases that will end the conversation on a positive note, like,

“It was a pleasure meeting you, I appreciate your time today.”
“Thanks for a great conversation, hope you enjoy the rest of your day.”
“It was great to hear more about your role here, I hope to be in touch in the future.”
If you have multiple rounds of interviews, be prepared to stand and greet your next interviewer, repeating the steps above.

After you’ve had some time to process and review your interview notes, remember to send timely follow-up notes to your interviewers, whether that be via email or handwritten. Sometimes recruiters don’t give out interviewer emails, so be sure to ask for their business card or ask the recruiter if they can pass a thank you message to the interviewer. If you’re sending handwritten notes, an easy way to get them to your interviewers is to send to the office address under their name.



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