View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Souise Elerding: Interviewing with an upper edge

You've got manners

Posted: June 10, 2010 10:55 p.m.
Updated: June 11, 2010 4:55 a.m.

You've made it to the interview segment. Statistics show that as much as 86 percent of an interview is the nonverbal messages sent to the interviewer by the interviewee. The slogan ‘7-11' weighs a lot here: in seven seconds, people will have made 11 judgments about you. It's critical to telegraph your positive attributes, in a short time period, to make the best impression.

Company owners and staff who hire and fire continually complain today that a high number of the people who come looking for jobs are completely unprepared and lack professional polish.

Interviewers are looking for a good work ethic, skills and ‘something extra.' Too many candidates fall short in one or all three areas.

To keep your upper edge during the interview process, think of it as an opportunity - not an interrogation. Review these helpful tips.

Thou shall not steal:
Being late for an interview is stealing a precious commodity from the people waiting for you. They don't look upon it favorably. Punctuality is imperative. Be polite and be on time. For your own benefit, arriving a little early, finding your way through the parking structure and locating the assigned company offices can help de-stress your mind and add self-confidence.

Mirror on the wall:
Use a full-length mirror, it says so much, such as it's good manners to be well-groomed. Clean hair, skin and breath are imperative. Be aware of overpowering fragrances. Hands are used in many communicative ways, so pay attention to detail with clean, manicured hands and nails.

Dressing for two:
When selecting your interview wardrobe, dress for the authentic you first, ensuring your clothes best represent who you are. Secondly, show respect to the people you will be engaging by dressing to mirror the culture or branding of their company.

Call ahead and ask if the company has a dress code. Studies show that 73 percent of interviewers are turned off by unusual hair color, 82 percent are turned off by nontraditional attire and 60 percent object to obvious tattoos. Your appearance could be interpreted as a reflection of your work.

Fatal distractions:
To maintain a professional focus, keep accessories to a minimum so interviewers hear what you have to say and are not distracted by noisy earrings or bracelets, dramatic makeup, tight or revealing clothing or wild hairstyles. Polish your shoes and carry a scratch-free briefcase or handbag.

The perfect touch: Your handshake is an important signal ­- offer a firm handshake to the interviewer when you arrive to show confidence. Avoid the knuckle breaker or the limp fish handshake. It is not necessary to shake hands with a large panel of people. Wait before you sit: Often there is a strategy as to where each person in the meeting will be sitting. Be aware that your place may be pre-chosen for you this time. Be cordial in accepting that seat.

Quality speaks volumes: Bring a quality pen to the meeting, along with a leather folder or neat notebook.

Them and me: Learn as much as you can about the company you'll interview with. Do your homework.
Check the company website for its purpose and function. Know the size of the business, any political positions, social stances and its reputation in general. Determine if you will feel comfortable in this working environment and where you see yourself fitting in with this company.

Prior to the interview, make sure you know how to correctly pronounce the name of the company. And as much as possible, learn about the people you will be meeting.

When it comes to information about you, be prepared to share your work history, job skills and positive achievements. Demonstrate who you are as a person, as well as highlight what you can bring to this company.

In the final analysis, to gain the upper edge as you sit across the desk from your interviewer, display good manners, be considerate in your dialogue and show respect to the company by knowing as much about them as you can. Be relaxed, have good eye contact at all times throughout your interaction, and respond with enthusiam. You'll win.

Always follow up with a nice note, thanking the interviewers for their time and your opportunity to meet with them. It's a classy move that will long be remembered.

Louise Elerding is a manners, etiquette, and personal appearance coach and the author of "You've Got Manners!," an illustrated series of children's books.

For information on table manners classes held at the Salt Creek Grille in Valencia and to submit questions for the "You've Got Manners" column, call (800) 326-8953 or email Website:


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...