GNcareers, from Gulf News

The little details that matter in any interview

Showing respect for an employer during a job interview takes different forms. It is also one factor that probably will make a difference in the eventual decision to hire you or not. From the moment you make the first contact until you land the job and beyond, it is important to show respect in words and deeds.

That goes beyond just being polite and showing up on time. You must demonstrate appreciation for being in the interviewing process by paying close attention to the job-ad requirements as well as any of the employer’s requests.

You also should be as responsive as possible at all times. With much of today’s communication being done via email, carefully written replies will reflect your timeliness and interest in getting the job.

So, next time you are interviewing for a job, keep the following points in mind to show the employer your appreciation and respect.

Application rules

Nothing frustrates employers more than a job candidate who seems to ignore or overlook clear job-application requirements. If a hiring manager specifies that phone calls are not welcome, don’t call. If the preferred format for a resume is Word, get your resume in this format.

If a covering letter is requested, write one. In short, don’t expect a sloppy job application email with missing items to get the employer’s attention and make a good impression.

Similarly, keep track after the first interview or any communication to anything that the employer says about the next steps. If the employer specifies a particular date to get back to you, don’t call every other day to ask for update.

Sending a ‘thank you’ note may be a nice gesture, but emailing frequently is a sign of disrespect of the recipient’s time.

Interview etiquette

Showing respect in an in-person interview includes how you handle yourself as well as the body language, maintaining eye contact, the shaking of hands, etc. It also includes making sure to direct the answers to the person who poses a question, while not overlooking others who are in the room.

It is important to take the questions seriously, even when there is an opportunity to make a light, fun remark. In fact, the less humour, the better. You never know when a joke rubs someone the wrong way.

Arriving on time is the biggest single detail that shows respect in any meeting or interview. It proves what you claim about punctuality, and that you respect the hiring manager’s time. It is even better if you show up about 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled time.

Getting in too early (30 minutes or so), however, can be annoying for a busy hiring manager who may feel pressured to start an interview sooner than planned.

Follow ups and communication

The way you handle your follow ups and communication after the interview gives the employer a glimpse at your personality, how you will handle business communication and your overall demeanour. So make sure to take time and focus on getting the emails as precise as possible.

Avoid rushing to write an email on your phone that may be full of typos or incomplete. Read what you write in full before you hit ‘Send’ and make sure the tone is appropriate and includes all the necessary formalities.

Your follow ups should always be timely — and within 24 hours from the event. Remember if you send an email on the day of the interview or the next morning, that will be taken as a nice gesture that proves interest. If you send it a week later and plug in a request for updates, that can be seen as an inpatient request and a form of nagging.

In addition, maintaining a line of communication with the hiring manager after the interview makes you more accessible. So if questions or concerns come up, this person is more likely to approach you for clarification. All of this places you in a much better position to win the job that you want.


Show respect

Be responsive to emails and requests.

Show up on time.

Review your written emails.

Don’t call or send too many emails.

Be courteous in interviews

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor