Communication During Your Job Interview

We communicate by the words we speak and how we say the words we choose. There is more to interviewing than just saying the right things. You should reinforce your verbal message with positive non-verbal communication.

Non-verbal Communication:

  • Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake.
  • Maintain steady eye contact — it shows sincerity and helps establish rapport.
  • Communicate positive facial expressions and speech qualities.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm and interest by good posture and friendly smiles.
  • Dress in conservative business attire (see the suggested dress list).
  • Refrain from squirming or any other unintentional nervous behaviors.

 Verbal Communication:

  • Allow the interviewer to direct your interview and never interrupt.
  • Use clear, concise answers – don't ramble.
  • Don’t use fillers when answering questions, such as “you know,” “uh,” or “like”
  • Don't exaggerate and don’t be negative about any thing in any way.
  • Listen to what is being asked and answer appropriately.
  • Use proper grammar - no slang or dangling participles.
  • Maintain an appropriate sense of humor.
  • Don’t make excuses for yourself or put yourself down.

Interview Etiquette

  • Call two days before the interview to confirm the date, time, location and the name of the interviewer.
  • Ask if there will be any testing or forms to fill out when you arrive.
  • Arrive 10 minutes early to the building (within 5 minutes to the office)
  • Introduce yourself to the staff when you arrive.
  • Don't refer to the interviewer by their first name (unless given permission).
  • Be polite and honest while being careful to not talk more than warranted.
  • Make sure you obtain the correct spelling, address, and phone number of all who interviewed you or ask for business cards.
  • Thank the interviewer for the meeting and continue to convey a positive attitude.

Post Interview

  • Send a thank you note to everyone who interviewed you (mentioning those who helped you at the front desk) within 24 hours. The letter should include thanking the interviewer for the opportunity and their time, a reminder of when and why you met, and confirm that you are highly interested in the job. The note can be sent electronically or in the form of a thank you note card.   If hand written, be sure to use your best penmanship, and check your writing carefully for any errors. Do not cross out mistakes.
  • If you are no longer interested in the position, politely ask to be removed from the candidate pool without burning your bridges.
  • Clarify anything from the interview you think appropriate to ensure effective communication.
  • If appropriate, indicate your interest in a follow-up interview.
  • If time has passed regarding the date in which you were informed that a decision would be made, follow-up with a phone call or e-mail to check on your status. Express your interest in the position, and ask if there is anything you could do to help in the process e.g., do they need you to provide another reference? Hopefully, you will be told the status of the interviewing situation and when you will be notified.

Rejection Letters

Nearly all job seekers will receive rejection letters. If you really want to make an impression, consider sending a thank you note to the employer. This is very rarely done, and it will give you one last opportunity to thank the employer for their professionalism, and you can indicate your continued interest in the organization. Also state your interest in being considered for future opportunities.

Turning Down Offers

If you receive an offer that does not meet your needs or if you have already accepted employment with someone else, send a letter or e-mail  to graciously decline the position, indicating why you made this decision. It is always best to put this in writing even if you gave the employer a verbal decline. This will document your decision, and it may help to maintain communication lines for future contacts, if that becomes necessary.