Interview etiquette: the dos and don’ts

Posted 03.03.14 by prhcareers

So you’ve got the perfect CV and a covering letter good enough to sell meat to a vegetarian. The next step to securing that dream job is the interview.

While it might be nerve-shredding for many, the interview is a two-way thing. It’s a chance for both sides to see if they’re a good fit for one another. We’re committed to doing our best to make the experience as positive and comfortable for you as we possibly can. In return, we want you to do the same. It’s not simply a case of having the best answers to our questions. Never underestimate the power of the interview etiquette. Here’s our guide on making a good impression:

The Phone Call – The likelihood is, we’ll call you if you’re selected for interview. We’re pretty excited about all our roles and we want you to be too! If you’ve applied for lots of roles, make sure you keep track of all your applications, so that when we call you, you’re not caught off guard.
The Outfit – At Penguin Random House, we’re a pretty relaxed bunch but we do like it when people make an effort for us. Smart casual is the dress code, so no scruffy jeans or trainers please at interview. Keep strong perfume and make-up to a minimum and try to avoid jewellery that jangles. It may look great, but it may distract both you and us when you’re in the interview.
The Reception –Arrive on time, a little early if you like and above all, be nice to the receptionist. Yes, we do talk to them.
The Handshake – Firm but not bone-crushing, please!
The Journey to the Interview Room – This can be a good chance to warm up a bit before the interview and establish a rapport with your interviewer before you get to the room – we want you to feel at ease so you can give your best performance during your interview. While the conversation may be informal, do also remember that you are trying to make a good impression in a professional environment, so keep the talk about wild hen/stag weekends to a minimum!
The Interview – This could be a whole blog post of its own and we’ll go into more detail at a later date, but here are the basics of interview room etiquette:
1. Really listen to the question. There’s a tendency to want to get all your great experience out – don’t worry, we’ll give you plenty of opportunity for this, so keep your answers detailed, but concise and make sure you’ve really covered what we’re asking.
2. Keep calm – we don’t mind if you say you’re nervous and we want this experience to be as comfortable as possible. Remember this is just as much a chance for you to find out if this is the company for you as it is for us to find out if you’re the right person for the job!
3. Prepare some interesting questions – we’ll cover some good examples at a later date but it’s always good to have 3 or 4 questions prepared – it shows you’re engaged with and interested in the role.

That’s all for now, but come back next month when we tackle those hard to answer questions!

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