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Somewhere in the back of your mind are the good manners which your mother tried to instill in you during your youth, but for some reason as you prepare for the interview for your dream job, they allude you. Good manners and common courty make a huge impact in today's casual environment. Utilize these tips for success during your interview.

Turn off your cell phone - no matter how many times I've heard this advice given, you would be amazed at how many people still have their cell phone on during the interview! Unless you are a doctor on an emergency pager, I do not see any reason why you need your phone for a few hours. Leave it in the car. There is nothing more disruptive then a vibrating briefcase or chirping ring during an interview. It's just not polite.

Stand up when the interviewer enters the room and offer your hand to shake - Many interviewers simply sit in the seat to which they were directed without getting up when the next interviewer enters the room. The respectful thing to do is to stand up and offer your hand to shake. It is also polite to stand and shake the person's hand when the interview is over if you are staying in the same room for the next person. Do not be lazy - get up and show respect!

Do not interrupt your interviewer - sometimes you get a chatty interviewer who likes to talk more than conduct the actual interview questions. Let them talk. Look them in the eye, smile and nod your head in acknowledgment. If the opportunity presents itself, engage with what they are telling you and gently bring the conversation back to your background. You may say something like "wow, that sounds very challenging! It reminds me of when I had a similar challenge at XYZ company ..." If you do, do not interrupt them to get your point across.

Use the person's name - If you did not get an interview list or catch the person's name during the introduction, it's perfectly fine to say "I'm sorry, I did not catch your name ..." and be prepared to write it down. Not remembering the name and asking one time is fine, but any more than that is a faux paux. Write the name down and then consult it once in a while during the interview. Say their name as often as you can without seeming cheesy. And at the end of the interview, be sure to thank them by name. "Thank you, Bob, for your time and insight today. To remember and use the person's name is both flattering and polite.

Additionally, these common manners always apply, but are especially important during the interview:

  • If you cough or sneeze, say "excuse me"
  • Use "please" and "thank you" appropriately
  • It's fine for either gender to hold the door for the other, but do not make it a contest. If they hold the door for you, say "thank you" and if you hold the door for them to which you're thanked, say "you're welcome".
  • Do not pass gas, pick your nose, teeth or ears or tap your pen or foot incessantly
  • Look at your interviewer, but do not give them the once over. Keep your face pleasant but neutral - in other words, no ogling
  • Sit up straight and tall in your seat and look interested in the other party - show them you are happy to be there!
By utilizing basic good manners, you will give the interviewer the impression that you are thoughtful, courteous and easy to work with. It's an important aspect of performing a successful interview.