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The Golden Rules of Interviewer Etiquette

Being a good interviewer is a lot like being a good party hostess. We took a nod from Miss Manners and came up with our own suggestions for interviewer etiquette:

1. Set a specific start and end time for the interview
. Put candidates at ease by setting expectations about the length of the interview. You can communicate this information when scheduling the interview, as well as reiterate the anticipated timing at the start of the interview. This courtesy is especially helpful to candidates who are taking time off from their current job to participate in an interview.

2. Offer a beverage, but leave yours behind
. Make sure that whoever greets the candidate offers him/her a beverage. Some organizations keep a special supply of beverages for guests. However, leave your own half-drunk Diet Coke can or coffee mug behind. Nothing says unprofessional like having a lipstick-stained latte cup on the interview table.

3. Show the candidate the essentials. Before the interview starts, point out the location of the rest rooms, as well as a place to hang up coats or stash umbrellas, if needed. If you expect to have a break during the course of the interview, show the candidate where they can get some air, make a phone call, or attend to any other needs.

4. Clean up your act.
Interview spaces should be neat and tidy. Clear papers off of the interview table, erase white boards, and make sure that the room is generally clean. If the interview will take place in individuals’ offices, check to make sure they straighten up and keep any materials that are not related to the interview out of sight.

5. Practice the art of introductions.
The basis for making good introductions is decorum and respect. A common rule of thumb amongst business associates is to introduce the person you don’t know as well to the person you know better, and then provide a bit of context. For example, when introducing the candidate, Jane Doe, to your colleague, Joe Blow, say, “Jane, I’d like you to meet our Director of Development, Joe Blow. Joe oversees all of our fundraising and corporate relations efforts.”

Follow these simple rules and you will master interviewer etiquette! Now about your table manners…we’ll save that for another blog.

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