Make a good impression in a job interview and don’t forget about etiquette

Published on LinkedIn by Jana Kavcic, Career Adviser​ / Project Manager at Univerza v Mariboru

Make a good impression in a job interview and don’t forget about etiquette

In your CV and letter of motivation, you managed to present your knowledge, competencies, experience and characteristics in a way that convinced the employer you could be the right candidate for filling the relevant post. You have been invited to the job interview. What now?

In the job interview, you will establish personal contact with the employer for the first time. After a few seconds of your meeting, the employer will already have a first impression about you. A large part in creating the first impression play your body language, facial expressions, clothing, personal grooming and tone of voice. Do not forget to consider this when preparing for the job interview. If you create a bad first impression in the job interview, you can hardly correct it later. Often the success of the job interview depends on the first impression that you leave with the employer.

It is recommended that you consider a few quick tips for creating a good first impression in a job interview.

  • Be well prepared. Thoroughly review the job ad and the web page of the employer one more time where you can get a lot of important information on the organisation, its objectives, values and working methods. If you attend the job interview in a foreign country, consider also the cultural specifics and etiquette rules in this country, since these can differ from rules you are familiar with. Think about how you will present yourself, what questions to expect and consider possible answers. Prepare questions that you would like to ask your potential employer. Arrange a career counselling where a career counsellor can carry out a job interview simulation.
  • Be well rested.
  • Ensure a neat personal appearance and personal hygiene. Men and women should have neat nails, freshly washed and styled hair; men should have a shaved and neat beard. Women should wear natural make-up, perfume and jewellery should be worn discreetly.
  • Choose appropriate clothing. Learn about the culture of dressing in the organisation in which you will attend the job interview and choose your clothes accordingly. Make sure that your clothes are clean and ironed. You should feel good in them. It is good to stick to classics and standard business world colours (grey, (dark) blue, black). Wear a garment of appropriate length or a suit and no open-toed shoes. Choose classic shoes and ensure they are polished.
  • Be punctual. Leave your home on time, because running late for a job interview is inexcusable. Being late is often considered as disrespectful. Calculate how much time you need to arrive and consider possible traffic jams. Arrive early enough to calm down before the interview, freshen up and find the room. If you are late due to unforeseeable circumstances, inform the relevant person in good time, if possible. It is also not recommended to arrive very early. The employer has set a particular time with a reason; the rest of his/her working time is allocated for other activities.
  • If the company where the interview will be carried out has a reception, introduce yourself to the receptionist and tell him/her with whom you have an appointment. The receptionist can guide you to the room you are looking for. Knock and wait to be invited to enter the room where the job interview will take place.
  • Shaking hands. The one with the higher position in social ranking offers the hand first – superior to the subordinate, older person to someone younger and woman to man. Therefore, in the interview the employer is the first to offer his/her hand. We shake the hand firmly, embrace it with the thumb and forefinger and then let go.
  • Introducing yourself. Introductions follow the rule: subordinate to the superior, strangers to acquaintances, younger people to older ones, etc. We introduce ourselves to the potential employer confidently, clearly and distinctively.
  • Facial expressions. Have a friendly facial expression, be natural, relaxed and look the person you are talking to in the eyes. When talking, do not touch your hair or jewellery, because you may look insecure and uncomfortable.
  • Be relaxed, polite and respectful to all persons you meet.
  • Express your gratitude. After the job interview, send a thank you note to the employer, showing additional commitment and desire to fill the vacant job post.

We wish you a successful job interview!

For an easier preparation for the job interview, you can watch the following videos:


  • Benedetti, Ksenija (2009): Protokol, simfonija forme. Ljubljana: Planet GV.
  • Grintal, Barbara (2013): Poslovni bonton: od A do Ž. Maribor: Poslovna založba MB.
  • Košnik, Bojana (2011): 24 ur poslovnega bontona. Ljubljana: Bonton, d.o.o.
  • Pisani, Lea (2016): Ravni oblačenja = Dress code. Ljubljana: Lea Pisani, s.p.

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