Excerpted from the United States Career Guide
Companies usually interview jobseekers in person and by telephone. Many companies conduct phone interviews, allowing them to quickly and inexpensively interview a large number of applicants and select the most desirable candidates. Excellent performance in a phone interview can help a jobseeker earn an invitation to a subsequent in-person interview. In-person interviews are typically used to make hiring decisions, and a jobseeker’s performance in such an interview usually determines whether he/she is chosen for the position. Video interviews are a relatively recent innovation that allow an employer to interview a candidate over the Internet by a video conferencing call. Employers may use these interviews to narrow a large list of job applicants and select final-round candidates; some employers may use video interviews to make a final hiring decision.
Punctuality is absolutely essential in the United States, especially for a job interview. It is a good idea for a candidate to arrive ten minutes before the interview and check in with the receptionist, but to not arrive earlier. However, a candidate must be prepared to wait for the interviewer, who often has a very full schedule of interviews.
During an interview, a job candidate should display confidence, optimism and a team-oriented mindset, as most American employers seek positive, upbeat and energetic employees. Making direct eye contact with interviewers while speaking and listening is vital, as it demonstrates respect, attention and truthfulness. Employers may interpret a jobseeker's failure to make eye contact as a sign of disinterest, a lack of confidence or dishonesty.
It is appropriate for jobseekers to claim credit for their professional accomplishments and achievements in the interview. Truthfully communicating ambitions and successes is also acceptable in a job interview, as American employers perceive such statements as demonstrating the jobseeker's self-confidence.
After an interview, it is polite and appropriate to send a short, personal note to the interviewer thanking them for their time and consideration, and reiterating interest in the position. If interviewed by a panel, each interviewer should receive a unique thank-you note. These thank-you notes may be electronic or handwritten, should include details about the topics of conversation in the interview and should be sent within a day or two of the interview. Many job candidates neglect to send thank-you notes. Sending a thank-you note demonstrates diligence and follow-through skills that can distinguish a candidate from other job applicants.
This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete United States Guide.