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Minding Your Manners when Job Seeking

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Woman shaking her interviewer's hand and smiling

In our time-crunched world, manners often take a back seat in many of our daily interactions but don’t let it happen when it comes to looking for a job. Employers and recruiters notice etiquette, so leaving your manners (and your common sense) at home can hurt you. The good news is being considerate and polite can give you an edge over the competition. Additionally, it might open doors to better jobs and will gain you respect in the workplace.

Research, Research, Research

To show you’re a true professional and you’re well versed in job etiquette, you must be prepared before an interview. One of the first and most important things to do is research the organization. That could mean using the Internet to find out what you can about the company. It doesn’t hurt to contact the company’s human resources or public relations office for specific information as well. Many organizations have ready-made info packets to mail to interested job candidates. Also, the local chamber of commerce can point you to more information on the company.

The reason behind all the research is to be prepared for the interview question: “Why are you interested in working here?”

Know Where to Go

The next important step in showing your manners is to know exactly where the organization is located before the interview as well as how long it takes to get there, which will prevent a late arrival (a major job seeking no-no). So if you plan on driving to the interview, perform a trial run first. Knowing the physical location will also help you determine if you need any accommodations to get to the interview site.

Less is More

As far as your appearance is concerned, interview time is not the time to get a completely new look. If you despise your new haircut or color, it might affect your confidence in the interview and your manners. But it’s fine to freshen up your look with a comfortable, professional outfit. Keep it simple. Your hair and nails should be clean and neat. Also, avoid heavy cologne or aftershave as many organizations have gone completely fragrance-free.

When it’s time for the interview, always arrive 10 to 15 minutes early with resume and references in hand. Greet everyone you meet with a smile and a friendly salutation.

Be mindful to expect the unexpected. You may interview with one person or several people. A tour may be on the agenda or perhaps lunch. Whatever transpires, make sure you are mentally ready handle it and show your enthusiasm.

Giving Thanks

Finally, make your final word a professional one. Be sure to pick up business cards from your interviewers for proper spelling of names and titles. Then, send thank you notes on neutral-colored cards within a few days of the interview. If you don’t get a response right away, be patient and follow up, if invited to do so.

However, if you don’t get the position, stay positive because another job could open in the future and the interviewer will likely remember you…and your manners.