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Etiquette 101: The Job Search Part II

Filed Under > Life Skills

Months and months ago I left you high and dry.  I promised a series on job search etiquette and only delivered one out of three parts.  Well I’m finally getting around to making good on my promise (better late than never) and today we’re talking part two…the interview.  An interview is a delicate balance of informality and formality, confidence without being cocky, and sharing but not over-sharing.  Per usual we’re leaning on Ms. Emily Post to help navigate, so without further ado let’s chat.

Interview Behavior…

Be on time.  This should be a no brainer, but sadly it’s not.  Get to the building or wherever the interview is being held at least 10-15 minutes early and take into account traffic and unanticipated problems.  You don’t want to arrive in the actual place of the interview more then 15 minutes early so if you do arrive with time to kill hang out at the coffee shop or somewhere nearby.  Be cordial to the receptionist and anyone else you speak to , but not overly friendly.  You never know ho much influence is wielded by someone you may have chatted with briefly.

Looks do count.  Clothes are key to a first impression.  They’re a gauge of your understanding of larger issues such as appropriateness and respect.  Tailor your outfit to the expectations of the company.  Is the company more conservative, or more casual.  However when in doubt always dress on the more conservative side.  Ms. Post suggests checking the company’s website for information on it’s dress code or call the human resources department to ask about dress standards.  “I’m coming in for an interview next week.  What is your company’s dress code?”  Also…

  • Keep your dress understated and not provocative in the least bit.
  • Be sparing with jewelry and scents.
  • Groom.  Get a manicure, cut your hair, etc.
  • Piercings and tattoos, think long and hard what first impression they will give.  In the world of job searches unfortunately the only person that matters is the one giving the interview.

Be prepared.  Do your research by studying the company’s website and if you can your interviewers profile both on the website and places like Linked In.  And always practice your answers to regularly asked questions such as “What’s your greatest strength?” and “What relevant experience have you had?” and “What are your weaknesses?”  Speaking of questions, if an interviewer ever asks an inappropriate or unlawful question such as your age, national origins, marital status, religion, or sexual preference simply answer “Sorry, but I’m uncomfortable with that question.” and then really think if this is a place you want to work at.

Demonstrate your people skills.  Make sure to greet your potential boss warmly and kindly.  Stand, smile, look him/her in the eye, and extend your hand in greeting.  Please, please, please make sure you give a firm handshake.  Nothing is worse than a tiny little limp handshake or on the flip side one that almost breaks the bones in your hand.  Also throughout the interview keep smiling.  Not constantly but enough to show that you’re enjoying your time.  And lastly, show some restraint.  Always appear confident and answer questions clearly, but be careful not to come across as a know it all or someone who’s condescending.  Per Ms. Post avoid starting out with, “Everyone know that…” or “it’s clear that…” or “Surely you can see that my qualifications prove that…”

A few other Do’s and Don’ts…

  • Do ask questions.  Good questions include details about job responsibilities, the company’s strengths, and the job’s biggest challenges.
  • Don’t do anything distracting such as chewing your gum or popping your knuckles.
  • Do sit up straight and have good posture, be engaged and interested with who you’re talking to.
  • Don’t criticize your former employees or co-workers.  It’s unprofessional and simply makes you look like s discontent, negative person.
  • Do turn off your cell phone or any other device you’ve got on you.

So that’s what we’re working with for part two, the interview.  Next week (and I promise it will be next week) we’re talking what happens after the interview and some workplace etiquette for your first day assuming you follow all of the above and nail your interview.  Happy Tuesday Loves!  Oh, and I’ve already shared them, but since I feel they relate read this Forbes article, and watch Ashton Kutcher make a shockingly relevant speech at the Teen Choice Awards about working hard and forging your path.  truly, MKR.

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