When you’re searching for a job, your qualifications are only part of the package. Employers are also looking for candidates who are courteous and respectful.
Good manners show an employer that you know how to work as a team, develop relationships with clients, and protect the company’s public reputation. Consider these etiquette tips for networking, interviewing, and other job hunting situations.
Etiquette on Networking
1. Focus on giving. If you feel awkward about asking for help, remember that networking is mutually beneficial. Think about what you can give to your contacts. Even if there’s nothing you can do for them immediately, they may be flattered to know that you value their opinion.
2. Be consistent. Treat others with respect, whether they’re a receptionist or a CEO. Chance encounters could provide valuable leads, so you’ll want to make a favorable impression.
3. Pick up the tab. Assume that you’ll pay the bill when you ask contacts to meet with you. Opt for coffee dates instead of lunch if you’re on a tight budget. Accept graciously if they offer to treat you instead.
4. Alert your references. Let others know if you plan to use them for references. Make the process as easy as possible by giving them your resume or drafting letters they can edit as needed.
5. Shine online. Take a look at your social media profiles and ensure you come across as professional and courteous. Many companies research candidates online, and they could be checking on you before you even apply for a job.
Etiquette on Interviewing
1. Come prepared. Do your homework so you’ll know as much as you can about the company and the employees you’ll be interviewing with. Let them know why you want this particular job.
2. Dress appropriately. Part of your research is identifying the organizational culture. A business suit is still a safe choice for a conservative workplace, but you may want to wear less formal separates for more casual settings. Whatever you decide, ensure you’re neat and well groomed.
3. Show up on time. Try to arrive about 10 to 15 minutes before your interview so you can double check your appearance and collect your thoughts. If you’re kept waiting, read company literature or go over your notes.
4. Listen closely. Give your interviewer your full attention. Figure out their priorities so you can customize your responses and ask pertinent questions.
5. Put away your phone. Turn the volume off on your phone and any other devices. Keep your phone out of sight if you have trouble resisting the urge to check for messages.
6. Master table manners. Some companies may want to interview you over lunch or dinner. Steer clear of dishes that are messy to eat and order something from the middle range of the menu. Follow your host’s lead about ordering appetizers or dessert.
Other Job Search Etiquette
1. Follow up. Remember to send a prompt thank you by email or regular mail. Include any additional materials you may have mentioned in the interview, such as work samples or references.
2. Set limits. It’s natural to feel eager about finding a job, but you want to avoid irritating others by being too persistent. Clarify the decision process and ask their advice about when to be in touch.
3. Give notice. Your former employer needs some consideration too. Let them know your plans as soon as possible.
Use proper etiquette to build a personal brand that will impress employers and increase your chances of being hired. Mind your manners and treat others the way you want to be treated.