Job search, tips, Etiquette, professional dress, following up, manners,  job-seekers
JOB HUNT / 02 December 2016
Etiquette Tips That Will Make or Break Your Job Search
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Hannah Son
Content Writer
Redondo Beach

No matter how qualified you are for a position, if you lack etiquette, you will severely damage all chances of getting a callback. Although rejection letters rarely say, “we didn’t hire you because you have no manners,” you can be sure that candidates who don’t conduct themselves with professional etiquette are cast aside. 


To prevent this from happening, here are some tips on how to conduct yourself throughout your job search (and entire professional career):


1. Be courteous (preferably to everyone): If being nice all the time is hard for you, at least be courteous in professional settings. When I say professional settings, I am not just talking about interviews or meetings. These days, there are eyes and ears everywhere. Take extra caution because you never know where there are security cameras, a snoopy employee or even a social media feign. You never know who you are interacting with, the person you were rude to on the elevator could be the hiring manager, who knows! Wait your turn to speak, properly shake hands: firm, one-handed (preferably dry), smile, make eye contact and address the each person by their proper title. 


2. Time is money, don’t waste it: Hiring managers, HR staff, people operations managers and recruiters are all busy… Everyone in their own right is busy. So don’t waste anyone’s time. When you are in an interview, keep your answers concise. Don’t apply to the same job countless times to keep popping up on the radar, this will only waste your time and theirs and make you look like an overly demanding pest.


One of the biggest tips I can give to you is to be punctual. Arriving late is in Julia Robert’s words, “Big mistake, HUGE.” I don’t care how far away you live, always know the route you’re going to take, take a practice drive/ride/walk or swim, (doesn’t matter, just get there!) and build in extra time for unforeseen circumstances. 


3. Silence please: This one is simple. Part of having professional etiquette means being respectful of others. When you are in a business meeting, nothing conveys a lack of respect more than fidgeting with or answering your cell phone. Make sure you leave your phone on silent and give your acquaintance 100 % of the attention they deserve. 


4. Listen Up!: How embarrassed would you be if you ask for information you’ve already been given in the same conversation? Let e answer that for you...VERY. Besides being embarrassing, it suggests that you were not listening to that a person and ignoring what a person is saying so that you can think about your next line is simply rude.


Moreover, if an employer asks, “Tell me about yourself,” they don’t want a full background check (that’s HR’s job later down the road). Instead, it asks about what kind of person and professional you are. So, make sure you not only listen to the questions people ask you but also the intent of the questions. Save the all-encompassing narrative for another day.


5. Dress for Success: What can I say, we live in a world where outside appearances matter and your clothing decisions are one of the first impressions you make. Dress appropriately and take care of your personal appearance. A broken pair of glasses, smeared makeup and inappropriate clothing are just a few of the things that can signal to employers that you are not serious about this position goes on and on. If you are expected to show up dressed one way, and you fail to conform, it will likely be seen as a sign of disrespect. As a general rule of thumb, It’s always much better to overdress than underdress. 


6. Do your homework: Know your stuff. If you are coming into an interview or networking event without doing the research you will not only appear ignorant but also disinterested. At minimum, make sure you research the company’s website and VIPs, you can get extra brownie points for mentioning when they were last quoted in a publication or if they’ve recently received an award. By prepping in this way, you’ll project the image of someone who is interested, qualified, and diligent. 


7. Follow-up: Always show appreciation and follow up on all interviews. The simple act of writing a short thank-you note or typing up a thank you email can be the deciding factor in whether or not you get a callback, plus, It is simply rude not to follow up and recognize the courtesies that have been extended to you. This being said, there is no need to go overboard. Keep it short and sweet (no chocolates, flowers or teddy bears!).

When it comes to professional etiquette, well-mannered job-seekers win the hearts and minds of hiring managers. Practice makes perfect and by following these tips, you will be prepared and confident. Make sure you keep up with our blog to learn more about the ins and outs of the job search.