Food Science Resources - Job Hunt Hints

Minding Your Manners

Mother Does Know Best - Even In the Workplace


While we don't plan to write the OPUS International Guide to Good Etiquette for Candidates and Clients, we are in a unique position to observe various breaches of good manners that pop up all too frequently during personal and phone interviews. If you're a faux-pas free candidate, give yourself a pat on the back. But you might want to make a quick personal inventory first.

In person:

Do you advise the interviewer/hiring authority promptly if your flight is delayed or you're stuck in traffic?
Do you greet everyone you meet at an employing company with a firm (but not overpowering) handshake?
Are you gracious to everyone you meet, including security guards and maintenance personnel?
Do you refrain from calling an interviewer by his or her first name unless invited to do so? Are you especially mindful of Ph D's who wish to be called doctor?
Do you dress in a professional manner (suit and tie for men, business suit for women) -- even if your interview is on a Saturday morning in Florida?
Do you refrain from any use of profanity, even if the "corporate culture" seems to admit it?
Do you always look the interviewer in the eye?
Do you answer all questions - including salary questions - directly, even if you've been asked the exact same question by three previous interviewers?
Do you treat the human resources associate with the same respect you've shown the hiring manager, avoiding any hint of condescension or argument?
Do you provide requested names and phone numbers of references in a timely manner?
Do you avoid "bad mouthing" your current employer or, conversely, representing your company as a superior operation? (If it does everything right, why do you want to leave?)

By mail:

Do you always address a hiring authority by his or her (correctly spelled) name and title when you are sending a letter, résumé, or thank you note?
Do you promptly send thank you notes for both phone and personal interviews? Do you remember to thank everyone who interviewed you?

On the phone:

Do you always return messages promptly, whether from your recruiter or possible new employer?
If you are unable to talk when you receive a phone call, do you at least inform the caller about when you will be available?
When you are leaving a message for a hiring authority (or anyone else, for that matter), do you always say your name clearly and your phone number slowly? (It's helpful to say My phone number is . . . so the recipient is prepared to write it down.)
When you are in a full-blown search for new employment, and recruiters and employers will be calling you at home, are you (NOT your children) the voice on your answering machine? Have you identified your household by name? Is your message clear and businesslike?
Are you available at the stipulated number when a phone interview has been set?
Have you instructed spouses, grandparents, and baby sitters about how to respond to business calls to your home? Do they have a pencil and pad handy to take messages efficiently?
Is your family attuned to the fact that there must be no background noise of TV, kids, or rattling dishes when a business call is in progress?
Finding a new position is a job in itself, but a poised, professional candidate will have an immediate advantage over those who are less prepared. Don't sabotage your search - good manners make good business.

Whether you're a candidate or a client, we'd love to hear from you!
E-mail:OPUSinfo@foodscience.com.


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