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Business Etiquette: Proper Attire, Language, and Behaviors during the Job Search

Shelly Trent, SPHR; SHRM Field Services Director

©SHRM 2010

Business Etiquette

· Etiquette is about presenting yourself in a way that shows you can be taken seriously.

· You can show your good manners throughout the job search process. Be courteous and thoughtful to everyone regardless of position or company.

· Show your appreciation; always follow up with sincere thanks to everyone you meet.

©SHRM 2010

General Business Etiquette

· Don't contact your network only when you have been laid-off from your job or decide you want to look for a new position. · If you only network when you want something, you will get a user reputation.

· Networking is a two-way street. You need to assist people in your network, too.

©SHRM 2010

General Business Etiquette

· Don`t litter on company property. · Don`t be late for interviews or work (most companies have a policy that you can be fired for tardiness). · Don`t take a sick day or vacation day just because you are allowed one. · Don`t take items from the workplace, even if it`s just pens, note pads, tape, or paper. · Don`t argue with co-workers or your supervisor. · Don`t simply give one-word answers. · Don`t use foul language or swear words.

©SHRM 2010

General Business Etiquette

· Don`t take credit for someone else's work. · Don`t treat service providers or other employees as inferiors. · Never make jokes or remarks that mock another's race/gender/age/disability/sexual preference or religion. · Don`t use iPods or mp3 players in a work setting; if you are listening to music, it`s likely that you are not listening or not working. · ALWAYS RSVP for an event or meeting.

©SHRM 2010

Phone Etiquette

· When talking on the phone with a potential employer or other business contact, never put them on hold to answer another phone call. · Concentrate on the person you are with ­ he or she should be the priority, not your phone calls, emails, or texts. · Always return calls, even if you don`t have an answer for them yet or don`t want to talk with the caller. · Don`t talk loudly on the phone in public places.

©SHRM 2010

Scheduling Etiquette

· When someone contacts you for an interview, do not give excuses about when it is convenient for YOU to come in. · There is always someone else who is eager to meet the employer`s timeline! · Cancel your personal plans if needed. · Be enthusiastic on the phone. · Don`t be a no-show!!! Recruiters talk! · Even if you decide you no longer want the job, go on the interview for the practice. (Don`t tell them that!)

©SHRM 2010

Introduction Etiquette

· Introduce the more important person first. You should address your client and say "Mr. Beta, I'd like you to meet our CEO, Ms. Alpha. Regardless of your client`s or customer`s position, that person is always most important. · Both men and women should stand for handshaking and all introductions. · Wear a name badge on the right shoulder. · Treat business cards with respect and always have cards of your own.

©SHRM 2010

Interview Etiquette

· Make it a point to arrive ten or fifteen minutes early for an interview. Lateness is considered rude and ruins your chances. · Be very well prepared for interviews and meetings--you are using someone else`s time. Use it wisely. · Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Remember body language and posture: sit upright and look alert and interested at all times. Don't fidget or slouch. · Avoid using poor language, slang, and pause words (such as "like," you know, I mean, you know what I`m saying, "uh," and "um"). · Listen carefully during the interview. Don`t think of answers to the next question--listen. If they have to repeat the question, it`s as if you didn`t care what they were saying. · Don`t interrupt.

©SHRM 2010

Interview Etiquette

· After the interview, take time to write down the names and titles (check spelling) of all your interviewers, your impressions, remaining questions, and information learned. · Follow up after the interview with a thank-you letter or note. Employers regard this as evidence of your attention to detail, as well as an indication of your final interest in the position. · When given a choice between two equal candidates, the one who wrote a thank-you letter will be chosen.

©SHRM 2010

Interview Etiquette

· No matter what job search strategies you choose, follow-up and record keeping are important for success. · Maintain a careful record of all interviews, thank-you notes sent, referrals made, and follow-up actions. · Job seekers who fail to maintain this information often lose valuable contacts as well as credibility with prospective employers. · Follow up within 24 hours!!

©SHRM 2010

Email/Online Etiquette

· Beware of e-mail use (spelling, grammar, and the way it comes across). · Do not use emoticons in business e-mails. · Business e-mails should be written in a formal manner, rather than a familiar or casual manner. · Have an e-mail address, and NOT one like [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]

©SHRM 2010

Email/Online Etiquette

· Recruiters say they've eliminated a candidate based on the information they uncovered online--nothing is private on the Internet. · Don`t post photos of yourself at parties drinking, or doing anything you wouldn`t want an employer to see. · No derogatory jokes or comments or any risky hobbies.

©SHRM 2010

Etiquette of Appropriate Dress

· Interviewers make judgments about you in the first few minutes that could impact their decision to hire you. · Your handshake, eye contact, body language, posture, listening skills, clothing, grooming, and accessories tell them a lot. · Have a firm handshake (web & wrap).

©SHRM 2010

Proper Dress--Women:

· Have an attractive, modern hair style. No wild dos or fun colors. · Don't wear too many accessories. · Wear little or no perfume. · Brush your teeth and use mouthwash. · Never chew gum or smoke. Don`t smoke in the car on the way to the interview. Don`t wear clothes that smell like smoke. · Do not use excessive makeup. · Clean your glasses, including the nose grips. · Wear a clean, pressed outfit or suit.

©SHRM 2010

Proper Dress--Women:

· Clean and polish your nails with a soft color or clear. · Wear conservative hosiery--a skin-tone shade is best--NOT suntan or any color (i.e., black, navy, cream). · Clean and polish your shoes. Your purse should match your shoe color. · Carry a conservative purse (no big buckles or chains, no bright colors) or briefcase. · Tattoos and piercings should not show other than one pair of earrings. · Do not wear white shoes or carry a white purse to an interview. · NO SANDALS or bare feet!

©SHRM 2010

Sample Interview Attire

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What NOT to Wear

©SHRM 2010

Proper Dress--Men:

· Have clean, trimmed hair in a professional style. · Have a fresh shave or trim your facial hair. · Wear little or no cologne. · Brush your teeth and use mouthwash. · Never chew gum or smoke. Don`t smoke in the car on the way to the interview. Don`t wear clothes that smell like smoke. · Clean your glasses, including the nose grips. · Wear a clean, pressed shirt and suit. · Wear a clean, fashionable but conservative tie. · Make certain your collar covers your tie in the back. Your tie should touch the top of your belt buckle.

©SHRM 2010

Proper Dress--Men:

· Clean and trim your nails. · Clean and polish your shoes. Your belt should match your shoe color. · Carry a briefcase or portfolio. · Tattoos and piercings should not show. · Wear flat-front pants, as pleated pants make you look heavier. · Your dress shirt should be solid in a neutral color, preferably white, but certainly a light color. · Wear solid-color socks that cover your whole shin/calf--no leg hair should show if you sit down or cross your legs. · Opt for navy or charcoal suit, not black.

©SHRM 2010

Sample Interview Attire

©SHRM 2010

What NOT to Wear

©SHRM 2010

What about tattoos?

©SHRM 2010

What image do you portray?

©SHRM 2010

Remember!

· Always err on the side of conservative dress--dress for the job you want, not for the job you have (or don't have YET!). · Brad Karsh, author of Confessions of a Recruiting Director, says, You should wear a suit (and tie for men) to every interview. Period. The only RARE exception is when the interviewer specifically tells you not to. Even if the company has casual dress, you still wear a suit. It shows respect. If you underdress, the impact is huge; if you overdress, the impact is minimal.*

*Karsh, Brad. 2006. Confessions of a Recruiting Director. Prentice Hall: New York, NY.

©SHRM 2010

Mealtime Etiquette

· You may have an interview during a meal. · Don`t call any attention to what you order-- should be something of low to mid expense, and nothing messy. · Don`t order an alcoholic beverage, even if others do. · Even if they act casual about the meal, treat it very formally. They are watching you to see how you behave. · Don`t chew with your mouth open, and don`t talk with food in your mouth.

©SHRM 2010

Mealtime Etiquette

· The fork goes on the left. The spoon and knife go on the right. · Food items go on the left, so your bread plate is on your left. Drinks, including coffee cups, should be on the right. Remember BMW (bread, meal, water). · When sitting at a banquet table, you may begin eating when two people to your left and right are served. If you haven't been served, but most of your table has, encourage others to start. · Reach only for items in front of you; ask that other items be passed by a neighbor. Offer to the left; pass to the right. If the bread (or other dish) is in front of you, do not take a serving. Pass it and take yours last.

©SHRM 2010

Mealtime Etiquette

· Using a soup spoon, scoop soup away from you. Soup is taken from the side of the soup spoon. · The meal begins when the host unfolds his or her napkin. If there is no host, put your napkin in your lap when drinks are served. · Starting with the knife, fork, or spoon that is farthest from your plate, work your way in, using one utensil for each course. The salad (smaller) fork is on your outermost left, followed by your dinner fork. Your soup spoon is on your outermost right, followed by your beverage spoon, salad knife, and dinner knife. Your dessert spoon and fork are above your plate or brought out with dessert.

©SHRM 2010

Mealtime Etiquette

· Bread/rolls should never be eaten whole. Break into smaller, more manageable pieces, buttering only a few bites at a time. · Take butter from the butter plate and place it onto your bread plate. Don`t butter your bread from the butter plate. · Pass salt/pepper as a set. · Don`t cut all of your food up. Cut one bite at a time. · If you do not want coffee, turn your cup over.

©SHRM 2010

Mealtime Etiquette

©SHRM 2010

Mealtime Etiquette

· As you eat, leave your knife across your plate at the top. · Leave your plate where it is in the place setting. When finished, do not push your plates away or stack them. · The common way to show that you have finished your meal is to lay your fork and knife diagonally across your plate. Place your knife and fork side by side, with the sharp side of the knife blade facing inward and the fork, tines down, to the left of the knife. The knife and fork should be placed as if they are pointing to the numbers 10 and 4 on a clock face. · Once used, dining utensils should never again touch the table.

©SHRM 2010

Leaving Your Job

· If you dislike your job, your boss, your company, your co-workers...

> DON`T just quit your job. That is immature.

> DON`T tell anyone at work how you feel.

> DON`T spend time at work looking for a new job. > DON`T tell off your boss.

· DO your best work and continue to do a good job until you quietly accept another job. · DON`T forget that every employer can give a reference...DON`T burn your bridges.

©SHRM 2010

Leaving Your Job

· After you notify your boss and have had a discussion about leaving, you can then notify your co-workers · Do not take any company property · Do not delete company files--EVERYTHING on a company computer belongs to the company-- even your personal documents (you should NEVER save personal files on a company computer) · You can be sued for erasing company files

©SHRM 2010

Leaving Your Job

· Take home your personal desk property before your last day · Get copies of your performance reviews and any info from your HR file you may need

· Prepare to be escorted out on your last day-- you will no longer have any access to the building or anything else

©SHRM 2010

Workplace Etiquette

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Be careful at office parties--don`t drink too much, make crude jokes, or act unprofessional. Many workplaces have rules against employee dating. It is best not to have a relationship with someone at work. If you go on a business trip, be sure to attend all the meetings and stay the whole time. Don`t spend time playing golf, shopping, or wasting company time. Be careful what you say about your boss, co-workers, or company online. People are fired every day for posting derogatory information. Remember that you represent your company 24/7, even when you are not on the clock. Your personal behaviors will influence how your boss views you as an employee.

©SHRM 2010

Questions and Discussion

· Good luck on your job search or in your career!

©SHRM 2010

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