Candidate Etiquette by Etiquette Expert Susie Wilson
Have you ever looked for a job and been frustrated at your success rate?
Have you ever “needed” a job and been troubled by the number of no's you’ve received?
Have you ever acted on that frustration during an interview or when speaking with a hiring manager?
A candidate's observance of etiquette can make or break a job opportunity in two seconds flat. But why bother to follow etiquette? you might ask. If this isn’t the right job for me, why should I care about leaving a good impression? you might think to yourself.
Etiquette Expert Susie Wilson says the answer is simply this: Be polite to the person you're speaking to,regardless of the situation. In the age of technology where we can hide behind social media posts and text messages, many of us have lost sight of the fact that what we do, how we act and what we say can impact our image down the road.
Our parents always told us to be kind, but of course, they were from the days of no cell phones and having to talk to people face to face. They couldn’t delete a post and act like it never happened. Have you ever thought that maybe interviews would be easier if they weren't facing to face? In-person job interviews are becoming more awkward for many of us because that mode of formal communication is something of a dying art.
However, Susie suggests maintaining etiquette and composure during a job interview is of the utmost importance, whether this is the position for you or now. How you behave can follow you from this conference room to any others you find yourself in when looking for your next job.
Here are some solid techniques you can utilise to make sure you are at your best during your next face-to-face candidate screening.
Communication is the most important skill to perfect, as this how we make the first contact with a new company. It's exciting, isn't it? They called you or sent an email saying they reviewed your resume and are interested in taking the next steps.
What if you forgot to respond to or didn't check that email for a week? Then your response would probably be less excited and more anxious. If you are actively applying for a new job, make sure you are frequently checking your voicemails and emails. If a company makes a couple of attempts to contact you and you are not available, you only have yourself to blame when they decided to move on. Don’t make the mistake of applying and then signalling that you're unavailable.
Honesty is next in line on the importance scale. People who talk to people for a living — such as recruiters — can spot a liar, so don't lie. Under no circumstances should you tell the company what you think they want to hear so you can get the job. The “best” job is one that is truly a great match, and a great match is only found when the job and company and your personality are all compatible. Could you ever imagine jumping into a relationship with someone who fibs or tells you half-truths? It probably wouldn’t work out and end quickly. Always be honest in your interviews, whether that makes you the best match, a great match or no match. Honesty will always open and close doors. But when it opens one, what a wonderful find it is.
Flexibility comes up in third place. You might be wondering why, so let's imagine a scenario:
Company: Can you come interview tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at our downtown office?
You: No, sorry, I have a meeting with my manager at that time.
Company: How about Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.?
You: I actually have a doctor’s appointment that day.
Company: OK, I’ll see what other openings we have and get back to you.
And then there's you, twiddling your thumbs as hours turn into days and days turn into weeks and that interview never gets scheduled.
If a company you're interested in invites you to an interview, your answer is yes. The hard truth here is that you do not hold all the cards, and for the majority of us, companies do not flex to your schedule — you flex to theirs. A good way to show that you are inflexible and leave a bad impression is to try and make your interviewer work around your schedule. Don’t do that. Do everything in your power to say "Yes, I’ll be there" with all gratefulness and humility. Show them you are willing to do what it takes to be successful. (That's also how you make yourself stand out during an interview.)
Salary conversations come in next. Don’t be scared to talk salary with an interviewer. They are not asking your requirements because they want to shortchange you; they are asking because they want to give you what they are able to that coincides with the experience you bring to the table. Most companies these days should only be asking what your salary expectation is. If you don’t know that number for yourself, then a good rule of thumb is to say you are looking for a lateral move or more, please. If you intend to ask for more than your current salary, head over to look up market rates for your position, experience level and city. An educated mind is a powerful one.
You’ve heard many times to always put your best foot forward. Paying attention to interview etiquette is a simple and effective way of doing so that will have powerful results. Stay patient, stay persistent and chase your dream job — because it’s worth it.
Susie Wilson- Leading Etiquette Expert.
Susie Wilson Finishing School | Melbourne | New Zealand