Dollars and Sense Depend on P’s & Q’s
Knowing the ground rules not only quiets palpitations and dries sweaty palms. It often lands the job. The rules include:
1. Dress well but not wildly well. Employers tend to be serious about their businesses. Flashiness on your part, loud socks or tie, a raffish boutonniere suggests you're not.
2. Do a grooming countdown before the interview. Shoes shined? Chin smooth? Hair combed? Short of drenching yourself with cologne or plastering your hair with stickum, it’s hard to be too groomed.
3. Before calling on a prospect make an appointment by phone or letter. Never “drop in”
4. Be on time. If early, ask the receptionist not to announce you until the exact moment. If unavoidably late, call to explain and if necessary remake the appointment.
5. Don’t “practice” for the interview by chatting with the receptionist. Sit quietly, read, twiddle your thumbs, but don’t leave the room and don’t have the receptionist call to “remind” the interviewer if he keeps you waiting.
6. Stand up when anybody approaches to talk.
7. Greet the interviewer with a warm but neutral, “How do you do.” Whether to shake hands is up to him. Remain standing until he waves you to a chair. Your coat goes on another chair or piled neatly beside you, but never on his desk. Smoke only if he offers a cigarette or says it’s okay.
8. When he asks about your present or former job, don't go into a tirade about your “skinflint” employer or the miserable hours. Don't volunteer the dreary details of your personal life. Emotion (except possibly enthusiasm) has no place in a job interview.
9. Let him bring up salary. It’s “future” and “opportunity” you're interested in, not paltry dollars. Not precisely the truth? Nonetheless, it’s the impression you want to give.
10. Don't interview the interviewer. This is not the time to inquire about coffee breaks, desk space, vacations. Wait until you get the job first. Then ask some lesser deity.
11. The interview ends when the interviewer ends it. He may look blank; he may thank you for coming in. At any rate, don’t press for an immediate yes or no and don’t ask if you should call tomorrow. Your bargaining power was slight to begin with; overeagerness reduces it to nil. – Don Goodwin, 1958
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia