Workplace Relationships are tricky . . .

And I’m not even talking about romantic workplace relationships! An astute reader pointed out a problem with my advice to Anita regarding her male boss requesting one-on-one after work social time. (See Cubicle Etiquette – Your Boss the Perp)

His point gets at the crux of difficulties many women face in career advancement – the informal power structure. This is not something that can be done with brute force, you have to be INVITED to play. It can be the most unnerving aspect of career advancement and for many women the glass ceiling.

Come on, share your two cents on workplace relationships.

Office Etiquette – Office Conversations

So what happens when you mix old fashioned etiquette rules and modern office? Hopefully a more civilized workplace. If you wonder what appropriate an office conversation is, then consider reading the piece on office conversations. Part late nineteenth century etiquette guidelines and lots of common sense, Miss Mentor pulls some gems from the past and wonders if anyone today would care to try them out a second time – minus the servants.

Job Interview Etiquette – Part 3 of 3

FOLLOW UP POST INTERVIEW:
Later that day – before you forget who you met and what you discussed, WRITE THANK YOU NOTES! Make them personal. If you had more than 5 words with someone, you want them to remember you AND to ADVOCATE for you. Demonstrating good job interview etiquette opens doors.

Yes, a hand written note is still the best idea. What? Your handwriting looks like chicken scratch. . . . hmmm, I hear ya. Mine does too. But when it comes to writing a note, nothing replaces the charm of a handwritten note. So slow it down and do your best to channel your handwriting instructor from days of yore. ummmm, Mrs. Easterling, mmmmmm.

Okay, so you’ve broken both wrists in a terrible football tailgating accident (true story!). Well then, use your word processor to crank out the notes. They will be doubly impressed with your good job interview etiquette.

Now what? Well, give the postal service a few days to deliver your notes (7-10 days). Then follow up with a BRIEF phone call to your original contact unless you’ve been asked to follow up with someone else. If you have been specifically told, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” then back off buddy, no phone calls. And when I say brief . . . no kidding, keep it to 7 minutes or less, UNLESS they reject you and are willing to give you feedback – then soak it in so you can improve.

What if it has been 3-4 weeks with no further word? Well, I’m afraid them’s the breaks kid. The firm may have moved on without the kindness of letting you know (bastards!) or they may be stringing you along. It is also possible they just have not made up their minds and too much is going on with running the business to make a decision right now. Be patient. Good job interview etiquette means being smooth, not panicy.

If it has been more than 2 weeks since last communications AND you were NOT given a specific time line for a decision, ONLY then should you call your point of contact again to follow up. If he/she does not return your call within 3 days, let it be. It’s like that crush in high school who spoke to you once but then ignored you the rest of the year…. Move on, move on.

Need specific advice on Job Interview Etiquette? Contact us and we may choose your question for the Q&A grab bag in the Essential Life E-zine! Note the level of urgency in your request – we try to please!

Job Interview Etiquette – Part 2 of 3

EXECUTE the plan.

Job Interview Etiquette Top 10:
1. Be on time. Give yourself enough time to get there and plan for traffic or elephants falling from the sky – it happened once in Miami….

2. When you arrive at the place for your interview, be ready for the interview. Let me repeat that, BE READY FOR THE INTERVIEW. This is NOT the time to take a call from someone else. This is NOT the time to check your Blackberry. This is NOT the time to look at material for your next interview. Be in the moment with THIS interview. Give it 100%.

3. Always act like a guest.Treat those who greet you courteously, not curtly. In some organizations the receptionist contributes remarks on your candidacy…. You’ve been warned.

Good job interview etiquette means act like a guest but not a sycophant. Don’t bring the brownies your mom baked until the third round of interviews. Got it? Good.

4. Display good personal hygiene. Teeth brushed, hair combed, clean hands? You sassy beast. Well . . . get to it!

5. Don’t open doors, enter rooms or otherwise take command unless/until invited to do so. If you are currently working for a competitor there will be things you do not need to see. Respect the wishes of your potential employer. Unless you’re really just job-hunting as a ploy to check out your competitor . . .

6. DO NOT use job-hunting as a ploy to sneak in all spy-like for photos of top secret documents from your shoe camera unless your name is Bond, James Bond. The world is not enough to protect you from the wrath that will ensue. While you only live twice, your professional circle is TOO small for you to try this tactic more than once. Dr. NO!

7. Check your ego at the door. Make the recruiter, human resource contact aware before the interview(s) start if you have a potential emergency brewing (i.e wife is expecting any minute, DISASTEROUS crisis at current job). Then it will be acceptable to check your phone BETWEEN (never during) interview sessions.

8. KEEP YOUR COMMITMENTS! The person interviewing you may have traveled long and far just to meet with you, particularly if you are interviewing for a top spot. Unless you are in the hospital incapacitated, GET THEE to the Interview!

If you no longer wish to interview, give at least 24 hours notice. If that is not possible, let your interviewer know in person. The world is perilously small, your behavior will be remembered and shared, good and bad, particularly bad….

9.Watch your language! Even if you are a guy interviewing to be a trader for Big Bank X, watch your language. Expletives though used in some work environments are NOT appropriate DURING the interview. You may get away with it at the drink fest that night, but NEVER in the office.

Seriously. Expletives = BAD job interview etiquette.

Miss Mentor: “I’ve been in the construction world and the finance world and both rely on expletives to get through the day, but if a candidate used one in an interview – game over. “

10. Remember, they said yes to an interview with you. Don’t make them feel like fools for doing so. Let your best side shine! Show them you can make their bottom line sing. Be the rockstar you are!

Job Interview Etiquette – Part 1 of 3

Is it hot in here or is it you….
You’re so hot they are beating down doors to get to you! With your job interview etiquette mad skilz, they’ll be panting for more. Sweet anticipation….

Job Interview etiquette is an essential weapon in your arsenal. Consider the interview a project.

As any good project manager, you will PLAN for the project, ASSEMBLE the necessary resources, EXECUTE and follow-up post project.

You have the interview so the PLAN is done. If you have NOT been asked to interview (yet), look to the CAREER section for job hunting tips.

Time to ASSEMBLE resources. What resources? Good job interview etiquette includes the things that make one a good interviewer.

RESEARCH! Know the company and the person interviewing you. Read their financial statements if you are interviewing for any job involved with management. Watch/read/see their ads particularly if you are interviewing for a marketing position – understand why they choose different ads in different neighborhoods for example. It is down right RUDE to walk into an interview without this knowledge.

ATTIRE! It is better to overdress (though not to an extreme) than to under dress. If you are unsure of your outfit, please look to PERSONA for advice on developing style. A black suit with clean, simple lines that FITS you is almost always appropriate.

WHATEVER IT TAKES to get you there. Literally, make sure your car is in working order if you’ll be driving. Make sure your toaster is working if you’ll be having toast that morning. Make sure to mitigate as many surprises as possible.

Office Etiquette – the good, the bad and the ugly….

Office Etiquette. There are so many ways to go totally and completely WRONG that this page can only begin to acquaint you. With that said, let’s dive in….

The Good
Your boss tells you the Palm tree motif in your cube is . . . cute.

The Bad
That Palm tree motif . . . it has to go. Today.

The Ugly
Take yourself with it and don’t come back.

OUCH!
So what happened here? At the very least you violated your boss’ sense of style – which may or may not be saying much. At the very worst, you managed to violate a company code for which you are being FIRED. Can your boss be arbitrary and capricious, HECK YEAH! Your boss is the BOSS.

Office Etiquette is divided into the following major categories:
Job Interview Etiquette
Cubicle Etiquette
General Workplace Etiquette
Office Phone Etiquette

What about the softer side of the office? The soft skills are often what send you further up the corporate ladder than you may deserve to go. Use these skills to seal deals, impress your boss and in general, make your life a whole lot easier.

Office Etiquette soft skilz:
Table Manners Etiquette
Letter Writing Etiquette
Table Seating Etiquette
Knowing good etiquette for both social and professional situations will keep you out of hot water and may just open doors you can’t even see.

***For those who think Etiquette is washed up, boring, stifling, etc. Perhaps. BUT the point of proper etiquette is to show respect to those around you. When folks around you (think clients here) feel respected by you, they tend to TRUST you. This means you get to see and do deals that your competitor might not. Still today despite technology, most BIG contracts are written BECAUSE the two parties established personal level trust – usually at the top. You’ve seen it happen. Learning proper office etiquette is how to get into the game.

GAME ON!
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