With so many candidates competing for the same attractive roles, differentiation is the name of the game! And sometimes, it’s the little things that help set YOU apart from the competition. What you do during the job search can have lasting impressions.
Check out these tips on the Dos and Don’ts of job search etiquette and what you should do to ensure that you nail it, from creating a great first impression until accepting the job offer.
Potential employers consider attitude and professional etiquette heavily when evaluating candidates. Here are some guidelines on job search etiquette to help you find – and land – the position you want.
1. DO: Research the hiring organization
2. DO: Remember the art of written etiquette
3. DO: Give the best first impression possible
4. DON’T: Play the “cat and mouse” game with salary
5. DON’T: Disrespect or ignore others’ time
Find out as much as you can about the organization before the interview. Read the firm’s website for its mission statement, goals, financial performance (including annual reports), news and culture. Check out analyst ratings and media coverage (analyses, interviews, news articles, industry reports). Research who you may indirectly know there. If possible, talk to someone who currently works at the organization or has worked there in the past.
Your research helps you at every stage of the job search process, from initial interest to final interview. Use this information to prepare your cover letter and questions for the interviews. Demonstrate your initiative and convey your strong interest and enthusiasm in joining the organization.
Your resume and cover letter can make a powerful first impression – one that helps decide whether you are plucked from the pile and advance to the next step, the interview stage. Take time to customize your cover letter. Show your unique interest and uncommon qualifications! After each interview, promptly send a thank-you note. It usually doesn’t matter whether it’s hand-written, typed or even emailed. But doing it is key! It’s a courteous, formal gesture that has a lasting impact.
Evaluations of candidates begin well before the interviewer walks up to shake your hand. Arrive 10-15 minutes before the interview formally begins. Note that your behavior and presence may be evaluated in the waiting area as well as in the interview itself. So make sure that you are friendly to everyone, from the security guard to the receptionist to the office assistant to the janitor or anyone else who may greet you before and after the interview. If you show a lack of courtesy to anyone in the company, it may sharply and negatively impact your chances of getting the job.
No one likes to play games when it comes to discussing money. Do your homework before you arrive at the first interview by researching salary and compensation levels in your industry. Identify what the range is for the level of responsibility that is involved in the role. To determine starting salaries for jobs comparable to the one at hand, check with industry associations or staffing agencies. (Note that websites that collect salary information and post jobs often show a very wide range of compensation levels because they tend to focus on titles rather than actual responsibilities.) Give an honest answer, when asked about compensation requirements; if the job requirements have been outlined, it’s in your best interests to keep the conversation flowing and to ensure that, if there is a wide mismatch that simply cannot be overcome, neither side wastes any more time. Being evasive or naming an unrealistic figure (if the topic of salary comes up earlier in the process) can harm your credibility.
In business, time is money and opportunity cost. Beyond being punctual for interviews and responding promptly to requests for references, this rule also covers timing issues once you receive an employment offer. If you’re not prepared to give a Yes or No immediately, thank your contact and promise a response within a few days. Stretching out your decision time beyond just those few days could convey a lack of sincere interest on your part. It may also inconvenience the prospective employer, who may need to fill the position quickly. If you choose not to accept the job, inform the hiring manager immediately. This will give him or her a chance to offer the position to someone else.
Respect is a two-way street. Everyone you meet during your job search has the potential to make a lasting impact on your professional growth. Any contact today could become a future employer or a key networking resource. By following the rules of job search etiquette, you’ll show professionalism and a drive to succeed – essential qualities for every job seeker.
(written by: Donna)