Etiquette and the job interview

Jan. 26, 2013 @ 05:06 PM

January is coming to an end. Statistics indicate we’ve all broken our New Year’s resolutions by now. Pathetic. I sometimes wonder why I make them in the first place.

Get a new job pops up as one of the top ten resolutions we make.

Apparently a large group of us want to start a new career or find a different one in a new place. This means you’re probably facing the interview process.

I haven’t interviewed for a job in centuries. Sounds like a daunting task to me.

Interview hell is what my friend Elizabeth named it.

When she called I was in the midst of designing a program to teach college graduates how to perfect their interview skills. This seminar will help them win the job of their dreams.

After Elizabeth regaled me with her recent experience, my program needs an addendum. Apply named ...  how to run from a horrible job interviewer.

Elizabeth said she was excited that the job interview was with a gift shop close to her home. Perfect. She set the appointment just after its closing hours.

The shop owner started the interview by disclosing one of her employee’s sex preference’s. She then followed with a detailed description of a screaming disagreement the two had had.

Red flags were beginning to fly for Elizabeth.

“She then told me about yelling at another employee and using the f word that rhythms with duck,” said Elizabeth.

“What a way to fill up the first 3 minutes of an interview,”I said.

I asked Elizabeth if she ran as fast as she could. Or if she yelled take this job and shove it.

She replied she couldn’t extricate herself that quickly. One more story and finally she got to excuse herself and run.

Fortunately, I have human resource contacts who gave me tips for successful interviewing. These are for the interviewer.

  • Speak clearly
  • Make sure your questions are direct and appropriate
  • Put the candidate at ease
  • Let the candidate explain their strong points

I learned the key points the job seeker should follow when interviewed. These are important steps for young and old.

  • Have good posture
  • Make eye contact with the interviewer
  • Research the organization before your interview
  • Be prepared to ask the interviewer a few pertinent questions
  • Dress appropriately. When in doubt, go with the most conservative
  • Be on time
  • Write a thank you note for the interview

All the human resource candidates I spoke to emphasized that I should avoid profanity and discussions of other employee’s personal behaviors and preferences.


• Monroe resident Jeanne Howell teaches etiquette to business and private groups. She can be reached at