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Etiquette at Work

Grooming and other tips for the job interview

Much has been said and written about what to do when interviewing for a job. From being on time to dressing one notch up to writing thank you notes, the advice is practical and important.

But what of the time before the interview? What should you do to be prepared? Here are 10 pieces of pre-interview advice:

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Make sure your shoes are cleaned and shined. People, including interviewers, notice your footwear. If it’s messy or dirty or unkempt, is that how you’ll be in your job as well?

Check that clothes are neat and clean. That means they are stain-free, odor-free, and wrinkle-free. It’s not a bad idea to invest in an iron: Pressed impresses.

Clean and trim your fingernails. One of the first things you’ll do is shake hands. You want to be sure your hands are presentable.

See that hair is neat — combed, brushed, and away from your face. For men, a quick visit to a barber or hair salon to clean up areas like the back of the neck or the ears will improve your appearance and keep the focus on what you have to say, not how you look.

Leave extra jewelry at home. Keep it to a minimum — nothing flashy or jangly —so it doesn’t distract the interviewer.

Print your resume. Bring along a clean copy and have several extras in case you meet with several people.

Know the location. Have the address and phone number plugged into your phone or written on a slip of paper. Do a dry run the day before if possible, so you not only know how to get there, you also know how long it will take.

Practice the pronunciation of names. People simply aren’t named “Smith” or “Jones” anymore. Your best bet is to find out how to pronounce the names of the people you will meet before the interview. Call the company and ask the receptionist or a person in HR for the correct pronunciation. You’ll stand out, especially if your competition didn’t learn the correct pronunciation.

Have writing paper and instrument. Bring paper and pen to take notes during your interview. You don’t want to have to ask for it during the interview.

Be prepared. It may rain, sleet, or snow, so make sure your coat is in good condition. Pack an umbrella. Charge your electronics and then turn them off when you arrive. Have a couple of breath mints that you can enjoy before arriving “just in case.”

E-mail questions about business etiquette to etiquette atwork@emilypost.com.
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