Whatever you want to call it…whether “minding manners”, showing “common courtesy”, or “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you”, the idea of behaving in a professional way is important while looking for or departing a position. Not only is it the right thing to do, but since Western New York is such a small and tight-knit business community, word spreads quickly when someone does something wrong.
Sadly, in today’s world “common courtesy” is rarely expressed. Displaying just basic examples of it to a Hiring Manager and/or Recruiter is probably enough to give yourself a competitive advantage over others, since it is often in such short supply.
The good news is that being courteous to others usually does not involve much planning, effort, or expense. It just requires you to want to do the right thing and be polite. This includes everyone that you encounter and not just those who you have determined can help you the most, therefore, be nice to the Security Guard who let you in the parking lot and the Receptionist who checked you in.
So, in the context of a job, there are several relatively low effort items you can consider that will show to everyone involved that you respect them, their position, yourself, and the company(s) involved. Let’s take a quick look at some of the things that you can do to improve your courtesy level.
- Be Available: When you start a job search, you should have an expectation that you will be contacted at some point. You should do your best to be available to pick up the phone when called and promptly return voice messages. If you must return a voice message with another, then provide times when you are sure to be available. If you provide an e-mail address, then be sure to check it regularly and respond when required.
- Appear On-Time: Being late is rude, being late without calling first to alert somebody is unprofessional. Whether you have an appointment by phone, video, or in-person it is imperative that you be ready at the agreed upon time. If your conversation will be done by phone or video, make sure that you are ready (ahead of time) in a quiet place where a conversation can be held uninterrupted. Turn off any equipment that you will not be using for the conversation.
- Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time: If you are not prepared to put the work in to be ready for your phone screen or interview, then respectfully bow out of the appointment. Don’t just fail to show for the interview, but contact the Interviewer to inform them. Preferably do this via a telephone call. Recruiters and Hiring Managers are generally overworked and fatigued, so showing up for an interview unprepared is a huge insult.
- Take the High Road: Your job search is not the time to air your grievances regarding your past employer or supervisor. It is expected that you have the courtesy to bite your tongue and only share what is necessary for the Hiring Manager to know. The “high road” also includes your notice period and post-departure. As mentioned earlier, Western New York is a small and close-knit community, and your “loose lips” may cost you opportunities in the future.
- Complete Testing/Paperwork Timely: The moment you have accepted the job offer does not end your need to be courteous. You will be expected to complete (in a timely manner) any pre-start testing and/or paperwork. Complete all this ASAP. Doing so will make your on-boarding process smoother and make the life of the Recruiter easier, since chasing a person down on these matters wastes valuable time.
- Send Thanks: I realize that the days of the Thank You Card are over, but the courtesy of saying (or writing in an e-mail) thanks is still alive and well. Whether it is for an interview, a facility tour, or an offer, be sure to thank the person who spent the time to help you. This small gesture will make someone feel rewarded for taking the time out of their schedule to assist you.
- Give Proper Notice: When you resign, a proper notice-period is expected. This typically is two-weeks but may be longer if you are in a Management position. On the flip side, if something changes and you decide to not join your new employer, then it is expected that you will call the Hiring Manager to personally tell her/him that you have changed your mind. The last thing you want to do is to just “no show” them when they are expecting you to start your new job.
- Work Until the End: During your notice period it is expected that you will display a positive attitude and work hard (like you normally would!). It is also a given that you will (if asked) help in training any new staff or writing any operating procedures.
For many of us, you would think that today’s subject would be an obvious subject and a “no-brainer” for all involved. Unfortunately, what may have been natural in some generations, must be consciously worked on today.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: