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Interview Etiquette 5 Golden Rules to Success

It’s a competition out there! Especially for recent graduates who are looking to launch their careers. Landing that big job is like fishing. You put yourself out there and you hope that someone will bite your bait. So after all of your perseverance, patience and many attempts you finally get a nibble… So now what? My suggestion is go through the motions but keep in mind that there is something called interview etiquette. Recruiting is about finding the right candidate for the job and that means that your integrity and character is being compared to that of someone else who is equally as qualified for the job.

Surprisingly what may seem like common sense to some is not so obvious to others. In my recruiting experience I have seen many interview no no’s. Make sure you understand these 5 Golden Rules of interview etiquette and you are well on your way.

  1. Never ask the interviewer what the dress code is. Even if the interview falls on a casual Friday, make sure you dress to impress.
  2. Never show up late. And if you are going to be late due to unforeseen circumstances, whenever possible make sure you call at least 10-minutes ahead of time to let the Interviewer know your situation. Try your best to avoid calling one minute before the scheduled interview or after you are already one-minute late.
  3. Don’t just rely on an email to reschedule an interview especially if you are sending it the day of. Typically a hiring manager could have over 15 unread messages in their inbox and chances are they won’t get to your email right away. If you don’t show up for your scheduled interview and your email wasn’t received ahead of time you may have just completely interfered with the hiring managers busy day. That time they devoted to you could have been scheduled for something else. Sometimes it is best to leave a voice message and send an email if they don’t answer their business line when you call. Or ask the receptionist if they can pass on your message and follow-up with an email. It shows that your respect the hiring manager’s time and that you are still eager to reschedule an interview.
  4. Never show up more than 15-minutes early. It’s good to be punctual it shows that you are eager and care about the interview but if you’re more then 15-minutes early find a coffee shop or a lobby and do something like review your interview notes there. If you show up an hour early or even 20-minutes early you could end up putting undue pressure on yourself if you happen to cross paths with the candidate being interviewed before you. Or you could have just imposed a sense of urgency on the interviewer to accommodate your punctuality when they have other pressing matters to attend to during that time.
  5. Send a thank you email within 48-hours of the interview. Make sure you have no grammatical or spelling errors in your thank you email. It is important to reinforce your interest in the position and stand out. Remember you are still being judged and your written communication skills can be a deciding factor especially when the position requires excellent written communication.

Michelle Hennick is an active member of the Human Resource Professional Association (HRPA) and has a BA in Psychology. She currently works as an HR Administrator for a software development company. Michelle’s tenacity motivates her to strive for excellence and support her organization’s continued success by improving efficiencies through process enhancements. Michelle has had exposure to various HR functions, which include: creating and implementing policies, recruitment, performance management, training, onboarding, and health and safety. 

Acceptance May Be Your Key to Happiness

Office homeThis blog post is part of our “Day In the Life” series offered this summer.

I could write about my journey into HR, but that would be a very long post (invite me for coffee sometime, I’ll tell you the story). I could write about a typical day in my life as an independent HR Consultant, but there are many good posts about that already.

I’m writing from a slightly different perspective…stereotypically different for a man, that is.

I’m an HR Consultant, part-time. My other part-time job is stay-At-Home Dad. I love both my jobs very much. The role of a stay-at-home parent is not new. However, it is not as common to see this role filled by the father. Let’s just say that there is an innate feeling, and a perceived feeling from society, that says “this isn’t the way it is supposed to be”. I struggled with my role as a stay-at-home dad for a while.

I have had many different jobs – starting in Operations Management in the Hospitality industry, to Account Management in EAP’s, then finally back to school and a transition into HR. I have also had time in between jobs where I worked as an HR consultant for small business clients. This kept me busy and up to date professionally. But during those “transition” periods, I was also the stay-at-home parent. My wife holds a high level and demanding position as Vice President of her company. Therefore, it made sense for me to take on more of the at-home parent responsibilities.

I work hard to find clients, project work and otherwise. Then I work hard to deliver results. Trying to do all of this between the morning kid routine of breakfast, making lunches and making sure they get to school on time. Then making sure they get home, snack and preparing dinner before they go off to their various extra curricular activities.

But I never felt happy. My family perceived me as moody, frustrated and sometimes even angry. Hindsight is 20/20, but I now realize that I always thought I “should” be doing something else. I should have the 40+ hour a week job. I should be the primary “bread winner” for the family. I also felt that others thought the same way…and that was a destructive feeling.

I recently realized that I had not ACCEPTED my role as a stay-at-home dad, and subsequently had not embraced it.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how the same concept of accepting one’s role, as it is presently, is very important to one’s career success. At times, we may feel like we shouldn’t be doing something – or should be doing something else. Perhaps we think it is beneath our level of expertise; perhaps we feel that we are supposed to be doing more. Once we accept that what we are presently doing is…well…acceptable, we can see more clearly the opportunities that are available. It is also worth stating that there is a big difference between being “content” and being “complacent”. I am very happy with my present roles, but I still have goals and things will change.

I am now fully enjoying being the primary stay-at-home parent, and am very excited about my career opportunities as a consultant. I can see things much more clearly.

Here are three points to think about:

Accept that you may have a role which may not be innately or immediately comfortable, for whatever reason.

Accept that any one of your roles may take priority over the others, for whatever reason…and that’s OK.

Accept that your roles may not always exist as they do at present. Seeing clearly helps us to create change.

I recently read a few articles that demonstrated how our society and culture is accepting a shift in family roles. Here is a great one:


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Top of Mind

Several weeks ago, I posted a blog called Four More Minutes.  The focus of the blog was to support The EO List friend Victorio Milian, an HR Professional in New York City, find new employment.  The purpose of the blog was to increase awareness and to spur some action among the Canadian network.

The blog was successful at increasing awareness. In the days following the posting, there were more than 1000 pageviews on our blogsite, 77 Retweets, and 19 LinkedIn shares– and this is for The EO List alone.  Other blogsites who were a part of this “crowdsourcing” experiment also reported lots of traffic on their sites. Victorio has even reported that the process has generated some initial leads (including something in Canada).

While they are exciting results, the truth is that so far none of these activities has yet produced an actual tangible result for Victorio.  He hasn’t found a likely opportunity yet and traction has not been instantaneous.  He is looking for full-time as well as contract or consulting gigs.  He has a particular expertise in talent sourcing in the retail and food industries.

Perhaps I’m impatient; perhaps it is early in the process, but when we tried this experiment in 2010 to help my friend Brian Oughton, the support seemed to come much faster and more freely.  It scares me because if this doesn’t work, and soon, I think it is a commentary on the capabilities of crowdsourcing a job search.

But before we give up, let’s kick it into overdrive.  I would like Victorio’s job search to be a “Top of Mind” thing for you.

First, if you didn’t spend the four minutes before, do it now.  Second, if you haven’t yet attempted to personalize this and connect with Victorio now, do it!  Here are some ways to get to know him better:

  • Read Victorio’s blog at
  • Read Victorio’s Twitter feed at @victorio_m.
  • View his LinkedIn Profile.  Invite him to connect.  Tell him why.
  • Connect with him directly, over Twitter DM or even old-fashioned e-mail or telephone.
  • Let the relationship grow.

I have only known Victorio for about two years, but in that time I’ve come to know him as a man with integrity, humour and professionalism.  Don’t take my word for it though. Meet him, engage with him, and help him.  I bet you will find something useful for yourself in the process.