Interview and Dining Etiquette

This week, the Career Center would like to talk to you about etiquette. We know, we know…that word can be very intimidating to someone—it seems so proper. However, etiquette is really just an umbrella term for a set of all good manners—it is the definition of your respect and consideration for others, and it is quite possibly one of the most important factors to keep in mind whenever you have a job interview or a potential job-related dinner.

Perhaps you are in a situation where your resume has landed you a job interview. First of all, congratulations—that is the first huge step in the process of obtaining that job you want. But now, you are going to have to walk your talk. Your resume presented who you are, but your etiquette (good or bad) will ultimately show them.

Maybe your interview etiquette appears to be in tip-top shape—you can hold appropriate eye contact, you know how to dress appropriately, you assert a firm and honest handshake, and you are well versed and ready for anything they throw your way. What happens if you are asked to dinner by these potential employers? Are you going to know which fork to use first—is it outside -in or inside-out? Are you familiar with whether you are supposed to pass the salt and pepper together or just one at a time? What about eating—how would you go about eating that preliminary bread that they set out for all to enjoy? Even more, what about the speed of your eating style—have you ever thought about how eating fast may possibly make someone feel uncomfortable?

Your situation may be one where you have gone through an interview/dinner with a potential employer. What now? Should you send a letter? Should you call them up to talk to them about how you did? What is the appropriate action to take to ensure that you are being respectful and considerate?

If any or all of these scenarios spark your curiosity or make you feel like you may not be prepared for an upcoming interview or professional dinner setting, please stop by the University of Maine Career Center. We have several handouts on interview etiquette (behavior and attire) and dining etiquette, and our career counselors would be more than happy to talk with you and address any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t have time for an appointment? Perhaps you could check out some of the latest and greatest on appropriate interview attire for women and men. Visiting these websites can be helpful if you are unable to come in and visit with one of our career counselors or grab some of our handouts.

To make an appointment, either stop by our office on the third floor of Memorial Union or call 581-1359. Our hours are 8am – 4:30pm Monday through Friday.

Have a good week!