Business Etiquette You Should Know

Business Etiquette You Should Know

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In a competitive business world, social graces are just as important as technical skills. Cincy Chic put together some tips for a few professional experiences that may put you in an etiquettical quandary.

So You Have an Interview
We all know that the interview is the single most important thing for getting a job. It’s common sense that the first impression is the most important and your interview is the first time your employer is going to see you. Let’s look at some dos and don’ts for that dream job interview!

Some employers are now meeting their potential employees at restaurants, making the interviewing process even more difficult. Instead of just worrying about your interview, you have to be sure your table manners are up to par. Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

  • Check out the restaurant ahead of time. You’ll know what to expect when you get there and what’s on the menu.
  • This may seem like common sense, but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t order something messy. Stay away from pasta and meat with bones still in it. The last thing you want to do is be slurping spaghetti as you talk about your qualifications.
  • Don’t forget the basics! Keep your elbows off the table and sit up straight!
  • Don’t know who should sit down first or which bread plate to eat from? Click here for a list of interview-dining etiquette tips.

When you go to your interview, don’t be too early or too late. Earlier than 15 minutes and later than five minutes before is a safe range. Earlier or later than those times and you will either be too early or appear to be late.

What if you have a phone interview lined up? Some companies are doing phone interviews before meeting someone in person. Here are some tips to impress through the phone alone:


  • If you share the line with others, make sure they know that you are expecting a call from a potential employer and arrange to get any messages. The last thing you want to do is miss the call and the message!
  • Turn call-waiting off so your call isn’t interrupted.
  • Clear the room – evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV. Close the door.
  • Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.

Moving in to Your New Space
Anyone who has ever had to sit in a cramped cubicle knows that it can be absolutely demoralizing to stare at blank grey walls every day. Most companies encourage you to decorate your workspace, but you’ll want to keep some points in mind:



  • Bringing in pictures of friends and family is fine, just make sure your pictures don’t have any foul language or gestures in them. If you wouldn’t do or say it in front of your boss (or even if you might) it doesn’t go on your cubbys walls!
  • Get a houseplant. Adding some green to your workspace will absorb some pollutants and give you some fresh air.
  • If needed (and permitted) add lighting. If your desk is in a dim corner and it gets hard to see in the shadows, get a dim desk lamp to help brighten up your space.
  • Please, for the sake of your co-workers, keep it clean. No one wants to look at your desk with three-week old coffee cups, food wrappers and paper everywhere. If you want to be a slob at home, go for it, but leave it there.
  • Use your inside voice. You know that person whose voice you hear as soon as he walks in the door and you don’t particularly want to hear what he has to say? Don’t be that person. Try to be as courteous as possible to your co-workers. They’re trying to work as well.
  • Avoid speakerphone unless you are in a closed office. And by closed I mean behind real walls with a real door that is shut. Office cubes are not the place to use your speakerphone. The entire office does not want to hear your conversation.

Don’t Pollute the Atmosphere
Scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, or so says the Old Spice Red Zone commercials. If you want your co-workers to remember you with a smile, don’t be the one bringing sauerkraut to work or wearing the strongest perfume you can find and dumping it on your head. (For the record, body spray does not count as showering.)

As we learned in this week’s feature article, the golden rule of life is the golden rule of etiquette. Think about the things that your co-workers do to annoy you and try not to do the same.

If you have tips for other Cincy Chic readers, post them to our message boards!