Should you Facebook friend your boss?
Your first round interview was a smash hit. How should you follow up?
Stumped? Better keep reading.
Especially if you failed last month’s business etiquette quiz.
In today’s workplace, people skills trump other business skills. Mastering your business manners is a crucial career survival strategy.
Ignore it, and you may soon find yourself pounding the pavement with millions of other people. But take these simple etiquette lessons to heart, and chances are you’ll not only get to keep your job but also vastly improve your odds of moving up in the organisation.
If you didn’t know the answers to at least five of these questions, your career could be stalled.
Vicky Oliver is the author of three books, including the bestselling 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions. These questions are an excerpt from her latest book, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions
1. Your boss diligently thanks workers for their contributions to a project in public, but for some reason all of the clients assume that he's the one who's propping up the whole department. How can you get the credit you deserve?
A. You can't. It's your job to make your boss look good. When you're the boss, you can take everyone else's credit and they won't be able to do anything about it either.
B. Imitate your boss's behaviour and thank the people who worked hard on a project. Your boss is clearly the leader of the project, but giving yourself a leadership role by distributing thanks makes you look like the team captain, and puts you in a position of power.
C. Go up to each client individually and list the specific contributions that you made to the project, especially the ones they seem to be attributing to your boss. That way, they will be clear on how crucial you are to the project!
Oddly enough, credit tends to trickle up in organisations.
Instead of worrying about the credit that you're not getting, start seeking ways to give others the credit they deserve. Chances are, your leadership will be appreciated and recognised… and people will love working with you!
A. Always under dressed. It's much better to look casual and comfortable than too uptight in the modern business setting.
B. Always overdressed. Even if you stand out, it'll show that you're serious about making a good impression.
C. Under-dressed, but conservatively clad if you're a woman. Overdressed if you're a man.
A. Getting on the horn with your headhunter and asking her to call the company. After all, she's the one getting the big commission.
B. Sending a handwritten Thank You Note.
C. Sending a Thank You Email within 24 hours and asking your headhunter to follow up separately.
If a headhunter is representing you, she should call her contact at the company within 24 hours to find out your interviewer's impression of you and follow up with any next steps.
But also take it upon yourself to reach out to your interviewer directly. recognise that the in-person interview is only the first step in building a relationship. Hopefully that relationship will blossom into a bonafide job offer. Until it does, follow up on any loose ends (questions your interviewer may have had during the meeting that weren't fully answered to his satisfaction) and be accessible.
Email is better than a Thank You Note in many cases because if you're incredibly lucky, your interviewer will hit it back to you and then you're in a dialogue with the person, not just a monologue. Send one email the same day of the meeting. Wait at least a week before following up a second time, and if you still don't hear anything, wait two weeks before the next communique.
A. Yes, because if you don't you won't show up on his friend list. And then he'll be insulted.
B. No. It's a surefire way for them to find out information about your personal life that will incriminate you professionally.
C. No. It's not like he'll ever find out!
If you don't friend your boss, you will inevitably have to explain WHY you didn't, and that will be one incredibly awkward discourse.
Just remember that he's one of your friends and don't post about what a miserable day you're having at the office!
5. Your boss leaves you an all-important voicemail. But his message is an alphabet soup of confusion. How should you proceed?
A. Call him back and ask him to clarify. Leave a message if you need to. It's ok to delay the project until you hear from him.
B. Ignore it and move on with the project. If he had a real problem he would have told you in person.
C. Guess what he said and commit your suspicion to e-mail.
6. One of your coworkers constantly interrupts you during staff meetings. You want her to stop this outlandish behaviour and feel strongly that she should be reprimanded. What's the protocol of using the bcc function on your email and blind copying her supervisors?
A. Do it. It's a smart way to keep her bosses aware of her behaviour so that they can address it with her if it persists.
B. Don't do it! It's bound to get back to her, and will give you a sneaky reputation.
You don't want to be a pushover, but you also don't want to offend your client. If he insists that you order a dessert, claiming that you're watching your weight is usually a good way to back him off.
If it does not work, simply push the food around your plate. He will feel like you listened to him and you will feel like you listened to your inner voice that told you that the $60 million account was the real dessert.
8. Your colleague has put on 40 pounds in three months. You assume that she must be pregnant. There could be no other reasonable explanation! Is it alright to confirm your suspicion?
A. Of course! If she's visibly pregnant it's insulting to ignore it. Congratulate her!
B. No. Wait until she brings it up.
C. Ask around in the office and see if anyone else knows for sure. It might start a rumour if she's not pregnant, but at least you'll ultimately get the truth.
Most women will not take kindly to your asking, even if it turns out that your presumption was correct.
If you're right, the woman in question may be waiting to discuss it with her supervisor before she tells the whole office, and if you're wrong, you've let her know that she looks fat! Chances are, she won't appreciate your honesty.
If you don't feel enthusiastic, try faking it until you feel it. Answering negatively could deflate their own moods.
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