Job Search Etiquette: Common Mistakes, Part 2

In my previous blog on Job Search Etiquette, I warned you about 3 common mistakes that may disinvite you from a job interview. Today, I would like to talk about one more etiquette mistake that some job seekers make in their job search process, and I would like AU students not to make it, ever! This concerns appropriate behavior after a job interview. If you do want the job, hopefully, you know what you need to do right after the job interview: send personalized hand-written thank you cards or/and e-mails to each interviewer–ASAP. But what should you do if you’ve decided not to pursue this job opportunity? You may have gotten a better job offer somewhere else, or you didn’t like the interviewers, or you’ve changed your mind about this job altogether. Do you let the employer know about your intentions or let them figure it out because you, for example, won’t follow up on your promise to send the employer a list of your references? The former is the right action, and the latter is a job search etiquette blunder that may have unpleasant consequences for you in the future. It is considered a common courtesy to inform your interviewer of your intentions, whatever they may be. You should send an e-mail, or call them directly, thanking for the opportunity and letting them know about your decision.  Communicate promptly, directly, and politely!  If you don’t do it there is a good chance that the interviewers will remember you as someone who lacks professional manners.

A bad reputation may follow you for a long time. It may hurt you when you least expect it. Professionals from different organizations working in the same field may know and interact with each other. You may run into your former interviewers at conferences or other events. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a chance of networking with this person, instead of feeling uncomfortable around him/her?  I know of a student whose unprofessional behavior with one employer ruined her chances with her preferred organization. The student had interviews in two separate organizations. Her interviewer in the first organization happened to be married to the interviewer in the second organization. The student decided that she wasn’t interested in the first organization but didn’t let them know, leaving their e-mails and phone messages unanswered. She wanted the job with the second organization. The husband and wife talked over dinner about their work and found out that the ambitious young woman whom the wife was considering for the job was the same candidate who lacked common courtesy with the husband’s organization. The wife reconsidered her hiring decision because she started doubting the candidate’s interpersonal and communication skills. It’s a very small world. Cherish your reputation and act accordingly! Be enthusiastic and assertive when you want the job, while exhibiting courtesy and good manners in all professional encounters, including good-byes.