Business etiquette: the dreaded interview

It’s important to be fully prepared for a job interview or you might find yourself back at square one. Believe it or not, employers will often decide your fate in the first 20 seconds of the meeting.

When it comes to preparing for the workplace, it’s almost like mathematics, says Julie Blais-Comeau, The Sticky Situations blogger for the Huffington Post and author of Etiquette: Confidence and Credibility.

“To me, it’s almost like the mathematical formula E= c2,” said Blais-Comeau. “Etiquette will give you self-confidence and client credibility and for someone that’s about to begin their career, it will give them the confidence to succeed.”

Business etiquette isn’t just about the way you behave at the dinner table. Social customs teach people how to conduct themselves in social and professional environments. From board meetings to network events, business etiquette will benefit a person when it comes to presenting themselves positively to future employers or clients.

“If any student wants to leave school and get a job, business etiquette is an integral part of it,” said Jacob Cooke, a bachelor of applied business student at Algonquin College. “It starts the very moment that you apply for a job and carries through the entire interview process. If you don’t have the business etiquette skills to adequately present yourself, no employer is going to take a chance with you.”

Even in an international setting, students with business etiquette skills have an advantage when it comes to finding a career.

Suzanne Nourse, founder and director of The Protocol School of Ottawa, says that it takes a lot more than just researching the country you will be living in when applying to work abroad.

“Basically the world is divided into two ways of thinking and approaching business. In Canada, the United States and Western Europe, we don’t care about relationships so much. When we meet clients we are happy to get down to business. In a lot of the world, we cannot do business until we have a relationship.” said Nourse. “It’s not just learning about the country or the language, it’s about learning ‘how do they think.'”

At all levels of industry and profession, having the proper social etiquette will help you succeed, get ahead and perhaps one day land your dream position.

As a well-known etiquette expert, Blais-Comeau offers classes and presentations as well as one-on-one coaching.

If you’re interested in taking a course or two to brush up on your social skills, Suzanne Nourse runs the Protocol School of Ottawa that also offers these specialty courses.