We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society. (Miss Manners)
Good manners soothe people in a potentially bad situation. In a positive situation good manners make everyone involved even more pleased. Manners are society’s way of helping people cope with each other.
Here are some situations and how to deal with them:
I really want this job: At the end of the interview say, “This sounds like a great opportunity. Is there anything you’ve seen today that would keep me from working for you?” Then say, “Can we set up the next step of the process right now?” They will probably say they’ll call later. That’s okay. They know you really want the job. Send an email and ground mail thank you letter.
In the interview, I realized I don’t want this job: Never walk out of an interview unless they are asking you to do something illegal or immoral. You may be interviewing with this person in 5 years for a different job. Companies change. Opportunities change. If you get the feeling the job is absolutely not for you, stop the interviewer and ask very specific questions and explore your reasons in the interview. Don’t let your interviewer bypass your concerns. They may have solid answers, they may not. Once you are sure the job is NOT for you, look at the interview as a network building opportunity. You may have a chance to talk with a manager who will have a different hiring need, and get the job you really want. Networking for an extra half hour in an interview is easier than getting a manager to go to lunch with you.
They ask how much they have to pay you: Answer them, “I really like this company. The opportunity seems like a good one. I’d like to go to work for you. In my previous job I earned $(amount), I certainly wouldn’t want to work for less. What I would like is to entertain your best offer.”
You are concerned they won’t pay enough: Ask the recruiter or HR person what the pay range is for the job. Don’t ask the hiring manager about money unless you become convinced they won’t pay near enough. Better to ask, “Considering what I have done previously, how will this job continue to challenge me?” That lets the interviewer know you are concerned that the job sounds too easy.
You want to know about vacation time and benefits: Wait a bit. The first interview is absolutely NOT the place to ask. If at some point you talk with an HR person who is already explaining that stuff, ask away. If you are working with a recruiter, ask him. Otherwise, when they are offering you the job is early enough. You don’t have any bargaining power until they have made a decision to hire you.
They ask an improper question: You don’t have to answer. Better to try to understand what they want to know. Reply, “Why do you ask?” Another way is to answer the underlying question. If they ask, “How old are you?” You can answer, “I’m in perfect health. I haven’t missed a day of work in years.” That gives them the information they need without answering a question you may dislike.
I will be late for my interview: stop and call the person you are to meet. Apologize and tell them when you expect to arrive. Add 10 minutes to the time so they are pleasantly surprised when you arrive earlier than you said you would.
I don’t want to go to the interview: call the person who set up the interview, the recruiter, HR person or manager, and explain why. Explain your true reasons and then listen. After a couple of minutes of discussion, finalize your decision to go or not. Let the person who set up the interview tell the people who would interview you.
You don’t want them to call your boss for a reference: Just tell them you don’t want to jeopardize your current job. They will understand.
The basic ideas are: 1. Ask questions at the right time. 2. Let people know your concerns in as positive a manner as possible.