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A survey entitled “Land of the Rude: Americans in a New Survey Say Lack of Respect is Getting Worse,” by author Samantha DuPont for Public Agenda, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, reports that most Americans surveyed in a study indicate that rudeness is on the rise in our society, and 41% percent admit they too are sometimes part of the problem.

Among the report’s key findings were: 79% of Americans say lack of respect and courtesy should be regarded as a serious national problem; 73% believe Americans treated one another with greater respect in the past; and 62% say that witnessing rude or disrespectful behavior bothers them a lot.

Further, the study indicates that in the area of customer service, 81% said too many businesses cut corners on hiring, forcing customers to wait for service, or experience rude and disrespectful conduct on the part of a company’s employees.

Yet individuals who utilize good manners, and treat others with respect, are often the employees who are most successful, and even more important, most remembered by customers. Truly a lesson for the importance of the “Golden Rule.”

Therefore, when walking into an interview situation, good manners may set you apart from the other candidates.

When entering a job interview situation, good manners should include old-fashioned words such as “Please” and “Thank You.” For example, if the Decision Maker in a Job Interview situation asks you to be seated, a polite “Thank You” would be appropriate.

Dress up, rather than dress down. Give heed to your personal appearance. Look like someone who is worth talking to. Dress for the position you want. If you want the Operations Manager position, dress like an Operations Manager, not a foolish individual with tattoos and a nose-ring. If you dress up, and the company encourages a casual atmosphere, you can always remove your jacket, and become casual. However, if you dress down, and the company utilizes a professional dress code, you have a problem!

Yet even companies with a casual work atmosphere, that is, companies who allow employees to dress in a casual manner each and every day, frequently expect you to dress up for the job interview. To dress up for a job interview is always your safest bet.

Men or Women: Wear a dark blue of dark grey plain 100% wool suit, or a quality blend. Black Shoes is best for such an outfit. A conservative shirt or blouse, with white being the safest color. And remember, the tie does for the gentleman what a scarf around-the-neck of a lady can do. Do not wear a loud or bombastic tie or scarf, keep it conservative.

Regardless of your political affiliation, view how the male or female politicians dress. Look at how the news anchors dress when delivering the 6pm news.

Dress to fit the company’s dress standard. Ask, “How should I dress for the interview?”

“The first 10 words are more important than your next ten thousand.” said Elmer Wheeler in “Tested Sentences That Sell.” Frequently the first question in the job interview process is: “Tell me about yourself” or “What is your background?” which is essentially the same question. Rather than drone on for 10 minutes about where you were born and your childhood, answer such a question with what the Interviewer wants to hear. If you are interviewing for an operations management position, your “Verbal Résumé” may be something like:

“I am looking for a position in operations management. I have more than eleven years experience in operations management. I also have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration.

My greatest strength is my organizational ability. For example, at XLB, I reorganized the company’s order entry system, with an outcome that produced much faster access to our orders-in-process. This resulted in increased productivity throughout the company.

My most recent position was Operations Manager for XLB Corp in San Diego.”

If you have researched the company prior to the interview, and you certainly should, you may use the accomplishments of the company, or the interviewer, if known, to put the interviewer at ease. Get the interviewer into a positive pattern of saying “yes.”

Have a referral? Know someone who works for the company? Judicious “name dropping” can help establish rapport.

If you start the interview with an Attention Getter (“I saw a positive news article about your company that said....”), make it brief. Avoid humor, it can backfire on you.

Although it is common for the interviewer to shake your hand, let him/her set the pace. Most expect it; others do not. And please, when you shake hands, give a full-hand, FIRM hand shake. Please, no limp-wrist, or gently shaking the fingers of the interviewer. A weak hand shake means a weak personality.

Following the interview, be sure to send via email or snail-mail a simple “Thank You.” And if the position is an excellent fit for your background as well as for the company, write a follow-up letter that tells the interviewer why you are such an excellent fit, and send it within one week. Again, send the “Thank You” first, followed by the follow-up letter a few days later.

And remember Rule #1: “They must like you in order to hire you.”

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