Telephone Interactions

  • Prepare for phone interviews in the same thoughtful manner you would prepare for other professional correspondence by preparing some thoughts in advance and learning about the organization.
  • Avoid the use of slang or other non-professional speech and gum chewing
  • Enunciate and remember to smile (no, they can’t see it, but they can definitely hear it).
  • Practice your phone etiquette by setting up a mock phone interview with Career Services.
  • Be sure to have a professional sounding voice message on your cell phone or answering machine.
  • Leave professional and succinct voice mail messages.

Email Interactions

  • Be sure to comport yourself in a professional manner.
  • Avoid slang, abbreviations (e.g. OMG, LOL, TTYL, etc.) and unprofessional signatures.
  • ALWAYS PROOF READ AND SPELL CHECK! Nothing creates a negative impression faster than grammar, spelling or other typos in your emails. You may want to send a sample to yourself first to be sure you haven’t missed anything.
  • Write professional and succinct email messages.

Meeting Over Meals

  • Retain your professional demeanor during a meal. Even if it seems to be a more relaxed setting, employers are still forming opinions about you.
  • Keep your conversation professional and retain your articulate style. During comfortable interactions like this, it is easy to reveal information that may not contribute positively to your candidacy.
  • Table Layout: As a rule of thumb silverware selections progress from outside towards the plate. Salad and bread plates are placed to your left and above the fork and drinks are to the right above the knife and spoon.
  • Select a meal that is easy to eat since you may be talking more than other guests at the table.
  • After the meal, thank the hosts for treating you to it.
  • Seniors - consider attending the annual Wine, Dine and Act Fine Etiquette Dinner in the fall.

The Overnight Stay

  • If you are unclear as to whether an employer will support the costs of your visit or an overnight stay, it is appropriate to ask in advance of your visit.
  • If amenities, like room service or snacks are included, be thoughtful and professional and deal with the employers resources as if they were your own.
  • It is courteous to thank the host for the night’s stay and any other amenities offered.

Thank You Notes

  • Always write a thank you note following an interview or networking visit.
  • Demonstrate your appreciation for the individual’s support and advice and thank him for his time.
  • Use names and titles and write to all who met with you or, if you met many people, you can write one thank you note and simply refer to the group in it.
  • A hand-written, typed business note or email are all appropriate. A hand-written note is often especially appreciated but email may make more sense if you met with someone who travels a lot and may not be back in the office for a while.

Accepting a Job Offer

  • A verbal agreement is considered as good as signing a contract so don’t accept an offer without careful consideration.
  • Do NOT accept an offer if you plan to continue interviewing or if you have unanswered questions.
  • When you accept or decline an offer, do so in writing.
  • Even when you decline an offer, the professionalism of your style of communication may build bridges in the future.
  • When you accept an offer, notify all other employers with which you had interviewed and withdraw any outstanding applications.

Above adapted from information provided by Career Services, University of Pennsylvania.

Related Resources:

QuintCareers Job-Hunting Etiquette Quiz - see how much you know!

QuintCareers 10 Tips for Job-Hunting Etiquette