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How Much Does Courtesy Count?

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A lot!

As a career coach, I field calls every week from people in job search mode wanting to expand their networks and/or do some pre-interview research.  I’m glad to meet with them to pay forward all the professional courtesies I’ve received over the years. 

But…courtesy does count!  This topic came up with a group of colleagues and here are our observations, based on our own  experiences.

LinkedIn.  Please don’t scan my list of connections and approach individuals directly.  I’d be delighted to e-introduce you and highlight some common interests.  And, when I do e-introduce you, please follow up with that person within 24-48 hours, not weeks later!  The reverse is also true.  If you contact me directly without an introduction, I’m not as likely to respond.

Be flexible.  I may need to meet with you outside the hours when I conduct my paid business activities.  Sole practitioners rarely work 9-5, Monday through Friday, so that may mean we get together early morning, late afternoon, early evening or over a weekend.       

Be on time.  This seems like such a no brainer but we’ve all had people arrive late (5 minutes is OK), not text or call and not apologize once they arrive.  If you are late, don’t assume I can stay longer than we scheduled.     

Come dressed for business.  You don’t have to put on an interview outfit but casual wear won’t cut it.  I want an idea of how you present if I’m going to recommend you to my network.    

Handshakes.  No wussy handshakes…or hand breakers either!

Bring your own questions.  I won’t know what you’re most interested in so come with the questions that are most important to you

Take your own notes.  Please don’t ask me to send you an e-mail summarizing our discussion! 

Wrap up on time.  I’ll typically schedule 30-45 minutes to meet with you.  If you’ve been late or even if our meeting is going well, please respect my time and be wready to wrap up on time.       

Freebies.  I do offer a complimentary initial consultation but, since career coaching is one of my lines of business, I do charge beyond that.   

Send a note.  A brief thank you e-mail within 24-48 hours is always appreciated.  

Individuals regularly comment on how frustrated they are with the lack of common courtesy they experience during the interview process, from not having their application acknowledged to not hearing back from the hiring manager on a timely basis after an interview.  That does happen a good deal of the time.   

But one of the ways you can stand apart from the competition is to mind your manners.  That will be noticed and may be the tie breaker…in your favour!