Etiquette for Hire: Part 2 – Interviews & Resignations

Adrian Fernand – Australia’s most stylish Agony Uncle – takes a look at the world of hiring and firing in Etiquette for Hire. Part 2 answers those all-important questions on interviews, follow-ups and how to resign in style.

The Interview

If you’re fortunate enough to get to the interview stage, view it as meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. Be on your best behaviour and you won’t put a foot wrong. Be warm but not overly informal, don’t sit down without being offered first or asking, show genuine interest even if you’re beyond bored and whatever you do, don’t put your feet on the table. Oh and for God’s sake, iron your shirt beforehand.

One thing to remember is that if you provide references after an interview, always make sure you inform your nominated referees immediately. There’s nothing more awkward for the referee than receiving a call or the employer making the call and one party not knowing about the other. Worse still is nominating a former manager with whom you never had a good relationship who isn’t going to give you a sterling review, or worse, not remember you at all. Now why would you set yourself up for failure?

The Follow-Up

In the old days, in order to show you were interested in a job you would call every alternate day, and sometimes put on muffled voices just to get past the receptionist. Finally when a prospective employer relented and you’d beaten them into submission only then would you be considered for a role. In employment, the hungriest always eat first.

These days, people stare at their phone like it’s a foreign object when it actually rings, but it’s a valuable tool in communicating your interest. If you’re waiting to hear back after a job interview or would like to follow up on your original application, there is nothing to say you can’t pick up the phone and place a polite call. Emails can always be avoided and forgotten, but human resources managers can’t dodge phone calls forever. When you get through, politely introduce yourself and tell them what you’re calling about straightaway. Don’t seem too eager, don’t ask too many questions and know when to pull back. If a police officer is at your front door with a restraining order, you’ve probably overdone it.

The Resignation

If you’re lucky in your endeavours, then finally the time will come for you to say goodbye.

While for some, exits will be tinged with sadness, whereas most of us would prefer to skip out of the joint under the cloak of darkness, potted plant and a drawerful of stolen office supplies firmly secured under our arm.

Whatever the sentiment, ensure that your resignation letter has the right amount of professionalism and appears to be heartfelt, even if you’d prefer to set your former office alight . You should never burn your bridges as you never know when you might encounter a colleague or a former boss further in your career. Or, if you’re going to go down in a blaze of glory, you better make it really good and even YouTube viral sensation-worthy—like this guy:

Video reproduced from YouTube / Joey DeFrancesco
Article originally published on

Etiquette for Hire: Part 1 – Job Applications

Adrian Fernand – Australia’s most stylish Agony Uncle – takes a look at the world of hiring and firing in Etiquette for Hire. Part 1 answers those all-important questions on job applications and preparing for interviews.

There comes a time in life when one just has to move on, and I’m not talking about skinny jeans and the axing of The Real Housewives of New York. When seeking a new job, the process can be a little daunting; what with the cover letters, Curriculum Vitae and the constant stream of indifferent recruiters.

The whole affair can make you want to throw the towel in and retire to a Buddhist temple, where orange robes and mung beans are always de rigeuer. If you’re not quite prepared to trade your polished brogues or court shoes for toe-proud sandals, then don’t despair, take the lead from the monks’ greatest virtue: patience.

Of course, having sheer talent is also helpful when seeking alternative employment, but having the skills to sell yourself long on paper will get you ahead. There was once a time when written correspondence was an indispensable attribute of any lady or gentleman, but that went out when you could have a pizza or sexual liaison delivered with just one SMS. Nowadays, if you ask someone to write you a letter with full block text and correct salutations, you’ll be lucky if you receive a torn piece of paper with illegible scrawl about paperclips.

So in an age of fast communication, correct correspondence will make your application stand out in a rather large lake of mediocrity. By following the basic rules of etiquette, not only can you be assertive, but you can always be perceived as being polite and thus, employable.

The Application

Chances are that a bunch of old crones like those on the left are going to be the ones examining your application, so if you can appeal to their old-fashioned sensibilities, it’s likely it will give you a leading edge.

Whether you’re applying online or by mail, the rules are still the same: be polite, succinct and most of all, confident.

Try and find out the name of the person handling the applications of the particular role you’re applying for and address them by their title and their surname; for example, ‘Dear Mr Smith’, rather than ‘Dear John’. Salutations like ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’ are somewhat antiquated and should be reserved for situations when you don’t know their surname or formal occasions. You should always sign your letter with ‘Yours sincerely,’ and your name in this particular situation.

If you’re unable to find out the name of the person handling applications or if a general email address is supplied, then opt for ‘To Whom It May Concern:’, which is always followed by a colon and not a comma. When signing off, you should always use ‘Yours faithfully,’ which is easily remembered by thinking, “I’ve no idea who I’m sending this to and I’m putting faith in the Universe that it will be delivered where it’s meant to go even though I haven’t a hope in Hades in retrieving it should it go awry.” Easy, no?

Mr Agony Uncle
Etiquette Hatquarters

RE: Manservant Application

Dear Mr Uncle

I wish to apply for the above-mentioned position of Manservant. I believe I’m an ideal candidate as I am capable of washing, drying and folding an entire rugby team’s guernseys in forty-seven minutes and thirty-two seconds.

I trust you will consider my application.

Yours sincerely,

Pedro Wilson

Before the Interview

We live in a digital age, which thankfully makes job applications simpler to cut and paste, however, it presents a whole other smattering of issues. If you love the Internet, particularly sharing on the Internet, you need to perform an audit on your social media activity and see just what mightn’t appeal to a prospective employer. Google yourself if you haven’t already and see just what turns up. Now just might be the time to shut down that Neo-Nazi Facebook group and lock your pro-ana Twitter profile.

That said, it’s a good time to unlock your LinkedIn profile and bolster your credentials. Although, before you make any dramatic changes, review your privacy and profile update publishing settings—when someone suddenly updates their LinkedIn profile it usually means they’re looking for a new job; so take control and keep things mum, particularly if you’re connected to your boss.

Lastly, but possibly most importantly, make sure you have working voicemail on your mobile phone. Recruiters and prospective employers will always call during business hours and often from private numbers, so ensure that you have a professional-sounding outgoing message that can take the messages of wonderful job offers and heavy breathing of asthmatic perverts.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of Etiquette for Hire where Adrian Fernand will explore the world of interviews, follow-ups and resignations.

Article originally published on

How to Improve Your CV

Did you ever wonder what happens to your CV once you apply to a job? You finally find the perfect job posting, you’ve read the job description a hundred times and KNOW you can do the job; it’s the dream job you’ve always wanted.

So, you sit down and write a carefully crafted cover letter outlining your skills and how you would be the perfect fit for the job. You edit your CV to better showcase your skills as they relate to the position. Finally, after spell and grammar check, a last minute once over; you submit your CV through the online application.

You did it! You applied! You just know as soon as the corporate recruiter reads your CV you’re going to get a phone call. In fact it’s been 15 minutes since you submitted your CV, you should be getting a call any minute…

As a corporate recruiter, more often than not I find that people applying for jobs through our website are not qualified for the position they are applying for. On average I would say that two thirds of applicants for any given position are not a fit. While they may state a good case in their cover letter as to why they would like the job and think they are a good fit for the position; in reality based upon the experience listed on their CV they have no relevant experience and it is really more like a “dream job.”

As both a professional CV writer and a corporate recruiter, I view hundreds of CVs a day and my biggest “pet peeve” is when someone applies to a job that they are not remotely qualified for. If I specifically state in my job description that the successful candidate MUST HAVE PLC programming experience or a CPA certification, I will only consider candidates that have that experience listed on their CV.

So, what can you do to increase your chances of making it through the initial screening and get your CV in front of the recruitment manager?

Make sure you pay close attention to the job description of the position you are applying for and have a “real” handle on what your skills and experience are.

Make sure you edit your CV and create a new cover letter specific for each position, bringing out the qualifications you have that match what the job description is asking for.

Utilize key words found in the job description and work them in to your CV and cover letter. If the job description states that a requirement is to have PLC programming and troubleshooting experience, detail that not only in your cover letter but also in your CV, giving specific information as to what types of PLC’s you worked with and what your responsibilities were. If the position requires a CPA certification and an MBA, again, list these qualifications clearly.

Lastly, never be afraid to seek out and contact the company for follow up if you haven’t heard anything about your application after a week. It is perfectly acceptable to call or email to verify that your application has been received and to ask what the process is for CVs to be reviewed.

About the Guest Author
Billye Survis is a full time Corporate Recruiter for Rockwell Automation during the day, professional CV writer/blogger of CV tips at night, and superhero wife and mom 24/7. For more CV tips check out her blog.