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Job Search Etiquette IQ Test

Tags:  Interview Skills, Looking for work

One of the most difficult things about looking for a job is to understand all the unspoken rules that go along with the process. How can you make your resume win interest from recruiters? What is the appropriate way to handle a delayed interview?

Knowing the ins and outs of job search etiquette is important if you want to get the job. Test your knowledge with these eight multiple choice questions.


1) You're designing your resume. As a recent college graduate with little actual work experience, choose the sections that are in the best order for your resume.

a) Summary of Qualifications, Work Experience, Accomplishments, Education

b) Education, Work Experience, Skills, References

c) Objective, Summary of Qualifications, Education, Work Experience

d) Objective, Education, Work Experience, Skills

ANSWER: The best answer is (d) because as a new graduate it is generally recommended that you place your most recent accomplishment – your degree – at the top of your resume after your Objective. You may also want to substitute Summary of Qualifications in place of an Objective rather than using both. The general rule of thumb on References is that they should be on a separate page.

2) You arrive for your interview and are handed an application to complete. You:

a) Fill it out thoroughly. After all, that's why you got there fifteen minutes early.

b) Only fill in the sections that are not found on your resume otherwise it's just duplicating information.

c) Print your name and the date on it and then write across the front ""Please See Resume.""

d) Do nothing. You'll explain to the recruiter that applications are unproductive as all the pertinent information is already in your resume.

ANSWER: Like it or not, many companies these days use applications because they are legally binding documents which applicant's sign confirming the information they provide is true. So it shouldn't be a surprise if you are asked to complete one and it also shouldn't be a surprise that the correct answer is (a).

3) You're waiting in the lobby for the recruiter and you glance at your watch to see that it's now fifteen minutes past the time of your appointment. You:

a) Stand up and walk out without a word. If this is how they treat candidates, how do they treat employees?

b) Check with the receptionist to see if she can find out how much longer it will be.

c) Do nothing, while you quietly fume.

d) Step outside with your cell phone and call the recruiter directly to remind him you're still waiting and to see how much longer it will be.

ANSWER: While answer (b) is the courteous response, you might also choose (c), though you're better off without the fuming. However, if your choice was (a), then you need to rethink your patience level. In fact, part of the interview process may be to keep you waiting – if only for a little bit – to see how flexible and patient you are. Or it just may be that the recruiter was unexpectedly detained and by politely asking the receptionist you push the process along. However, be forewarned, that fifteen minutes is a minimal investment if this is the right position and company.

4) The recruiter concludes the initial interview by asking if you have further questions. You:

a) Say, ""Not at this time. You did a very thorough job of covering everything.""

b) Pull out two pages of questions and proceed to grill her.

c) Smile, lean in and ask, ""So when do you want me to start?""

d) Smile and ask, ""Can you tell me the next step in the process?""

ANSWER: While (a) is certainly a polite way of handling things and if you have no other questions, might be an appropriate response, if you are truly interested in pursuing this opportunity, the better answer is (d). It is polite, succinct and displays your continuing interest. While it is also acceptable to ask other questions that may not have been addressed, remember this is just an initial interview and any specific, in-depth questions related to the department or the position may be better left for the hiring manager to answer.

5) The hiring manager invites you to interview over lunch. You:

a) Order the most expensive entree on the menu figuring if you don't get the job at least you'll make them pay.

b) Arrive a little early to have time to look the menu over beforehand and know what you'll order.

c) Arrive early and wait in the bar sipping a glass of wine or an ice cold beer.

d) Arrive 10 to 15 minutes late. You don't want to seem desperate.

ANSWER: First and foremost, never arrive late to a lunch or any other interview. And while most experts recommend arriving a little early, they also suggest foregoing alcohol during a lunch interview. Finally, while it is appropriate to select an item from the menu that you will enjoy, the best option is to not make it the most expensive. Therefore, the best answer is (b).

6) You had an interview yesterday and now you wonder if you should do something further. You decide to:

a) Send a three-page letter extolling your virtues and reminding the recruiter why you are the perfect candidate.

b) Do nothing; you don't want to be remembered for being pushy.  

c) Send a short ""thank you"" note reiterating your interest and highlighting your qualifications.

d) Call the recruiter to say ""thank you"" and find out when she will be making a decision.

ANSWER: This is probably one of those issues that many people are still not clear about what to do, so many will answer (b) because the average candidate these days does nothing. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd and really leave a good lasting impression, the best answer is (c). Sending a ""thank you"" note is still a good idea even if it seems a bit ""old fashioned."" An alternative might be (d) -- call the recruiter to say ""thank you"" -- however, you risk bothering a busy recruiter. As for asking about the decision-making process, that should have been handled at the end of the interview.

7) You're invited back for another interview – the fifth one with the same company. Your response is to:

a) Set up the appointment.

b) Ask if this is the final interview or if there will be more.

c) Decline and explain that you're no longer interested.

d) Explain that another interview is fine, but after that an offer better be forthcoming.

ANSWER: It's tough when companies put you through an interview process that requires multiple steps; however, it's advantageous to you and to them to make sure there really is a fit. So take advantage of each interview by finding out more and more about the position and company. As for the proper answer, it depends. If you're sure you're still interested then (a) is the obvious choice. However, it is also appropriate to politely inquire about the rest of the process, so (b) is fine, too. And if you've decided you're fed up with it all, it may just be that (c) is the way to go. The only answer that is not appropriate is (d). Never threaten or they may just make the choice for you. And not the one you hope for.

8) You receive a call that a company wants to make you a job offer. You have several potential opportunities pending, so you:

a) Screen your calls. You knew this might happen, so you want to wait to call them back until you hear from the other companies.

b) Accept the position, but tell them you cannot start for another week. This way if you get a better offer in the meantime, you can call the first company and decline.

c) Thank them for their offer, explain that you have others pending and ask for time to consider theirs.

d) Accept immediately. As the saying goes, ""A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.""

ANSWER: Here it all comes down to what you really want. If this is truly a good offer – company, position and salary all fit with your expectations – then (d) may be your wisest choice. However, don't be afraid to follow (c), if this truly is the case. They may not want to give you a lot of time to think it over, so if you're giving this position and company honest consideration, you'll need to be flexible. You don't want to scare them off. As for (a), if you wait too long without word to them you may find you've lost your opportunity. And while (b) might seem like a smart choice that works in your favor, courtesy will take you farther in the long run.

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