HashOut: 2007/10/01
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True Tales of Job Hunting

Office casual may be in, but etiquette still counts in interviews. Some tips:

Turn off your phone. While he waited, one candidate called his mum to tell her about how the dentist fixed his gums, says Anne Maxfield, president of a Manhattan personnel search firm. When a manager finally greeted him, he said, "I'll be with you in a few minutes."

Proofread letters. A candidate at Food & Wine magazine wrote post-interview thank-yous, but carelessness did her in. "She got the name right on one letter," says editor-in-chief Dana Cowin. "The other said: 'Dear Blah Blah.'"

Do you homework. To break the ice at one large company, candidate Fred Neurohr asked, "Is Ed McMahon around a lot?" He got no response but persisted. "I bet he's exciting at the Christmas party." Finally, his interviewer broke the news: "He works for our competitor."

Check your zipper. Linda Gilleran, a consultant for Hewlett-Packard, once left an interview thinking she had made a good impression. Outside, she says, "I looked down to find my fly open wit just the fluttering silk of my underwear between me and the world." She didn't get the job.
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