Corporate life and etiquettes start from first impression. And first impression begins with dressing sense. But on the crucial day while you go for an important meeting or interview and there is nothing more discouraging than to open your closet door to find that you have nothing to wear. Therefore, a planned outfit is a must when you are looking for a meeting or a job. It is important to have one well fitting and coordinated “corporate outfit” because you never know when an opportunity to interview for a job will come your way.
Do find out about the company you’re interviewing with. Call the Personnel Department and find out the dress requirements and dress appropriately. Call the organization where you are applying for a job. Ask about the dress code and recommended clothing to wear.
You could say, “I have an interview with ................. in the .................. department for a position as an ..................... . Could you please tell me what would be the appropriate dress for this interview?
It will be easier and quicker to get the items you need if you plan ahead. The less you have to spend, the more important it is to plan. If you have a limited budget, borrow something from a relative or a friend. Looking good does not have to cost a fortune.
Grooming Checklist for the Interview Day
Bath or shower on the morning of the interview.
Brush and floss your teeth. Use mouth wash.
Your outfit should be clean and pressed. Your undergarments and other accessories should be ready.
Shoes should be polished. Checks to make certain the heels are not run-over.
Does jewelry match? Is it conservative and tasteful?
Are nails and hands clean and neat?
Wear cologne, but wear it very lightly.
Hair done and neat. Bring a comb with you just in case.
For women: Apply makeup lightly. Bring powder and or lipstick to freshen up before the interview.
For men: Be freshly shaven.
Take a wristwatch with you to keep track of the time, even if it is an inexpensive one.
Being on time for the interview is of utmost importance.
You only have one chance to make a good first impression! A person will size you up in a matter of 15 seconds as you walk into the room! What you wear says a whole lot about who you are, or at least who you are presenting yourself to be. Whether you like it or not, the first impression that you make is visual. This means paying attention to every little detail - from head to toe - is important.
Appearance can make the difference in getting or not getting a job. Correct appearance can be your competitive advantage over someone else. With first impressions, there is no erase button so make certain that the first impression is a positive one. Potential employers size you up based on how you look and how you carry yourself.
So, pick the package that says what you want the employer to think: “This person cares about how they look. This person is serious about finding a job.”
Do you know how a person evaluates you?
A person evaluates an interviewee on the following basis: 55% body language and appearance, 38% verbal tone, 7% verbal content.
Clothing Do’s and Don’ts
The following are general guidelines for successful interview dressing:
Do wear clean, ironed clothes.
Do empty pockets – beware of bulging keys and tinkling change.
Don’t wear loud, bright colors such as greens, reds or purples.
These colors can be used sparingly as accents or accessories.
Don’t wear jeans or t-shirts
Don’t wear ripped jeans.
Do wear buttoned shirts, leaving only one or two buttons open at most, not showing chest.
Don’t wear sports clothes with emblems. Avoid clothing with large designer labels.
Do wear a tie if possible. Make certain that it is knotted firmly, not loosely around the shirt collar.
Do wear traditional daytime fabrics. Avoid wearing satins or leather.
Accessories Do’s and Don’ts
Do wear clean, conservative, and polished shoes.
Don’t wear more than one rings.
Don’t wear any body piercing paraphernalia (earrings, nose rings, or eyebrow rings)
Don’t wear baseball caps or sunglasses.
Don’t wear athletic shoes, no matter how clean and new. They are considered inappropriate for an interview.
Don’t wear earrings. If you normally wear one, take it out.
Don’t wear chains or necklaces.
Do shine your shoes.
Do wear complimentary and stylish ties. This is one piece of garment that can be eye-catching.
Don’t wear sandals.
How to Tie a Tie?
Do you know how to tie a tie? Make certain that you practice before the day of the interview or have someone help you.
CORPORATE GROOMING DO’S AND DON’TS FOR MEN
Do wear your hair clean and styled neatly.
Do use deodorant.
Do not use a lot of cologne.
Do not have dirty fingernails no matter what. Trim nails and scrub hands if necessary.
Do cover tattoos wherever possible.
Do not smoke, chew gum or spit tobacco.
Do shave your facial hair. If you wear a beard, it should be neatly trimmed.
Moustache should also be trimmed.
Maintain good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day, and use a good mouthwash. For the office, carry a small bottle of mouthwash to be used after lunch, snacks etc.
After having coffee/tea, wait for a while and then rinse mouth well with water to remove the sugar after-effects on the teeth.
Smoking, tobacco, and guthka spoil breath and teeth. Avoid totally.
Keep at least 4 pairs of socks to use throughout the week. Change your socks every day, and wash the used one, especially in summer.
Socks and shoes smell, and smell bad. Keep at least two pairs of shoes, and air them out daily before wearing them. Use powder on the feet to avoid smells.
Hygiene and Skin Care
Hygiene is an ongoing task.
Bath or shower daily. Rinse or wash your face at least two times a day.
Brush and floss daily. Use mouthwash or rinse with diluted baking soda if mouthwash is not available.
Drink plenty of water to keep your insides clean. This will also help to keep your skin fresh on the outside.
Remove underarm and leg hair regularly. Also, remove any facial hairs as they appear. A depilatory or a bleaching cream may be needed if you have heavy facial growth.
Wear very little or no perfume. Mild deodorants or cologne is ok if you tend to perspire.
Cover tattoos during working hours.
Hands and Feet
Your hands talk for you! They should be clean and smooth. Keep a small bottle of lotion to keep your hands moisturized to avoid dryness and flakiness.
Keep your nails clean and trimmed, especially long nails.
Nail colour should either match clothes or be neutral. If partly chipped off, remove it totally.
If hands tend to sweat, keep hanky or tissue handy especially if you have to shake hands.
Wear comfortable well-fitting shoes. Otherwise the shoes will pinch not only your feet but also your face!
Have more than one pair of shoes so that airing can be done to remove any smells.
In summer, dry feet thoroughly, especially between toes, and use talcum powder to prevent any smells.
Give yourself a manicure from time to time.
Footwear is best matched with the colour of the handbag; otherwise with salwar, churidar, or trousers. It is good to have one hand bag and footwear of matching neutral colours.
With western formals, wear closed shoes or sandals.
With Indian wear, wear good slippers or strapped sandals.
The reason for cosmetics is to make you look prettier and highlight your best features.
Do learn how to apply makeup properly. It may take practice. Ask a friend to help you or go to a cosmetic counter in a department store for advice. Here are some guidelines:
Match foundation to skin tone for a natural look. Blend into neck area so that there is no visible line. Foundation should be applied lightly.
Face powder can also be worn with foundation or worn alone. It smoothes the skin and eliminates facial shine.
Eye makeup applied to the natural brow line is the most attractive.
If you do wear eye makeup, match or blend with your natural color. Light kajal and eyeliner is okay.
Avoid elaborate make-up and dark rouge.
Avoid shiny and elaborate bindis. If using kumkum, ensure that it doesn’t spread where not required.
Wear lipstick to compliment the color of your outfit. Use neutral shades like light brown or light maroon. But do stay away from extremely dark or bright colors or bright reds and fluorescent colors.
Ear rings, chains, bangles, rings etc, should be well harmonized with the clothes.
Avoid very large ear-rings and bangles that make a lot of noise.
Avoid wearing glass bangles and bindis with western formals.
Your hair should complement your face and complexion. Wear a conservative yet attractive style for the interview.
Wash hair once a week with mild soap or shampoo. Dry it well to avoid smells.
Part your hair so that it is away and out of your face.
Hair color should not be more than one or two shades darker or lighter than your natural hair color. Unnatural colors (burgundy, green, etc.) must be avoided.
If hair is long, tie up in plait or pony-tail while working, so as to avoid knotting and coming in the way. Loose hair is okay for social functions.
No flowers at any time during working hours.
Use very little hair oil, if at all. Perfumed oil is a no-no.
Your clothes are talking about you! What you wear expresses how you feel about yourself. What your clothes say about you is within your control. Looking your best always demands careful attention to personal grooming and the clothing that you wear.
The first and foremost rule is that you must be the center of attention, not your clothes.
Dress codes are legal guidelines that an organization uses for their employees. They are needed for the following reasons:
Safety and hygiene- Protective clothing such as steel-toed boots, helmet, hairnets, clean nails, non-flammable uniforms.
Health- Prevent harm from bacteria and germs.
Identification- For service and assistance, identifiable.
Image- Conservative, honest, efficient.
For the first few days on the job, watch how your peers and your boss dress. You will then have a sense of the right type of clothing to wear. Dressing like the boss is usually the best idea. It shows your desire to be a part of the organization.
If you are still in doubt ask for an employee manual. Most companies have written guidelines that include dress codes. Reading the manual will not only give you a sense of what to wear, but will also give you clues on what is expected of you as an employee.
How you look represents the company. To customers, you are the company. Also, your appearance can directly affect your relationship with others on the job and the work environment. Therefore you should consider your appearance for work, not for yourself.
Career Dressing for Men: (Western Formals and Casuals)
Non-white long-sleeved shirt and dark coloured trousers.
Tie should be matching the socks.
Tie may have geometrical designs; it should not be flashy.
Tie should come to the middle of the belt.
Socks may be any colour other than white and black (Grey, dark brown etc).
Never wear white socks on black shoes.
During day time wear any colour shoes other than white, suede, and sports shoes; after dark only black.
The colour of the belt should match that of the shoes.
If you wear a coat, the last button should always be open.
When you are standing and addressing an audience, only the last button should be open; the first or first two buttons should be closed.
When addressing anybody, never have your hands in your pockets.
In the West, cuff-links and tie-pins are completely out-dated.
In cold countries, always remove head cover and overcoat after entering the office.
For casual wear, avoid black and brown shoes, and don’t wear a neck-tie.
Many companies have relaxed their dress codes. Casual dress may be appropriate on Fridays or formal dress may only be required for meetings with staff management or customers.
The number one rule for casual dress is to observe what everybody else is wearing, especially the bosses. “Casual” standards may be different for each company.
Always remember good taste and good grooming are always the standard.
Career Dressing for Women (Western and Indian)
Western suit – either coat and trousers or skirt and trousers, with matching shirt or blouse. Avoid frilly blouses.
Stockings, if worn, may be of neutral colours like beige, or match the trousers/skirt.
Shoes and handbag should match; alternatively, shoes may match trousers or skirt.
Indian dress – salwar kameez or churidar kameez or sari.
Sari should drape well, with matching blouse having a suitable pattern.
When wearing sleeveless outfits, ensure removal of underarm hair.
Arms should lend themselves to the outfit. Avoid all armlets for work.
Transparent fabrics are a strict no-no, especially with very long slits.
Figure hugging kameezes are better avoided; use dupattas in any case.
Design of the sari blouse to be modest. Avoid strappy, backless, or off-shoulder blouses.
Avoid very large prints and loud or gaudy colours.
Certain kinds of stripes can be painful to the eye of the beholder.
Wear colours that suit your complexion.
Silk and synthetic fabrics are better suited for winter. For summer, cotton is the best.
Lighter colours are more suited for the summer.
Office Party Wear
An elaborate/fancy salwar/churidar kameez, or a grand sari is fine.
Fancy accessories are okay, as are flowers
If wearing western, trousers, smart jeans, and shirts are okay. In some places, T-shirts are also accepted.
A little more liberty could be taken with make-up.
An office party is sometimes an extension of the office itself, in spite of the easygoing atmosphere of the top brass. Be daring, but not too daring in dress and makeup.
Too many drinks at the party is a strict no-no.
When taking a Client to a Lunch/Dinner
For lunch, you will be going straight from the office, so that’s no problem.
For dinner, either wear sari or western formals.
Make-up could be slightly elaborate for dinner.
Final advice about grooming: You are not dressed for what you are, but what you want to be!
Basic Table Manners
Table manners play an important part in making a favorable impression. They are visible signals of the state of our manners and therefore are essential to professional success.
Regardless of whether we are having lunch with a prospective employer or dinner with a business associate, our manners can speak volumes about us as professionals.
DEALING WITH PEOPLE
Etiquette does not mean merely knowing which fork or spoon to use.
People are a key factor in your own and your business’ success. Many potentially worthwhile and profitable alliances have been lost because of an unintentional breach of manners.
Most behavior that is perceived as disrespectful, discourteous or abrasive is unintentional, and could have been avoided by practicing good manners or etiquette. It has been found that most negative experiences with someone were unintentional and easily repaired by keeping an open mind and maintaining open, honest communication.
Basic knowledge and practice of etiquette is a valuable advantage, because in a lot of situations, a second chance may not be possible or practical.
There are many written and unwritten rules and guidelines for etiquette, and it is certainly necessary for a business person to learn them. The caveat is that there is no possible way to know all of them!
These guidelines have some difficult-to-navigate nuances, depending on the company, the local culture, and the requirements of the situation.
Possibilities to commit a mistake are limitless, and chances are, sooner or later, you’ll make a mistake. But you can minimize them, recover quickly, and avoid causing a bad impression by being generally considerate and attentive to the concerns of others, and by adhering to the basic rules of etiquette. When in doubt, stick to the basics, which are:
The most important thing to remember is to be courteous and thoughtful to the people around you, regardless of the situation. Considering other people’s feelings, stick to your convictions as diplomatically as possible.
Address conflict as situation-related, rather than person-related.
Apologize when you step on toes. This sounds simplistic, but these are the very traits we work so hard to inculcate in our children.
Avoid raising your voice, using harsh or derogatory language towards anyone (present or absent), or interrupting. You may not get as much “airtime” in meetings at first, but what you do say will be much more effective because it carries the weight of credibility and respectability.
Talk and visit with people.
Don’t differentiate by position or standing within the company.
Secretaries and janitorial staff actually have tremendous power to help or hinder your career. Next time you need a document prepared or a conference room arranged for a presentation, watch how many people are involved with that process, and make it a point to meet them and show your appreciation.
Make it a point to arrive ten or fifteen minutes early and visit people that work with you. When you’re visiting another site, linger over a cup of coffee and introduce yourself to people nearby.
If you arrive early for a meeting, introduce yourself to the other participants.
At social occasions, use the circumstances of the event itself as an icebreaker. After introducing yourself, talk a little about yourself; just enough to get people to open up and get to know you as a person.
Keep notes on people. Create a “people database” with names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, spouse and children’s’ names; whatever depth of information is appropriate for your situation.
It’s a good idea to remember what you can about people; and to be thoughtful. Send cards or letters for birthdays or congratulations of promotions or other events, send flowers for engagements, weddings or in condolence for the death of a loved one or family member. People will remember your kindness, probably much longer than you will!
Peers and Subordinates
It is an established fact that 40% of new management hires fail in their first jobs. The key reason for their failure is their inability to build good relationships with peers and subordinates.
People tend to feel uneasy until they’ve seen an “organizational chart” or figured out who reports to whom. They feel that it is more important to show respect and practice etiquette around superiors than around peers or subordinates.
In these days of rapid advancement through technology, it is very possible that a salesman who was a nuisance becomes an important client, or an administrative assistant becomes a manager. Mergers and acquisitions can cause a former competitor to become a co-worker.
This can make things awkward if you treat people differently depending on their “corporate standing.” If you show respect and courtesy to everyone, regardless of position or company, you avoid discomfort or damaging your chances in any unexpected turn of events.
Having a consistent demeanor improves your credibility. Even the people at the top will begin to suspect your motives if you treat VIPs with impeccable courtesy and snap at counter clerks.
Bosses and Superiors
The only thing you owe your boss, above and beyond what you owe peers and subordinates, is more information. Very quietly, be sure he or she knows what you’re doing; is alerted as early as possible to issues that may arise, and is aware of outcomes and milestones. Your boss should never be surprised.
It goes without saying that you should speak well of him or her within and outside the company, and give him or her benefit of doubt. (Which you would do for anyone, of course!.)
It is important to note that etiquette in other cultures requires a bit of adaptation and flexibility. If you’re traveling on business to a foreign destination, or have visitors here, it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about the culture they are coming from and make appropriate allowances.
Items to consider:
Language (learn theirs if possible, but don’t pretend to be fluent unless you have many years of study.)
Food customs (table manners, use of implements, etc.)
Generally speaking, as long as you are trying to be considerate and express an interest in learning, you should be fine. If in doubt, err on the conservative, formal side.
If a subject is important enough to call a meeting, be considerate about the participants’ time and ensure that it is well prepared. Communicate the objective beforehand. Communicate the expected duration ( Be sure to observe the ending time scrupulously, unless everyone agrees to continue.) Communicate the list of Items expected to be discussed. Often overlooked- be sure to THANK meeting members for their time and participation, and demonstrate (in the minutes or written record, at least) how their contributions helped meet the objective of the meeting. Participants are frequently left wondering if they’ve been heard or if their attendance and contributions were noticed.
Distribute minutes or some written record (no matter how simple the meeting) to all attendees and absentees, with concise but complete descriptions of decisions made.
Never assign an action item to a person who is not present to negotiate it, unless you absolutely have to. Note in the minutes that the person hasn’t been notified, and will be contacted for a final disposition of the item.
COMMUNICATION MEDIA ETIQUETTE
Always return calls. Even if you don’t yet have an answer to the caller’s question, call and explain what you’re doing to get the requested information, or direct them to the appropriate place to get it.
If you’re going to be out, have someone pick up your calls or at a minimum, have your answering system tell the caller when you’ll be back in the office and when they can expect a call back.
When you initiate a call and get a receptionist or secretary, identify yourself and tell them about the basic nature of your call. That way, you’ll be sure you’re getting the right person or department and the person you’re trying to reach will be able to get the appropriate information and help you more efficiently.
When you receive a phone call, identify yourself and your department, if it is an in-house call, and your name and the company if it is an outside call. Answer the phone with some enthusiasm or at least warmth, even if you ARE being interrupted, the person on the other end doesn’t know that!
Make sure your voice mail system is working properly and doesn’t tell the caller that the mailbox is full, transfer them to nowhere, or ring indefinitely. Address technical and system problems- a rude machine or system is as unacceptable as a rude person.
You don’t have to reply to tele-advertisements. If someone is calling to sell you something, you can indicate that you are not interested and hang up without losing too much time on it.
However, you do need to be careful. You may be receiving a call from an insurance or long distance company that wants to hire you as a consultant! Be sure you know the nature of the call before you (politely, of course) excuse yourself.
Personalize the conversation. Many people act in electronic media (including phone, phone mail, and e-mail) the way they act in their cars. They feel since they’re not face-to-face with a person, it is perfectly acceptable to be abrupt, crass, or rude. We need to ensure that we make best use of the advantages of these media without falling headfirst into the disadvantages.
Don’t put a person on hold without asking him if he would mind holding.
When you take a message for someone, do so on a large sheet of paper in some detail. Do not edit the message. Add the date and time, and your signature before leaving it on the absentee’s table.
Don’t make funny noises on the phone. Drinking water while answering the phone, or eating chips, or blowing your nose, is unacceptable.
Business ethics are a hot topic these days. But along with this new focus comes a lot of “gray area”. Many times, managers are forced to decide on issues where there are arguments on both sides - a problem that makes ethical decision-making very difficult. So what is Business Ethics?
Let’s first start with “What is ethics?”
Simply put, ethics involves learning what is right or wrong, and then doing the right thing, but “the right thing” is not nearly as straightforward as conveyed in a great deal of business ethics literature.
Most ethical dilemmas in the workplace are not simply a matter of “Should Bob steal from Jack?” or “Should Jack lie to his boss?” before we go on to ethical dilemmas, let us first consider simple ethics.
EXERCISE ON ETHICAL DILEMMAS
Perhaps too often, business ethics is portrayed as a matter of resolving conflicts in which one option appears to be the clear choice. For example, case studies are often presented in which an employee is faced with whether or not to lie, steal, cheat, abuse another, break terms of a contract, etc. However, ethical dilemmas faced by managers are often more real-to-life and highly complex with no clear guidelines, whether in law or often in religion.
One knows when they have a significant ethical conflict when there is presence of significant value conflicts among differing interests, real alternatives that are equally justifiable, and significant consequences on “stakeholders” in the situation. An ethical dilemma exists when one is faced with having to make a choice among these alternatives