Hi to all
Lengthy but informative information on Dressing & Dining for Interviews etc. Hope its of help?
During your job search, do not underestimate the importance of proper business etiquette. Etiquette is a set of traditions based on kindness, efficiency, and logic that have evolved over time and can give you structure in which to operate. Manners and etiquette traditions aren't meant to stifle self-expression and you don't have to change your personality to be polite. Following etiquette allows for an ease of interaction with a variety of people and shows respect and politeness. Once you understand the basics of etiquette and some of the reasons for the rules, good manners are not that complicated. With practice, etiquette becomes second nature, allowing you to concentrate on your conversation rather than your cutlery!
Please note: As you read the following etiquette “rules” please keep in mind that etiquette standards are relative. Depending on the formality of the occasion, expected behaviours will vary. Once you know what the general guidelines are, it is then your prerogative to follow or break the rules, as you see fit depending on the situation.
Table Conduct: Let the Dining Begin
There are many things to keep in mind when dining out. Whether it's what to do with your cell phone or what to do with your napkin when you need to be excused from the table, you can use the following tips to help ensure you know the basics of table conduct.
What to do with your Accessories
Your purse/briefcase should be placed under the table or beside your chair. Cell phones and pagers should be turned off or on silent mode.
Avoid answering your phone at the dinner table.
Keys, phones, pagers, and personal belongings should not be placed on the table.
Have good posture and keep your feet flat on the floor.
Make eye contact with people at the table.
Avoid placing your elbows on the table.
Try to avoid touching your face. If your nose needs attention, wipe it quietly or excuse yourself from the table.
Eat quietly with your mouth closed and try not to talk with your mouth full.
Passing and Adding
Items on the table that are within easy reach can be picked up.
If you need to stretch across the table or rise to reach items, ask for them to be passed to you instead of reaching yourself.
Food is usually passed in a counter clockwise direction.
Do not serve yourself ‘community' food (e.g. salt, pepper, dressing, etc.) until you have offered it to someone else first.
Always pass the salt and pepper as a pair (exception: a pepper grinder can be passed separately).
Cutting your Food
Do not cut your complete dinner into bite-sized pieces at the beginning of the meal. Rather, it's advisable to cut one or two pieces at a time.
Cut items with your elbows close to your body.
Do not eat too fast; pace yourself to finish your meal at the same time as others.
If you are served food you do not like, don't complain, simply push it to the edge of your plate.
Once seated, unfold your napkin without snapping it in the air.
Place your napkin on your lap. Avoid tucking it into your belt, shirt or collar.
Use your napkin frequently to blot your lips but do not blot your mouth vigorously.
If you need to be excused from the table during the meal, place your soiled napkin on your chair (avoid placing it back on the table as it is unappetizing for others to see a soiled napkin on the table if they are still eating).
Unused utensils that appear soiled should not be wiped on your napkin. Politely ask the wait staff for a clean one.
Use your utensils quietly and do not play with them at the table.
Never place utensils back on the tablecloth once you have begun to use them.
When you have finished your meal, set your knife (blade facing in) and fork together on your plate (at approximately the 5 o'clock position).
Place the roll on the small plate to your left. If there is no butter plate, then place it on the edge of your dinner plate.
Pull apart the roll into two or more pieces (do not cut with a knife).
Butter each piece of bread as you eat it.
Leave your butter knife on the butter plate when not in use.
Soup spoons are usually too large to fit completely in your mouth, therefore, sip from the side of the spoon.
When finishing, tip the bowl away from yourself to spoon the remainder of the soup.
When finished, place the spoon on the service plate beneath the bowl.
If a large shallow soup plate has been used, then leave it in the soup plate.
When you are finished your meal, casually fold your napkin and place it either: To the left of your dessert plate if it is still on the table, or In the middle of your place setting if the dessert plate has been removed.
Often, unexpected situations arise that you may not know how to handle. Below we have listed a few scenarios that you may encounter and recommendations for how to deal with them. Just remember that you may not always know what to do if something unexpected occurs. However, if you are able to handle yourself in a calm and composed manner and not take yourself too seriously, most situations can work themselves out.
Finding a hair or bug in your food
If you find something unappetizing in your meal, try not to draw too much attention to it. Quietly mention it to the wait staff who will take steps to replace if for you.
Food caught in your teeth
Avoid picking your teeth at the table, even with a toothpick.
You can try drinking some water to dislodge the morsel.
If this doesn't work, excuse yourself from the table and remove it in the washroom.
Spilling at the table
If you spill something at the table, try not to draw attention to it. Tell the wait staff quietly and they will take care of it.
If you spill something on yourself, remove the food with a clean knife or spoon, or dab the spot with your napkin. If you are unable to clean the spill discretely, excuse yourself and deal with it in the washroom.
Losing control of an eating utensil
If you lose control of your cutlery and it falls on the floor, apologize and ask the wait staff to bring you another one. Do not go fishing for it under the table.
If you begin to choke or are having an allergic reaction, make at least one other person aware at the table. If the situation is not life-threatening, rise from the table and take this person with you.
Note: if you are allergic to certain foods you should make the wait staff aware while ordering.
Your dining skills become even more important if you are being interviewed over a meal. Just keep in mind that if a potential employer invites you to a meal, they are evaluating more than what is on your résumé. They may be interested in knowing how you conduct yourself in various types of social settings, how you handle yourself during a meal, whether you can hold an intelligent conversation, what your manners are like, how you treat your host and the wait staff, and whether you are a pleasant person to talk to.
If you are unsure as to what to order, follow the interviewer's lead. Be sure to stay near the price of the meal the interviewer ordered. If he/she insists that you order first, then try to stick to a meal that is moderately priced and is something you know you will like and be able to handle. Avoid foods that are messy, can splatter or take a lot of concentration to eat correctly (for example, spaghetti or ribs). Also, avoid meals heavy on garlic or onions as they can give you bad breath. If you order something crunchy or loud, such as celery or potato chips, be aware that they can prove to be distracting when others are trying to talk. Also, stay away from foods you eat with your hands, for example, hamburgers or sandwiches as it could make the end-of-the-interview handshake quite sloppy. Most importantly, avoid excess amounts of alcohol. You want to be sharp during the interview. Wine or beer may lead you to make a sloppy mistake.
The Art of Eating AND Talking
During an interview, you're expected to do a lot of talking. Therefore, when you are at a meal interview, you may feel pressured to talk so much you don't get a chance to eat your food. You should not solve this problem by talking with your mouth full. Instead, come to the interview armed with some questions to ask the interviewer. This will allow you to eat while listening to their answers and also shows that you have done your homework!
Ending an in-office interview usually involves thanking the interviewer; however, a meal interview is slightly different. First, remember that you do not have to offer to pay for the meal. It is almost never expected of you as a candidate. Rather, you should thank the interviewer for the meal and express how much you enjoyed talking to him/her. Also, you don't want to forget about the job, so it is a good idea to reaffirm how much you like the company and how much you want the position. And finally, always follow-up with a thank-you note.
In today's competitive environment, dining etiquette is an area of expertise that can be added to your list of career and job search skills. Keep in mind that etiquette rules are not commandments – learn the standards and then apply them as you see fit. These skills will not only serve you well now, but also in the future.
Dressing for Success
Most people's goal when getting dressed for the working world is to project a professional, competent image, while still retaining their individuality. This is true regardless of employment level or career path. Since the transformation from student to professional life can often be confusing, we have provided some guidelines that can help you manage your image potential.
How to Determine the Company Dress Code
When transitioning into the work world you may have difficulty trying to decide what is appropriate attire. Ask yourself questions such as:
What image do you want to project on the job?
How do you want others to perceive you?
In what type of work environment will you be employed?
With whom will you be interacting?
How do others dress in this environment?
Try to get a feel for where you are going to work before you go shopping for your new work wardrobe. If you are unsure of what the company dress code is, take some cues from the person interviewing you. You can also observe what your boss is wearing or take a tour of your new place of employment and note what the majority of people are wearing. Another strategy is to simply ask. You can call the HR department, other employees, your future manager/supervisor or your interviewer, and ask them about the company dress code.
It's also interesting to note that many industries have their own unique dress code exceptions and expectations. For instance, those in creative fields, like publishing and advertising, may allow for more creative dressing, with room for more stylish individual touches. On the other hand, those in finance tend to stick to a more conservative and traditional dress code. Some organizations encourage employees to dress as well or better than their customers, especially for sales people and others who meet clients outside the office. For information technology professionals, this may mean business casual but for pharmaceutical sales it may mean a suit.
There are many different types of attire. The two most common are Business Casual and Professional Attire.
Business casual is a attire that is neat and clean and presents a professional image that is conservative but not too formal. It exists to address the trend in the workforce of a more casual style. Business casual presents an image of professionalism while allowing employees to dress comfortably and affordably. You can usually find business casual attire in customer service industries, administrative offices, public or community services, not-for-profit agencies, and schools.
Business casual for women can include pantsuits, sweaters and sweater sets, blouses that are not too tight with a conservative neckline, knee length to longer skirts, slacks and khakis.
Business casual for men includes closed shoes such as loafers, slacks or khakis (no shorts, no cargo pants or jeans), collared or button-down shirts, and sweaters in neutral colours.
The second most common type of dress code is Professional or Business Attire. This type of attire is more conservative and traditional than business casual. It exists because employees often work with clients or act as liaisons/representatives of their company and therefore need to make a very professional impression. This type of attire is often associated with careers that are more traditional, involve more authority, or are higher on a professional hierarchy such as law, finance, accounting, etc.
For men, Professional Attire consists of a two or three piece suit in a conservative, dark colour (navy, black, charcoal), a collared long-sleeve shirt, tie, and dress shoes.
For women , Professional Attire consists of a two piece suit (with a knee length skirt) in a conservative, dark colour (navy, black, charcoal), a blouse, conservative shoes, hosiery (same colour or shade lighter than shoes), with hair pulled back and out of the face.
Along with an appropriate wardrobe, it is just as important to maintain proper grooming. Please remember that these are guidelines and recommendations – each situation will have its own expectations and you get to choose the image you want to project.
Skin: No belly buttons or cleavage (front or back!) should be showing in the office. The more skin you show, the less professional you will look.
Hair: Should be neat, clean and styled and ideally pulled back. For men, facial hair should be trimmed.
Hands: Clean and short fingernails. Women – neutral nail colour, short to moderate length nails.
Scent: Perfume and cologne used sparingly if at all. No odours (e.g. body odour, smoke) on clothes.
Makeup: Cosmetics should be used sparingly and look natural.
General Hygiene: Deodorant, brushed teeth, pleasant breath.
Padfolios: Backpacks are a appropriate for information sessions on campus but for career fairs, interviews, off site visits, etc. carry a padfolio, small briefcase or purse instead of a bulky bag.
Fit: It is important that c clothing fits well and is comfortable, pressed and clean. Pants should be fitted, but free of visible panty lines. Skirts, especially straight styles like pencil skirts, should be loose enough to sit down in comfortably. Jackets should be able to be buttoned. Blouses shouldn't gap between buttonholes.
Shoes: Polished and in good condition. Heels should not be worn out. No open toe shoes. Heels should not be too high and avoid sexy stilettos.
Socks/pantyhose: Should match your shoes or hemline. Pantyhose should be flawless (no runs – bring an extra pair just in case).
Additional Details to Consider
No missing buttons, no lint, no stains. Remember to remove tags from new clothes!
Buy a full length mirror.
Ensure your undergarments are comfortable and appropriate for what you are wearing.
Accessorize tastefully and don't go overboard.
Ensure hemlines are even and the correct length
Project power and authority with black, navy, and charcoal.
Add interest with colour – a blouse, tie, sweater, scarf, jewelry. This is a way for you to show your personality.
Very often the more distracting a piece of clothing or jewelry is, the less appropriate it is for office wear. Jewelry that jingles (chandelier earrings, stacks of bangles) may be distracting. Opt for stud earrings or single bracelets. Slouchy handbags also look sloppy. Choose structured styles that project an organized image.
When attempting to project a professional image, your overall goal is to create your own style while still looking competent and commanding respect. With a little creativity and attention to detail you can look professional at work without losing your unique sense of style!