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Even if your resume is perfect, the way you greet an employer is a crucial factor in determining whether or not you're offered the job. If you're not sure how to proceed, put yourself in the employer's shoes. Ask yourself, "If I was hiring, how would I want a candidate to greet me?" It might also help if you role play with trusted friends and family members who will give honest, helpful feedback on your approach.
Before you open your mouth to greet an employer, she will form an impression of you based on your appearance. If you’re greeting an employer at a job interview or career fair, you should look neat, clean, professional and well groomed. Your clothes and shoes should be appropriate to the job. For example, if you are interviewing for a job with a financial firm, a business suit is appropriate. Your clothes should also be neatly pressed and well fitting -- not too tight or revealing. Your hair should be clean and styled. Ladies’ makeup should be fresh and subtle, not heavy. Remove all facial piercings and cover your tattoos. Just before your meeting, check to make sure your breath is fresh. Also, check your face and teeth for crumbs and food stains.
When you greet an employer, it’s important to send the message that you’re enthusiastic about the position and eager to make their acquaintance. Stand when the hiring manager enters the room. If you must cross a distance to meet him, walk swiftly and with purpose. Smile brightly, extend your hand, give a firm handshake and make eye contact. Speak clearly and with purpose. Exude a demeanor that says, “I’m confident and ready.”
Until the employer tells you otherwise, address her in a formal manner. Refrain from familiar greetings such as, “Hi,” or “Hey,” or “What’s up,” and don’t use a first name unless you’re specifically asked to do so. Greet employers by their official title and last name, such as “Mr. Reynolds," “Ms. Hazard” or “Dr. West.” If asked how you’re doing, don’t respond with “I’m good.” Instead, say, “I’m well, and you?” Let your speech reflect that you’re professional.
Although greeting an employer is an important part of business and should not be taken lightly, you might sabotage your meeting if you seem stressed or uptight. Try to remain relaxed so you’ll exude confidence and competence. Keep your hands and voice steady, don’t fidget or pace, and don’t stammer or pepper your speech with filler phrases such as “umm,” “ahh,” or “You know what I mean?” Remember that the calmer you are, the better you’ll communicate.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.