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Proper Job Seeker Etiquette

Employment interview

Whether you are just entering the work force or looking for a change of career, it's important you make yourself aware of proper job seeker etiquette before beginning your search. Employers, and recruiters alike, have certain expectations of job seekers. Failing to meet these expectations could mean the difference between you getting your ideal job and you being passed over for someone else.

In this article we will cover some of the most basic, yet essential, etiquette tips you'll want to follow when searching for a new job.

Know What You Want Before Getting Started

Knowing the type of job you want is key. If you do not know what you are looking for, you will end up wasting your time and that of many employers and/or recruiters along the way.

Take the time to figure it out. Do you want full-time or part-time? Do you need benefits? Are you looking for a job offering continuing education? Do you want to work in an outpatient setting or would you prefer a hospital environment? What range of salary will work for you? How far are you willing to travel for work? Are you willing to relocate? These are all things you need to figure out ahead of time. Then, and only then, should you begin your job search.

Take Your Job Search Seriously

When looking for a new job, you need to take your job search seriously. It is often common for people to starting "looking around" before they're 100% ready to change jobs. Unfortunately, if you are not a serious applicant, you're wasting the employer's time. I have even seen instances where a job seeker is either just trying to see if there is something better out there or they're trying to elicit a raise out of their existing employer.

This isn't fair to employers who urgently need to fill vacant positions. While it is your career, it is their business. Keep this in mind when searching for a new job. Be upfront and honest with potential employers. Doing so could open a wonderful opportunity for you in the future, rather than burning a bridge you may need to cross later in your career.  

Be Careful Not to Burn Any Bridges

You must be smart and think ahead when you're searching for a new job. What I mean here is you need to consider not only yourself, but the employers you meet and the recruiters offering to help you along the way.

For example, let's say you apply for a particular position because it seems like it would be an ideal fit. After visiting the location, meeting the staff and/or being interviewed by the employer, you decide it's not quite right for you. That's okay. It happens sometimes. All you need to do is thank the person for the opportunity and either politely decline any offer given or let them know you appreciate their time, but you're looking for something a little different. Wish them the best and move on.

What you don't want to do is go radio silent. This leaves the employer or recruiter wondering what happened to you and they'll probably waste time trying to reach out to you to find out where you stand. They might even hold off on interviewing other candidates in hopes you're still interested. Be honest and polite, but upfront about your intentions.

You also don't want to receive an offer and then drag things out to try and see if you'll get a better offer from somewhere else. Doing so is a waste of time and money for both recruiters and employers. They're not likely to forget when a job seeker burns a bridge like that.

Last, but not least, don't accept a job and then back out a few days before you're scheduled to start working. Once you accept an offer, the employer often spends quite a bit of time and money preparing for your arrival. Schedules get rearranged, patients get set up for appointments and more. When you cancel, or back out last minute, it causes a lot of stress and creates problems. Only accept an offer for a position you fully intend to take.

Although you might not realize it now, it's likely you may come across your recruiter or a potential employer at some other point in the future. If you burn a bridge with them now, it could prevent yourself from getting your ideal job later. So, I will say it again, don't burn any bridges.

Be Professional

While each of the points I have mentioned so far could probably be classified under being professional, it's an area I think is important to address separately. You might be surprised at some of the things job seekers do during the job search process. Let me give you a few examples:

Do not ask how much you're going to be paid as the first question during your job interview. This tells the employer loud and clear that you are not looking to become a contributing team member, you are simply in it for yourself.

Dress professionally when doing on an interview. Do not show up in slippers. Don't go to an interview with your hair greasy and unkempt. How you present yourself matters.

Do not focus your questions on what the employer or company is going to give you. Again, you are applying to be part of a team. If you're uncertain about what to ask, I have put together some key questions to ask during a job interview.

It is okay to arrive a little early to an interview, just not late. As coaches often tell their players, if you're on time, you're late. Someone is taking time out of their day to meet with you and interview you for a potential position. Be courteous of their time.

Do not miss an interview, especially without giving the interviewer ample notice and a valid reason. This is even more important if you expect to get another interview from the same employer later. Skipping out on a scheduled interview is a sign you are not serious about the position. It also gives the employer reason to be worried about your reliability in the future.

Always think before speaking. While you may believe you are talking with the receptionist, it could be the owner herself or it might be the boss' son. You never know, so play it safe. Be kind, polite and respectful all around.

Along those same lines, do not overshare. The person conducting your job interview doesn't need to know your whole life story. Keep it professional and relevant.

More Communication Is Always Better Than Less

When doing a job search, it is not uncommon to have questions, concerns or even doubts. What is important during these times is you communicate these to your recruiter. Don't leave them in the dark. Let them know what is going on. Your recruiter cannot help you navigate through the job search process if you don't communicate constantly and continuously.

If you are not sure the job is right for you, speak up. Thought you were getting different benefits, access to continued education or a better salary offer than you received? Say something. Have concerns? Voice them. Going to be out of town? Tell your recruiter. Even if you are interviewing for other positions, or you have other offers on the table, it's important you communicate this information to your recruiter.

Recruiters are not mind readers, but they are on your side and are trying to help you. So, more communication is always better than less.


While there are numerous other points related to proper job seeker etiquette, these are some of the most important points you will want to adhere to during the job search process. If you want to get hired, follow proper job seeker etiquette and don't burn any bridges along the way.

We, at The People Link, have spent the last two decades successfully connecting qualified job seekers with employers looking to meet their hiring needs. We take pride in helping job seekers market themselves with the purpose of finding their ideal job where they can then put their skills to good use and thrive in their chosen field.

If you are currently looking for a position in either the Dental or Allied Healthcare industries, check out our current job listings, or contact Mya directly at 818-890-9998 to find out more about the services we offer.

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