Proper Etiquette: A Thankful Guest

For those of you who decided not to host Thanksgiving dinner this year and have been invited by a friend or relative to their Thanksgiving celebration, this post is for you.  Keep these etiquette tips in mind and you’ll surely be a wonderful and classy guest.

  • RSVP.

Ideally the host/hostess sent out invitations(or, at the very least, asked personally)about a month before Thanksgiving, so your RSVP turn around should be about 2 weeks.  A lot of places require at least 2 weeks prior when ordering a Turkey(or ham), so make sure your host/hostess knows in enough time if he/she is ordering food.

  • Offer to contribute to the meal.

Always offer to bring something, especially if you have dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian or gluten-free.  This way, your host won’t have to worry about making a special dish just for you and you’ll be guaranteed something to eat.

  • Dress appropriately.

Your host/hostess put in a great effort to prepare a Thanksgiving celebration, so the least you can do is look polished and put together.  You want to look like you put in just as much effort to make the celebration wonderful as the hostess did, so don’t show up in a t-shirt and ripped jeans.  If you need tips on what to wear for Thanksgiving, look here.

  • Arrive on time.

You should never be late to anything, especially an event you’ve been invited to.  If the time isn’t specific, arrive sometime in between.   For example, if the host/hostess says between 3 and 4, get there around 3:20 or 3:30.

  • Be respectful.

Not everyone has the same belief system, but for some families, saying a blessing before the Thanksgiving meal is a tradition.  Other traditions may occur during the celebration, as well.  Whatever your beliefs or traditions, you are a guest and need to be respectful.  If you are not sure how to participate, follow the lead of others.  As they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

  • Offer to help clean up.

After the meal, if the host/hostess begins cleaning up, offer to help.  It’s just common courtesy.

  • Say thank you.

You can say this after the meal and/or before you leave, but definitely say thank you.  You want the host/hostess to know you appreciate the time and effort they put forth and the hospitality they showed you.

Playing Hostess: Thanksgiving Day Etiquette

Deciding to hold Thanksgiving Day dinner at your house can be a tremendous feat.  You have the daunting task of cooking dinner for your family and/or friends and making sure all goes well.  Here are some etiquette tips that you should keep in mind during your hosting duties.

  • Extend an invitation at least one month in advance.

Most people are aware they want to host Thanksgiving by the first of October, so quickly make a list and send out invitations(or ask personally)before Halloween.  This gives you time to order food, if necessary, and gives your invitees time to decide their plans.

  • Greet your guests when they arrive.

If you are able to answer the door, give your guests a warm smile and invite them into your home.  If you are busy and cannot personally answer the door, make sure you are aware a guest has arrived and take the time to say a warm hello.

  • Serve children and elderly first.

If you have invited any children or elderly to your dinner, allow them to get food first.  If you are having a formal dinner where it is served, serve these groups first.  If your dinner is buffet-style, allow these groups first in line.

  • Turn off the TV during dinner.

Ideally, the TV should be off anyway, but if you are holding all-day festivities and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was being watched, turn the tv off before serving the meal.  If you or your guests are football fans, and watching the game is part of the festivities, serve dinner before the game.  Make sure you leave plenty of time to eat before turning the TV on for the game.

  • Thank your guests for coming.

Always say thank you as guests are leaving.  They took time out of their holiday to spend it with you, and for that you should be grateful.

For additional reading:

Thanksgiving Day Tips and A somewhat humorous take on Thanksgiving Day etiquette.

Proper Etiquette: The Job Interview

With the economy the way it is and so many people looking for work, many of us will be going on job interviews.  Here are some tips on proper interview etiquette:

  • Be Prepared.

The Scout Motto is useful for many situations,  especially for a job interview.  Bring a letterpad – or a portfolio for you creative types – that includes your resume, a note pad and any previous work you many need to present (again, for those in the creative arts).   It helps to have a few copies of your resume, one for you and one for each interviewer.  Also, write down any questions that you will ask during the interview on your note pad and have those ready when the time comes.

  • Dress Appropriately.

Your interview attire will depend completely on the type of company with whom you are interviewing.  For a more formal business, such as a law firm, you will need to wear a suit.  For a more casual work place, you can either wear a three-piece ensemble or a skirt/pants with a nice blouse or button-down.  If you’re interviewing for a job in the fashion industry, you are allowed to be a bit more fashion-forward, but still maintain a professional image.

  • Be Early

It is best to arrive 10-15 minutes early.  Early is always better than late, but it is ok to be exactly on-time.  However, in cases of companies with a security front desk, you will ALWAYS need to arrive 15 minutes early in order to receive a guest pass and sign in with security.  Being early also helps settle nerves, because you have the time to calm yourself before the interview.  You can take this time to go over your resume and/or interview questions.

  • Send a Thank You

It is very important to send a thank you after the interview.  You can either type a letter or hand-write a note and mail it to the hiring manager, or you can send one via email.  Ideally, you should send a thank you by mail, but in this technology-ridden society, email is now the preferable form of communication.  The thank you shouldn’t be long, just let the interviewer know you are interested and thank them for their time.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the interview itself:

  1. The Handshake:  keep it firm, but not too firm – you don’t want their hand hurting when they pull away.  Make sure your palms aren’t sweaty.  Give two handshakes, one at the beginning of the interview and one after.
  2. Do not sit until invited to do so.  If no one invites you to sit, make sure you are the last person seated.
  3. Speak clearly and make eye contact.
  4. Be confident, natural and yourself.
  5. Avoid any nervous ticks:  If you tend to get nervous talking in front of a group, practice this at home before the interview.  Don’t touch your face, bite your lip, or play with your hair.  Also, try not to bounce your legs or fiddle with your clothes.
  6. Ask questions!  Have a few questions prepared before your interview, but if any come to you during the interview, jot them down.  Wait until the end of the interview to ask them, or when the interviewer gives you the go-ahead.

For more information, feel free to visit these websites:

http://www.emilypost.com/getting-the-job/the-interview/212-seven-no-brainers-for-job-interviews

http://www.maricopa.edu/eod/secureemployment/documents/interview_etiquette.pdf

http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinehoward/2010/08/27/best-questions-to-ask-in-your-job-interview/