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Don't misplace manners at job interviews

A business-etiquette guru offers tips for interviewees, such as wear deodorant, hide body piercings, don't swear, and nix the gum.

The extremely tight market for tech workers has degraded the interviewing skills of many job candidates (see complete story). These are some interview tips from Sue Fox, founder and president of Los Gatos, Calif.-based Etiquette Survival and author of "Business Etiquette for Dummies," which will be released in the fall.

Before the interview:
• Consider whether to interview at all. Don't waste your time or that of recruiters, administrators and executives if the job doesn't hold your interest.

• Research the company. Job seekers forgo civilityTest flagship products, read annual reports, memorize the names of top executives, know the stock price, search online for relevant news articles.

• Know the dress code--weekend casual, business casual or traditional--and dress slightly better than people who work there.

• Shed accessories. Conceal or remove all body piercings and tattoos. Use antiperspirant or deodorant. Do not bring a backpack.

• Do not cancel the interview except for an emergency. Arrive 10 minutes early. Bring light reading material, paper and a trusted pen.

At the interview:
• Do not chew gum, smoke, eat or drink on company premises unless refreshments are offered.

• Stand up and greet interviewer by name. Only use first names if the interviewer previously approved it.

• Leave pagers, cell phones, alarm watches and other beeping items in the car.

• Do not swear, even if the interviewer does.

• Ask one or two questions toward the end of the meeting, such as "What is your favorite thing about working here?" Do not ask anything that would indicate you have not done your research--i.e. the number of employees, stock performance, mergers and acquisitions, etc.

• Shake hands upon exiting.

After the interview:
• Send thank-you notes to everyone with whom you interviewed.

• Call or email about your status, but no more than once a week.