The Worst Business Etiquette Mistakes


In the business world, there are several practices that are important in building and maintaining professional relationships. Professional etiquette is something that has seemed to be slipping in recent years as more casual practices have started to become popular. Don’t let yourself make these five mistakes!


Limp Handshakes

A firm handshake with eye contact is important in any business situation. People associate negative traits with individuals who practice poor handshaking habits. It may seem trivial, but a handshake is often the first point of contact between a new business associate, and you want colleagues and business contacts to know you are serious and professional. Additionally, make sure you stand when you’re introduced to a new contact – standing helps to establish your presence and makes you more positively memorable.


Lack of Follow Up & Thank You Notes

It is extremely important to follow up after you have made connections! Thank you notes should be sent to everyone involved within 24 hours. It is acceptable to send thank you notes via email, but for a special touch, you can send handwritten notes. Sending a handwritten note means that you took the time to sit down and write it, put a stamp on it, and put it in the mail – it is always greatly appreciated by the recipient. Before deciding what form to send your thank you notes in, consider the time frame: handwritten notes will take a few days in the mail, so for interviews in which the hiring process may go quickly, consider sending email thank you’s instead.

It is also important to mention that you should send thank you notes at all levels. People are not getting jobs and clients will question a candidate just because they haven’t sent a follow up thank you! At this point, it is more than etiquette – not sending a thank you note could stop you from getting the job!

Additionally, expect to respond to all thank you notes; they work both ways. Clients have sent thank you notes and they won’t receive a response or acknowledgement. It is just common courtesy to send a short reply back!


Semi-Stalking Behavior

You may be anxious to hear about any opportunities or news from your boss, recruiter, or colleague, but do not text them every few hours! Sending too many messages (through any means of correspondence) makes you look needy and, let’s be honest, a little bit stalker-ish. Settle for one or two check in emails, spaced at least a few days apart, and be patient.

The flip side is that you should expect some kind of communication back; this sort of communication works both ways. If you aren’t hearing back at all, send a polite reminder.



Do not tell a potential future employer that you partied your night away on the weekend. Don’t tell an interviewer about your personal relationship problems. Don’t tell a colleague that you’re having a midlife crisis and assail them with every last detail… You get the picture. Over sharing at work or in interviews is one of the quickest ways do discredit yourself and give the impression that you are disreputable.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t share information with a trusted senior recruiter. A recruiter’s job is to help you wordsmith any issues you may have, and you should feel comfortable and confident that they will keep that information confidential, manage how you look to clients, and will help you as you’re interviewing.


Erroneous Expectations

Having unrealistic expectations for your interviewer, your boss, a recruiter, or your colleagues is a problem in the workplace. For example, don’t expect a recruiter to rewrite your resume for you – this is not their job! They may give some suggestions and give you a resource to get it fixed up. Expecting people to do things for you outside of their job requirements makes you seem unprofessional.


Do you have any other suggestions for etiquette in the workplace? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

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