General Question

mattbrowne's avatar

Ladies and gentlemen - How important are good manners when it comes to career opportunities?

Asked by mattbrowne (31600points) May 28th, 2009

From Wikipedia: In sociology, manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which show the actor to be cultured, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, other than social disapproval. They are a kind of norm. What is considered “mannerly” is highly susceptible to change with time, geographical location, social stratum, occasion, and other factors. A lady is a term frequently used for a woman who follows proper manners; the term gentleman is used as a male counterpart.

Are you a lady? Are you a gentleman? How do manners influence the outcome of job interviews? Suppose someone is one of the few geniuses in an important field, can he or she afford to ignore manners? Would you still hire him or her because of rare skills?

And: How important are manners on Fluther?

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21 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Vital. Does anyone doubt this?

oratio's avatar

People seems to mostly hire people they like, even if someone else is more qualified.

cwilbur's avatar

Once you hit a certain level of demonstrable public accomplishment, you can get away with being a boor in a job interview—people will put up with rudeness if they are still getting something out of it. But until you’re a household name in your field, manners count, because in the case of two people who are similarly qualified, the hiring manager will take the one people like—and if one is slightly less qualified but seems more pleasant to work with, that may be enough of an edge.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Comedians like to say, “know your audience” and I believe this rings true in the workplace too. For interviews, look at the mission statement and culture of the company so you can get a feel for what is accepted, expected and norm and decide whether or not you want to be a part of that. Manners are part of the whole, anywhere. Are some exemplary tolerated for their crude behavior? Sure but it’s rare and there are usually big benefits and big profits that swing the balance for them, the majority of us shouldn’t push that envelope.

dynamicduo's avatar

I’m just me. I’m an honest person who doesn’t subscribe to the politics of work or any of the silliness seen in corporate jobs. I am of the opinion that I am here to do a job, so I do that job. I do that with the normal amount of respect and humility I have anywhere else in my life, which I guess compared to many people is a relatively high level of professional conduct. The way I act in interviews is the same way I’d act in my day to day job – what is there to gain by misrepresenting yourself in an interview?

I’m also glad to work for a company where what’s inside is what counts the most, it doesn’t matter if you choose to wear jeans to develop software, so long as you produce high quality content. There are certainly people here who have less manners and this is tolerated because of their skill in their job.

As for here on Fluther, that’s a very interesting question. I would say manners are important, at least I value them here because I value them everywhere else. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the thought of the newbies who show up, shit around threads, ask real dumb googleable questions (then whine about censorship), attack other users, then get banned. Then again, I stopped really caring about this when I realized I was wasting so much time here instead of actually living my life. I have to admit, that was a great revelation.

Darwin's avatar

Manners are always important, but manners depend on the environment. Saying “How do you do?” is appropriate in some settings, while saying “Wassup, dawg?” is more appropriate in others.

In any case, treating others as if they matter to you is generally a good idea. As @hungryhungryhortence says, “know your audience.”

wundayatta's avatar

In general, you’ve got the job interview because you have, on paper, the skills to do the job. They want to see if they think they can work with you. That’s a tricky thing. Part of it is manners—most people don’t want to be around someone who is rude all the time, but part of it is culture and personality, too. The company has a culture, and they want to see if you’ll fit. The culture may emphasize politeness, or it may be less formal—whatever—if you match it (for real) you’ll fit better and get along better. In any case, it seems to me that rudeness is almost always a way to not get hired (the exceptions being for some auditions, and for some jobs where they want really pushy, aggressive people).

mattbrowne's avatar

@dynamicduo – I also believe in authenticity which includes interviews. There’s one exception. Sometimes both in professional and private life one encounters really weird people. Sometimes I become an actor for the simple reason: I don’t want to waste too much time. Being authentic all the time is an ideal and I’m trying to be pragmatic.

This also means I only give negative feedback to people I care about!

wundayatta's avatar

Waaaaah! Does this mean you don’t care about me, @mattbrowne?

GAMBIT's avatar

Having manners can only help you in any situation. I don’t know of anyone who gets commended for being rude in public. Except in grade school when a student acted out and received a few chuckles from his or her classmates.

If someone really needs a job I think they would try to put their best foot forward which includes being courteous.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It’s called being a professional.

dynamicduo's avatar

@mattbrowne, I agree completely about becoming an actor. You’re very right, sometimes it’s much simpler to step into the role and play the part to get the proper result with as little effort. I do this pretty much every time I interact with a government agency, act the nice polite girl and never actually discuss my true thoughts regarding the government.

Darwin's avatar

@GAMBIT – “I don’t know of anyone who gets commended for being rude in public” What about folks like Don Rickles? And oh, so many other comedians who spew bile and bigotry on stage? I can’t say that I am a fan, but certainly many of them do well, and some do very well.

Ivan's avatar

Too important.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

You can be polite without being fake.
If you can’t be polite without being fake, that’s a bigger problem.

YARNLADY's avatar

Good question Matt. A similar question came up in my mind what a fellow flutherite said that manners are old school, and the younger generation doesn’t hold with manners anymore.

I was surprised to hear that, because ‘please, thank you, may I help you and you’re welcome’ are still taught in my family, including the teens, and all the way down to the youngest baby.

Your last line, however, is relevant also. My Hubby is one of the most brilliant computer gurus in the world. He was once told “you are the best worker we ever had, but you are being passed over because of the way you dress”. They had a rule that all men must wear a tie, so he kept a drawer at work full of ties, and everyday he would reach in there and get one. He has zero clue about clothing.

He is now with a company that truly appreciates his talent, and rewards him financially and with personal interaction.

mattbrowne's avatar

@daloon – I do care about you. Very much so!

@YARNLADY – Well, clothing… There’s also the opposite example: people at work and the only clue they have is about clothing. And how to produce hot air, perhaps…

wundayatta's avatar

@mattbrowne So where’s my negative feedback, then?

mattbrowne's avatar

@daloon – It’s been a while if I remember correctly. Probably during my first 4 weeks on Fluther. I didn’t like the fact that you questioned some scientific topics in my questions. My feedback might have been only slightly negative. I try to see feedback as a gift, both the positive and the negative. And I received some from you as well. Both ways ;-)

wundayatta's avatar

LOL! Well, if a person is courteous, like yourself, I tend to think of it as discussion rather than negative feedback. We need not agree to be having fun. And yes, it is a gift.

Oh yeah, I remember—I was confused by the way you “asked” questions.

kazfernandes's avatar

Very. Unless your interview panel is entirely Gen Y, then you just just need to know how to text and tweet :D

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