Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Q+A:How should I address my interviewer?

Questions from our Readers
Answered by Michael Pollock

Q: If the interviewer doesn't tell you want to call him/her, should I use their last name? Show confidence and refer to them by their first name? Go formal and use Miss, Mrs. or Ms.? Sir? Ma'am?

A: For the media business I would avoid anything too formal.  But of course be polite. You should probably enter the room confidently and as you go for the handshake, introduce yourself by your first and last name. Perhaps you'll get a cue from your interviewer: if they call you by your first name then you can respond in kind.

But really, if there are only two of you in the room, why do you need to use a name at all? They know who you are talking to. I myself find it extremely irritating when people use my name to me in a form like, "I am glad you asked that, Michael." Or "Let me tell you something, Mr. Pollock." (Was Dale Carnegie responsible for this?)

So on balance you will most likely get through the whole interview without needing to call them anything. Just keep your mind on being the best person to solve their problem, and try not to fret about the name thing.

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