I know you think you know what I mean, but I don't think I mean what you think.
Pretty cut and dry here. We have the full range of recruiters and companies visiting campus. Some are incredibly laid back, wearing polo shirts and chinos, while other sport $500 suits. What one sees as professional behavior, the other sees as overly casual behavior. Yes, there are a few standards that we will discuss below, but the fact remains that the range of meaning surrounding the term "professional behavior" is broad to the point of ambiguity. My recommendation to any erstwhile candidate is that he or she become familiar with the culture of any company or organization with which they might interview. This is where all that gnarly networking is so important.... knowing people that know the culture is primo.
There is no such thing as fashionably late... there is just late.
Let me start by saying that I drive my entire family crazy by my desire to be not just on time, but a few minutes early. Let me add to this, I hate waiting in line for anything. Fifteen minutes is my limit, even at a 5-star restaurant, so you can imagine how I feel when someone is late for an appointment. Once, a client with a 30 minute appointment showed up 20 minutes late and said, "I hope I am not too late." I replied, "Not at all, there's still 10 minutes left." We went to my office where I talked about the impact of being late on job interviews and first impressions. I don't care how casual the recruiter or hiring manager might be, the last thing that you want is to be one of the top two candidates and have your competition remembered as "the kid from Orange County" and you remembered as "the one who was late." Bottom line: It is professional behavior to be on time no matter where you work.
Excuse me while I take this call.
Back in the day, when cell phones were the size of shoe boxes, I would watch folks screaming into their cellphones and I remember thinking, "If you are THAT important, why aren't you important enough to have somebody that answers your calls for you?" Perhaps if there is anything that upsets me more than someone who is late for an appointment, it is someone who answers their phone during an appointment. I will say that it is probably okay to have your phone ring and apologize while cutting it off, but it is never (Get that NEVER) okay to actually answer the phone.
Yo, dude. How's it goin'!
I live in California, so I call a lot of folks "dude" and I get called "dude" a lot as well. I still remember, however, the first time a subordinate called me dude. It was followed throughout the day with "homes, brah, and man" occasionally prefenced by "Yo!" At the end of the shift, I told my young charge that I would prefer it if he would simply call me and the other supervisors by our names. His reply? "Sure, dude. No problem."
The other vignette that falls under this rubic occurred when I taught in Alabama. In the halls and in talking with students, I almost always referred to my colleagues as Dr. Martin or Dean Roberson or Ms. Young. In their offices or when we were in meetings, they were David, Terry, and Jenny.
How you refer to people with whom you work is important and is a direct reflection of your respect for them and the organization. Follow the lead of those around you. As a safe rule of thumb, think about it this way. Most people do not mind being called Mr. Jone or Ms. Lopez, but some will object to being called "Cuz."