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Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation

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Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 16:04
Scenario: You receive an interview invite to set up with a local alumnus (a la Kellogg). However, you're unsure how to pronounce your interviewer's last name.

When you first call to set up the interview, how do you address the interviewer in the following situations:

1. They answer the phone and simply say "hello."

2. They answer the phone using their first name only: "Bob speaking."

3. They answer the phone using both first and last names: "Hello. Bob Smith."

4. Their administrative assistant answers "Mr. Smith's office."


Now, some of these may be common sense, but the issue is, especially in the case of #1, do you risk mis-pronouncing their last name? Or do you risk disrespect by addressing them by their first name?

Thoughts? Thanks for the feedback.

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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 16:06
TheGuy wrote:
Scenario: You receive an interview invite to set up with a local alumnus (a la Kellogg). However, you're unsure how to pronounce your interviewer's last name.

When you first call to set up the interview, how do you address the interviewer in the following situations:

1. They answer the phone and simply say "hello."

2. They answer the phone using their first name only: "Bob speaking."

3. They answer the phone using both first and last names: "Hello. Bob Smith."

4. Their administrative assistant answers "Mr. Smith's office."


Now, some of these may be common sense, but the issue is, especially in the case of #1, do you risk mis-pronouncing their last name? Or do you risk disrespect by addressing them by their first name?

Thoughts? Thanks for the feedback.


One option is to call the person's main office line and search for him through the corporate directory. Usually the system will have a recording of the person saying his name.

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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 16:27
Another option would be to give it your best shot, "Mr. Schwarzenegger" and promptly follow it with a "Did I pronounce that correctly?" If it's a difficult name I am sure they get it all the time and would appreciate the courtesy you showed by by asking for the correct pronunciation. If your first stab is incorrect, just make sure you repeat he/she after they say it the correct way, and once again before the interview concludes (just don't forget!!).

Just my $.02, although I do have Emily Post's "Etiquette" sitting on my desk at home if you want to be sure :P

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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 16:41
zoinnk wrote:
TheGuy wrote:
Scenario: You receive an interview invite to set up with a local alumnus (a la Kellogg). However, you're unsure how to pronounce your interviewer's last name.

When you first call to set up the interview, how do you address the interviewer in the following situations:

1. They answer the phone and simply say "hello."

2. They answer the phone using their first name only: "Bob speaking."

3. They answer the phone using both first and last names: "Hello. Bob Smith."

4. Their administrative assistant answers "Mr. Smith's office."


Now, some of these may be common sense, but the issue is, especially in the case of #1, do you risk mis-pronouncing their last name? Or do you risk disrespect by addressing them by their first name?

Thoughts? Thanks for the feedback.


One option is to call the person's main office line and search for him through the corporate directory. Usually the system will have a recording of the person saying his name.


Definitely a different idea. I posted this to get some ideas out there for everyone else and get differing viewpoints, and this is the unique input I was looking for. Thanks.

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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 16:43
TL wrote:
Another option would be to give it your best shot, "Mr. Schwarzenegger" and promptly follow it with a "Did I pronounce that correctly?" If it's a difficult name I am sure they get it all the time and would appreciate the courtesy you showed by by asking for the correct pronunciation. If your first stab is incorrect, just make sure you repeat he/she after they say it the correct way, and once again before the interview concludes (just don't forget!!).

Just my $.02, although I do have Emily Post's "Etiquette" sitting on my desk at home if you want to be sure :P


While I have my own experience and thoughts on it, I definitely agree with you, TL and that was my plan.

That being said, I agree that "Etiquette" would definitely be a great place to look. Thanks.

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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 17:04
have you tried googling the pronunciation?

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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 17:12
dabots wrote:
have you tried googling the pronunciation?



Yes, I have. I am not worried in my particular case. I just wanted to pose the question to get some useful out there in case anyone else had the same issue. Thanks for the idea, though!

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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 18:09
TheGuy wrote:
TL wrote:
Another option would be to give it your best shot, "Mr. Schwarzenegger" and promptly follow it with a "Did I pronounce that correctly?" If it's a difficult name I am sure they get it all the time and would appreciate the courtesy you showed by by asking for the correct pronunciation. If your first stab is incorrect, just make sure you repeat he/she after they say it the correct way, and once again before the interview concludes (just don't forget!!).

Just my $.02, although I do have Emily Post's "Etiquette" sitting on my desk at home if you want to be sure :P


While I have my own experience and thoughts on it, I definitely agree with you, TL and that was my plan.

That being said, I agree that "Etiquette" would definitely be a great place to look. Thanks.


I agree, that's exactly what I've done. Even if it's a face-to-face thing, if I don't think I've heard it correctly I'll repeat and ask if I have it right. No sense letting it drag on too long, then it could be embarrassing!
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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 20:31
Another trick I've used: call their office at 10pm the night before. Unless they are in banking, you'll get voicemail, and then you'll get to hear them pronounce it too.

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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 20:33
rhyme wrote:
Another trick I've used: call their office at 10pm the night before. Unless they are in banking, you'll get voicemail, and then you'll get to hear them pronounce it too.


Maybe not the best approach for the super paranoid. What if the guy somehow connects the caller-ID dots and thinks you're a weird, late-night stalker?



Paranoia Self-Destroya :lol:
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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2009, 21:49
rhyme wrote:
Another trick I've used: call their office at 10pm the night before. Unless they are in banking, you'll get voicemail, and then you'll get to hear them pronounce it too.

this is exactly what i'd suggest as well. try calling from a different phone in the office building, borrow a cell phone, maybe skype, or payphone.
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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2009, 07:46
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Good lord. Why not just ask?

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Re: Interview etiquette - Name Pronunciation   [#permalink] 28 Jan 2009, 07:46
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