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Tip of the week: Sir/Ma'am is not a sign of 'too formal'

Many organizations have cultivated relaxed cultures, priding themselves on casual dress, flexible hours, and personalized work spaces. Suits and ties are out, jeans and ironic tees are in, headphones are common, action figures and family photos adorn desks, and everyone is on a first-name basis. With environments like that, when a candidate says “Sir” or “Ma’am”, red flags immediately go up – this candidate will not fit in. However, this is a leap too far. For some, such as Veterans, using “Sir” and “Ma’am” is a show of respect, not formality. Before assuming that a candidate won’t fit with a culture because of signs of formality like “Sir” / "Ma’am”, evaluate the true culture fit – do they align with the missions, values, and day-to-day experiences of the company.

Bonus tip: Don’t be shy about saying “Please call me…”. Correcting a candidate can be very insightful – with a little guidance can the candidate adjust to the new cultural rules?

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