Over 30 years as a recruiter and employment agency owner has taught me a few things the average person needs to avoid in looking for a job. These issues are founded in simple advice, not the crap doled out by frustrated and unemployed 27 year old former HR or corporate managers who have worked for two companies and interviewed 17 people (okay, 39 people):
11) You talked to the receptionist too much (or too openly). One of the first people smart executives question about potential job candidates is the front desk person. “How was this guy with you …?” And guess what; the front desk person can size you up and trash your chances in a nano-second if you were stupid (Like asking her out).
12) You actually answer the #1 most stupid question HR people ask; “So tell me about yourself”. I think even online Universities tell HR people not to ask that question. (it tells a smart candidate that the HR fool or executive didn’t prep very well for the interview). The smart way to respond to that question is: “Please tell me that the future of the entire civilized world does NOT depend upon my answering that stupid question again today. Anderson Cooper asked that earlier today on CNN and we spent about an hour just on my damn credentials. Didn’t even get to my values”. Or, you could respond by defining yourself in relationship to the position for which you are interviewing. The choice is yours. Personally, I like the first answer.
13) You did not fill out the company’s “bought it in bulk at OfficeMax in 1983” application in the damn freezing and smelly lobby. Fill it out completely you fool. Every blank, every last blank. It simply shows you can follow directions. If they wanted you to put “see attached resume” on the application, they would have a big blank just for that.
14) You asked about anything other than the job and company in the interview. Interviewing 101 says don’t ask about time off, benefits, raises, promotions and all that in a first interview. But what do you do? You ask anyhow, and then complain about the “job market”.
15) You asked “what does the job pay?” An honest question for sure. It just should never be asked in interview #1. Even if it is a general labor job. They will tell you. You can then say no or yes. Asking early may preclude the fact that they have a higher level job for a more skilled person that pays more money. Even if that job comes open in 2 weeks, they won’t call you if you say “I make more than that sweetheart”.
16) You drive by a company with an overflowing parking lot: Stop in. Ask what is happening or if they are hiring. But don’t do it without getting dressed up and offering a clean resume. In another series I’ll tell you how to do this well.
17) Stop looking for a job at 1:00. Yeh, you put in a good day looking on the ‘net. Time for CSI reruns and some old college games. Spouse will be home in a couple hours. Look dumb-ass, looking for work is a full time job, not a part time job. Go to a seminar, coffee shop, network group, library, one stop office (nah, strike that) and look at things in a slightly different way. Here’s a novel idea: Go to Half Priced Books and read up on “how to interview” or something that will feed your brain.
18) Don’t work out: Even if you don’t see it, your body, your general energy change when you are not working. You will lose a step, gain weight, and look less attractive than you may have before. Get up for the game. No one wants to hire a rag-doll who looks tired, has clothes that are too tight and has cat hair on their outfit. Especially on their lap. You need to look and act sharp.
19) Don’t talk to anyone. Just like NOT working out makes you flabby and unattractive and a little lifeless, not talking and engaging in a stimulating conversation except with your dog, will lead you into being “conversationally handicapped”. You will stumble verbally, respond in two seconds instead of a nano-second. You will simply become dull, boring and totally the # 2 candidate. Go somewhere other than a bar and talk to people. Keep the mouth and brain oiled.
20) Keep your house messy. Messy is comforting and you need all the comfort you can get. Bull. You need to be crisp, and the environment you are in needs to make you so. Your house should look like a hotel room the day you check in. Keeps your mind clear too. And if the cat box stinks, you will too. Not good for an interview with a dog-person.
In the next 10 we will cover more important questions like: “Should I carry a briefcase to an interview?” No. You shouldn’t unless it is a make-believe interview and you are trying to look like you think grownups look. Or … can I take my iPad in to an interview?