Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What stands out like a Red Flag about this Applicant?

"Why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself?"

- This is one of the first things I say when I interview a job applicant.

I've interviewed for fun, like the interviews with my boys and the interview with the Pioneer Woman.
I've also interviewed for work. Serious interviewing for hiring serious job applicants.

And it's been an interesting process that I've learned a lot from.

I can't share the step-by-step approach my company takes, which is rather extensive, but I can share some insights about what you should and shouldn't do, as an interviewee.  In my opinion.

The economy is tough right now.
When we send out a job ad on Craig's List, we get HUNDREDS of applicants emailing their resumes.

It's overwhelming.

So, the first thing that catches my eye?
The subject line of an email.

"Very interested"
"I'm the one you're looking for"
"This job is perfect for me"

Those stand out.

Now, the NUMBER ONE RULE of going to a job interview?

Show up early for goodness sake.

Dress appropriately.
No flip flops.
No extra cleavage.

I spent a whole interview staring at one woman's breasts...and I'm not a lesbian!
They were

Do your research before you arrive.
Know the company's name and what they do.
Don't ask the receptionist these questions as you're waiting.

Have good body language.
Shake firmly.
Make good eye contact.

It's ok to be nervous.
That's expected.
But be honest.
Ask questions.
SHOW interest.

Don't answer all the questions by looking out the window.

And please, please turn off your cell phone.

These are the basics, people.

I have more, much more, but follow these simple steps and trust me, you'll make a good impression!

Have you been on an interview lately?
Any interview horror stories?


heaven said...

that makes you look presentable and lets the person who is interviewing you see you being serious and willing to do the job.

Jen said...

I have not had an interview in 10 years and I plan on keeping it that way.

Amanda Wissmann said...

Fortunately, (in MOST cases) you dont have to interview to be a missionary :)

I hate interviews (being put on the spot and talking about myself) BUT I know I am good at fact (not to brag) but I can't think of one job that I've interviewed for that I havent been offered!

I totally agree...BASICS, people! I will never understand people who go to an interview looking like they walked in off the street. Whether you like it or not Appearance DOES make a difference!

Great post!

Cristin said...

I'm so thankful that I don't have to interview any time soon... and that my job is sort of recession proof.

...utteredthoughts said...

Funnily enough i just had a letter this morning inviting me to an interview for university. I have never had a proper interview before but i can tell you im totally scared because im such a shy person but i agree that impression is everything and il just try and do my best. Thanks!

Cindy said...

Hi and thanks for the tips. I've been out of work since April 2008 and looking seriously since the last week in July 2008. It's very tough out there. I've been told so many times that I'm too qualified for the position and for other jobs I'm not qualified enough. Why won't employers give people a chance. Don't they remember how it was for them when they were looking? Any thoughts on that?

Great blog.


Justine said...

Nope, haven't been on an interview in many years, but even I know how to act for one. The woman actually came in showing mega cleavage? What a loser. Probably disappointed that a woman was interviewing her.

Justine :O )
Btw... loved the cartoon!

Life's Speedbumps and Road Blocks said...

I agree that from the moment you walk in the door you have already made an impression. Dressing appropriately is the number one thing you can do to make sure you make that great impression. I know that people are out looking for jobs right now but I actually quit my job of 6 years on Monday and felt liberated. I will not be doing any interviews for at least a year and half as I quit so I can go to school full time. I am so excited but at the same time a bit scared. I will have no income from myself, only my husbands so it is going to be tight but an education will make up for it!!! Thanks for all the great tips. I keep a list of items that will help me professionally and I will certainly add a few things to my list.

WWPAULJD said...

haha. yeah that's so true.

Unknown said...

Having spent years as an HR Manager for an international manufacturer, I have seen it all and heard it too! It is simply amazing at times just how under prepared some candidates are.

I would add one other thing to your list, cover the tattoo's.

Anonymous said...

I had to interview before, I actually kind of enjoy it even though it makes me nervous.

I have a question for you though, how do you say your name? because it's kind of unusual and I have a best friend who spells her name the same but is pronounced "Ray". So I was curious.

Susie said...

I was interviewed several times last year for Iron Cupcake: Milwaukee-)

Nicole said...

Good tips!!! Hopefully I won't need them. I'm a shy person and hate job interviews. Especially when they ask, what do you think you could do to improve yourself? I feel like that is a trick question. Can't say nothing, I am perfect, cause then you just come off as arrogant. But also don't want to show any weakness that could potentially keep you from getting the job.

Jennifer Warthan said...

Do I have to leave my Bud Light can outside?

How about if I bring one to share? Is it ok then?

Sharlene T. said...

And, please, don't bring your mother/father, brother/sister, girlfriend/boyfriend to the interview. Have them wait nearby AWAY from the interviewer's office. Most companies like to believe you're focused only on them!

Keda said...

Very good advice. I don't like interviewing people because I never know what to ask or how to read between the lines of their answers. And I work for my father, so no interviews scheduled for me.

But I think this is absolutely essential advice for anyone out there looking.

Also remember neat and clean: My friend related this story to me once of a girl that came for an interview to work in their beauty salon. The girl was pretty, but very scruffy. her toenails were painted, but the paint was chipping off, her nails were bitten... This is not the type of thing a client can see when entering a place where they think they can become more beautiful.

So always be clean and neat. And please be aware of things like underwear that shows. Unless you are interviewing for a tattoo artist or a stripper, it is not on.

I always tell our employees to dress so as not to make any client that walks through the door uncomfortable. You want to keep your identity, but we are a business. We have directors and clients ranging in age from 16 to 80 coming in. No one must feel uncomfortable by what you are wearing.

Anonymous said...

I used to have to interview job candidates fairly often and was amazed at the things people would say. Here are some examples of what *not* to say during the interview:

- Does your company have a minimum amount of time someone has to work here? (When questioned, the candidate explained that she wasn't sure she wanted the job so how long would she have to work here before quitting?)
- Do you have certain hours when I have to be here? (This was followed by, "I like to set my own hours.")

And my all-time favorite, from a candidate who was 45 minutes late:
-I decided on the way over here that I don't want this job 'cause my unemployment hasn't run out and I'm not desperate yet. But do you know of any better jobs? (Uh, no.)

Sicilian said...

I support a department that interviews a lot of people all the time.
Don't come to a manager interview in jeans.
I have numerous managers in the department, please get the name of the person you are going to interview with and their office #.
Remove any facial piercings you have for the interview.
Make sure you have enough time to park and find the office if you are interviewing in a large building.
Know that if you are going to work for most companies that you are going to have to submit to a drug test and a background check.
Smile a lot.

~ Roma said...

Great Blog!!

Just recently interviewed and thankfully I got the one of the jobs i interviewed for!

The basics is what we all need to remember and what I try to let my kids know. There needs to be a class in schools about this subject nowadays.

One tip I can add...Job hunting is not a buddy system sport. As a former manager when applicants walk in by twos and more I have to say I wasn't impressed and job applications were not taken as seriously.