Job Trek is a series of articles about finding work after self employment. To explore new worlds and civilizations… To go where I have never been before. This post is the third in the series. In this one, I diverge towards the other side of the hiring table (having been on that side myself) to talk about interview skills.
In 2012, some of you may be thinking about changing jobs, careers, or perhaps venturing out into the world of employment for the first time. I thought I would share some of the tidbits that I have encountered these last few years, in the hopes that you might take something useful away with you before you go to your next job interview.
When I worked in an office, I didn’t realize how tough it could be to be on the other side of the desk. Suddenly, as a business owner, I am ‘management’, by default. One of the things that my husband and I have to do is interview potential employees. In my past life, I also interviewed for many jobs. I would always prepare for the interview by researching the company and adapting my resume to the job in question, highlighting features that would be of interest to the potential employer. I would pick out professional clothes and show up on time and give my undivided attention to the employer for however long it took. When it was over, I would go home and send an email to thank them for taking the time to meet with me.
I have a definite idea about how an interview should go, from the point of view of the interviewee, but I never expected some of the things I have seen over the last nine years.
• Do not leave your cell phone on.
• Worse still, do not answer your cell phone and have an entire conversation in front of the interviewer. Unless someone you love has been run over or is otherwise in imminent danger, it’s really not a good career move.
• As much as you have the freedom to dress how you want, please understand that I have the right to think that a person covered in visible tattoos and piercings might not make a great image representation for my company. The only thing a small business has is its name and reputation. That reputation is not improved by low rise jeans with the bright pink thong sticking up over the top, casually drawing attention to the butterfly tattoo in the small of one’s back. Unless of course that person was applying to work in a tattoo shop! Don’t be surprised if not everyone, particularly those signing the cheques, shares your view on appropriate work attire.
• Don’t bring your entire family to the interview. It gives no confidence to the business owner that you can find time to work at the job if you can’t even show up to an interview without bringing everyone you know.
• Please do not chew gum during the interview. Masticating cow is another image we would like to avoid.
• If you are invited to have the interview in a restaurant or other similar establishment, and you are offered a drink, please do not proceed to order a second round, point at the interviewer and say ‘It’s on her!’. You may think you are being hilarious. The interviewer will think that you are a fool.
We have been told some interesting versions of tales from other managers/business owners. Here’s one that stands out:
“As GM, I was interviewing for an experienced accountant who would also be visible to the public in certain instances. The first young man came in and I introduced myself and shook his hand greeting him by name. Unknown to me, the first interview was late and the second interview was early so I talked to this person for over ten minutes, asking questions before he mustered enough nerve to tell me he wasn’t who I thought he was. At seven thirty, a young man arrived promptly and on time but he had rows of earrings down each ear, a lip ring and his hair was purple coifed in a row of spikes all about six inches high. He wore blue jeans and a V neck sweater with no undershirt. I politely asked a few questions but informed him he did not have the qualifications for the position. He in turn called me a bigot and accused me of being biased because of his looks. Needless to say, neither person was hired.”
Wow. Well, here’s to hoping we all have better luck in 2012!