Friday, April 27, 2012

Don't Stress to Impress

For many people the idea of talking about themself is an anxiety producing pit stain. First impressions matter. We know this from a first date, first day of school and, of course, an interview. When you're conscience you need to showcase your positives sometimes the exact opposite happens.

For example, I interviewed someone, via the phone, who dropped a slightly racist comment the other day. He realized his error right away and quickly said, "I can say that because I'm 'insert ethnicity here'. I actually felt bad for the guy. I know he meant no harm and was making a joke at his own expense but it was still not the right time to make the joke. He was a little green and had slipped up. If hired he represents my judgment and my company. Knowing he made a guffaw like that within 10 minutes of talking to me means I just can't take a chance that he won't do it again. A slip like that would be an employee relations nightmare.

There are many great people who I interview and don't get the job. Some are just not right for the position. There are some candidates who I question whether they actually want a job. Then there are those who trip themselves up to the point of no recovery. I compiled a list of basics to remember when interviewing. It sounds like common sense to pros but to someone who's nervous or a natural introvert it might help to keep these in mind.

  1. Don’t give one word answers: This makes you sound very uninterested in the position and makes me wish I had scheduled an interview with another applicant.
  2. Sound enthusiastic: I don’t think this should be something I need to write, yet I still talk with people who sound half asleep.
  3. Don’t use slang: Even if you’re a fantastic fit it still makes me cringe when people use slang in an interview. It's Ask not aks and dude is not the proper term for person. Don't be using no double negatives neither. Think about your social speak and adjust it a little when your speaking to a professional.
  4. Phone interview: Find a quiet place. Loud places distract both you and me.
  5. In Person interview: Always dress in business attire. You never know who will be interviewing you and what their opinion is on jeans.
  6. Be prepared: Always know what job(s) you applied for and know a little bit about the company. When someone says "I don't even know, I'm applying to 60 jobs a day" it's a huge turn off.
  7. Don’t take control of the interview: Asking questions is great, but when you start interviewing the interviewer it can get annoying really fast.
  8. Be Honest:If you lie and we find out, your fantastic resume and interview are now in the garbage. There is a reason we’re taught at a young age not to lie.
  9. Expand on your accomplishments: I read your resume and I liked it, hence your interview. Tell me why I should hire you over the other candidate with the same exact credentials.
  10. Specific examples are great: When people are too vague it makes me think you might be embellishing on your accomplishments.
  11. Remember, professional on e-mail: it’s way too easy to be relaxed over e-mail, fight the temptation!
  12. Stay organized: Creating an Excel sheet tracking all of your job search activity is a nice way to keep organized.

These are just some tips to help you survive and shine during the nerve racking experience that is the interview. I am sure there are many more interview tips that I did not include so feel free to comment with yours or just tell me about funny interviews you have conducted or been on in the past!

Remember: Recruiters want you to succeed, we're rooting for you!

Until next time.

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