Did you know that every move you make is being observed? Did you know that the interviewer is examining if the skills you display during that one meeting (phone or face-to-face) are good enough to be a future employee?
Here are some stories the interviewer is telling himself/herself while they are watching and listening:
- If you are late, you will be late for work days or important business meetings.
- If you ask generic questions like “What do you do?” or “What does your company do?” than you did not prepare for this interview. Therefore, you will not be prepared for on-the-job meetings.
- If you don’t present your skills in a relevant way to the interviewer, then you won’t make your work relevant to the company while on the job.
- If you look disheveled or sloppy, then that’s how you will come to work.
My goal is to help you “Cut the Crap, Get a Job”. And “crap” comes in two forms: the mistakes you are making that sabotage your odds and, two, the excuses you make for yourself along the way. So, here are two rules to apply when you are conducting any type of job search meeting.
Rule #1: This is Your BEST Day. A touch point with anybody, either via phone, e-mail or face-to-face is supposed to be your BEST DAY. That means there is no room for “crap” of any kind. Unfortunately, during the last 30+ years of hiring, recruiting, interviewing and helping thousands of people, the errors and excuses are getting worse, not better. In today’s age of texting, social media, multi-tasking, and economic pressure, candidates are sloppier and less prepared. Frankly, they are lazier with their job search. Virtually gone are the days of proofing every sentence, clearing all grammatical and typo errors, asking someone else to give you feedback on your cover letter AND, worst of all, the days of mock interviews to practice. You will stand out if you are making a touch point a positive experience.
Rule #2: You Are Always Interviewing. John arrived at Barbara’s office for an “informational interview”. An informational interview is probably the best form of networking as it gives you the opportunity to meet with someone closely connected to a job you want without formally interviewing. It is an exploratory, fact-finding meeting only and can be very effective to secure more insights about a posted position, get names of other contacts, learn the company jargon, get leads for other jobs and much more. John asked for the appropriate 30 minutes and arrived on time. What John forgot was that he truly was being interviewed in the sense that Barbara was observing and building a perception about John throughout the meeting. She happened to have some jobs opening up soon and she knew of other positions at her company, as well. John didn’t know that.
Where John displayed “crap” in the form of mistakes and excuses:
- He didn’t come in prepared with a minimum of 3 good questions.
- He didn’t have a pen and paper to take notes with or a copy of his resume, which Barbara asked him for. John’s excuse was “I thought this wasn’t an interview.”
- John let his guard down. When Barbara asked why he is looking for a new role, he said “Well, off the record, my current boss and I don’t see eye-to-eye. He’s stubborn and won’t let me innovate as much as I want to”. Oops. If John treated this meeting like an interview, he would have had a top notch interview answer.
- John just kept asking questions without watching the clock. Barbara was generous by giving him thirty minutes and John needs to run a tight meeting. I recommend the “law of 3s”…no more than 3 main questions, no more than 3 answers to one question, then stop talking.
- No follow up. John thought “well, that was just an informational meeting, so I’ll thank Barbara if something comes out of the information she provided.” Big miss and bad form.
As a result, Barbara did not invite him to interview for her positions and made a note in the online human resources system that he was not a candidate for their company. Come on, job seekers! Cut the Crap, Get a Job! Raise the bar, be your best at all times, and, as a result, you will be amazed what good things happen.