Common Job Hunting Mistakes (Part I of 100)
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):
1) The way you look for an interview does matter. Clean everything: shirt, blouse, shoes, sweater, teeth, breath, hair, tie, and suit. A hoodie might look badass around the mall, home or hood. It looks like “You don’t get the job” at an interview. And no one will tell you so, except me.
2) Over Dress for the interview: One notch above what you think the norm might be. Makes you look good. People get dressed up for weddings and such. 50% of those will end quickly. At least in getting the job you’ll get a paycheck, not give one later.
3) Solid resume. Yeh, even for blue collar, retail, gas-station and landscape jobs. It shows you care and can read a book about how to make one. Go to the library or look it up on the internet. Ask someone responsible if it looks good, not your girlfriend or boyfriend. We see 100,000+ resumes every year. I see 1,000 each week. The majority of them have mistakes, look like crap and guess what; that is what the HR tight-butt will think about YOU: You are sloppy, crappy and not worth calling. As an “employment agency”, we’ll call 10X more than an HR person will. We get paid to do it, they get paid to enforce rules and go to meetings.
4) Act Alive and interested. Believe it or not, most people coming for interviews act like they are half-awake. Dull, uninterested. Get up for the game. Those who do get excited, and are alive, get hired. Those who don’t work in fast food or in gas stations with Omar and Vishnu. Night Shift. And live at home in their late 20’s. You probably love You Tube. Go there and watch videos on how to interview. NO ONE on those videos mumbles, acts asleep or looks at their shoes during an interview. (Vishnu is still going to school for his PhD in Computer Science. Omar is just out of the can, and waiting to go back in 3 weeks for a parole violation.)
5) The interview isn’t about you. Interviewers cannot ask the questions we really want to ask (like: “Why did you tattoo your forehead?”). Too value-based. So, we have to ask “can you/ have you done?” style questions. This is for simple reasons: we want to know if you can solve our problems, eradicate issues, achieve results and help the company make some money. YOU have caused us not to care about your personal issues. Get the interviewer to talk about what THEY (the company) need you to achieve. If you can show them you can do it. You get hired.
6) Don’t make statements: “I did this or that” or “sure I can do X” is meaningless. Anyone can make those statements. Tell us how you did it, what the results were for the previous company.
7) I don’t care that you have a degree. So quit thinking that just because you have one you are qualified for anything. Most employers who look for a degree use it as a thin point of demarcation and that is it (unless it is technical). What did you learn (that can be used)? “Attending” class for 2 or 4 years is NOT worthy of an academy award sweetheart. What you are prepared to do with it could help. Know what you learned and how it applies to the real world. Talk to someone who has been out of college for 10 years about what they would have said 10 years before about their education. It won’t be what they said 10 years ago.
8) Know your skills, talents and abilities. Those are different than your experiences. STA is what you use to get things done…anywhere. “Experience” is the blanket around those. I have seen people with one year experience with more STA than those with 10 years experience.
9) The interviewer’s job is to find reasons NOT to send you on to someone who actually does the hiring. HR hires for temp jobs, not career jobs. They are NOT your friend. They interview 20 times more people than those who actually do the hiring. Why do you think they are called “Screeners”? Prepare for your interview.
10) “So what do you guys do here?” The single most stupid question you can ever ask in an interview unless you walked in off the street. Does the HR person look like a Google dialog box? Do your homework for goodness sake. The best prepared person gets attention, gets the job, and gets the money. The rest of the pack gets to work at Wal-Mart and ask how you are today. (A good gig if you are retired from the Chevy plant up north and are bored on your pension).
Before you sprint on to Part II of this, simply know this analogy: Interviewing is akin to preparing to be on stage, or on camera: You are an actor. Not acting out something you are not, but acting out the best of YOU, and who YOU can be. To achieve this you need to prepare, be more than your usual great self, follow some “on camera rules” and get up for the game.