Frustrated you haven’t landed your dream job, or any quality job for that matter?
Okay, that might be exaggerating a tinch, but let me fill you in on a few things I’ve learned along the way. I’ve received 100’s of resumes over the years in my profession and audited and/or led many, many interviews.
Additionally, I’m in a unique position as I’ve been the employee, the manager, the general manager and now the owner of a business. What I can tell you is that how you portray yourself DOES make a difference. Get ready…I might not be saying what most would view as “politically correct,” but I WILL be telling you the truth in what employers and managers see and think.
- You drop your resume off in SLOPPY clothes. Yes, we are judging you right off the bat…if you walk in with dirty, stinky (smoke?), slutty or dumpy clothes it’s an instant strike against you. Sorry if it hurts, but the truth is that first impressions matter and it starts before the interview. I LOVE giving the underdog a chance, so c’mon, you’ve got to do your part and TRY! Raise yourself up if you want an elevated career.
- Which leads to, dressing inappropriately for an interview itself. Dress for success peeps! Look confident, intelligent and like a grown up. I personally appreciate it immensely when an applicant looks like they truly took the time to look nice for an interview. I appreciate the effort.
- No resume. If you want a high quality job, then you need to buck up and create a resume and not just mail a handwritten pre-printed employer application. Have a professional edit it, look it over and give you an honest critique.
- You didn’t PROOFREAD your resume. It’s filled with spelling or grammatical errors. One mistake, I can live with….more than that, I toss the resume to the bottom of the pile.
- Limp HANDSHAKE. Gross!!! Isn’t it uncomfortable to shake someone’s hand that feels dead? You don’t need to break my hand, but give it a good grip, a good shake with a great eye contact and smile…we’ll get off on the right foot.
- You chew GUM during the interview. Just no.
- You YAWN during the interview. I don’t know how to physically stop a yawn, but I would never hire a person who yawns while I’m speaking. Duh.
- You SWEAR during the interview.
What Impresses Me…
- Not only do you drop your resume off in a professional matter, looking professionally dressed but you also ask to speak to the hiring manager so you can drop it off personally to him or her.
- Prior to your interview, you phone or email the interviewing manager and ask if there’s anything you can bring to the interview that will help the process or decision making. I.E. portfolio, more references, photos of work, etc. This will show you’re taking this seriously and WANT to do a good job.
- An actual, legitimate plan for your future. I realize no one can predict the future…however, as an employer, I want to know that you are committed to a new position and mean it. If you’re just interviewing without any plans to commit to the job and giving it your full attention to succeed, move on from my place of employment.
- If you feel like the job isn’t for you or you see red flags, just do everyone a favor and don’t waste your time or theirs…drop out of the race and try again somewhere else. Write a thank you note to whomever you interviewed with and politely ask to be removed from the potential group of applicants.
- You’ve done your research on the position. Applicants who are unprepared annoy me. If you don’t have a few questions prepared for the hiring manager it appears as if you’re not taking the job hunt seriously. Think about questions thoughtfully AFTER you’ve done a little research on what exactly the job is about. What you can’t find in the job description and are still questioning topics, you ask about it. I want an employee to be hired who has been given all the facts about the job…the good and the bad. I’m impressed when interviewees seek that information as well.
- ENERGY and enthusiasm in the right doses will always intrigue me more than someone who is slumped in a chair, answering in a monotone voice with one word answers. C’mon! Perk up! New energy in a workplace is always desired and wanted! CAUTION…don’t be a hyperactive Pomeranian puppy in your interview or at work though…that gets tiring. Sit up straight, fold your hands professionally, make eye contact, smile and evoke professionalism.
- A letter or email thanking me for the interview whether you get the job or not. Employers are always looking and will remember you.
Red Flags for Employers…
- Your resume shows you as a JOB HOPPER. In my opinion, anytime I see a resume that includes job after job lasting just a year or two, that scares me. Only list previous employment on your resume that shows you were valuable in the long run for other companies. Obviously, the exception to this would be a “physical” move that required you to resign. Job hoppers are seen as flaky, non-committed or undecided. All of those traits are undesirable to future employers. There is something to be said for someone who started at the bottom and worked their way up…you can’t do that if you only last a year or two at each job. Many think the more jobs they have listed, the more impressive you come across as…I’m here to tell you that I literally count how many jobs someone has listed. Too many is a no, no.
- You BADMOUTH your previous jobs, employers, managers. Employers don’t like complainers and people who aren’t team players. They also appreciate discretion, confidentiality and PROFESSIONALISM. Complaining about previous jobs or managers also just creates the impression that you’re not taking any responsibility for your role in a previous employment position (i.e. it was everyone else’s fault).
- You’re LATE for an interview or reschedule an interview. We’re getting a glimpse of things to come if we hire you. No thanks.
- You’re a KNOW IT ALL. You were the hero of your last job, you know more than your previous boss and you can save the world. Don’t get me wrong. I love an employee who has great ideas for legitimately improving business, but a know-it-all is a very hard person to work with long term and I avoid hiring them.
My heart goes out to everyone who has to go on a job interview. It’s not fun by ANY means. It’s nerve wracking and stress inducing. I get it. Literally practice your interview skills with someone or better yet in front of a mirror. Listen to your words as they come out and perfect your approach and answers. Send your resume to a qualified friend to review and critique. Heck! Send it to me! I’d be happy to edit it for you! Before your interview, calm down. Take some deep breaths, say a little prayer and tell yourself some positive affirmations. If you’re prepared, all you can do is your best.
Go get ’em girls!
Emily (Laney Lu’s Mom)