Friday, September 22, 2006

Interviewing Tips #2

Conducting interviews is an opportunity to see and hear exactly what a person should and should not do during a job interview. And sometimes, it is quite amusing to witness the mistakes people make during an interview. To share the enjoyment, I am going to start posting examples of what NOT to do during an interview if you do want to impress the interviewer. In a previous post, I wrote:

  • Turn off your cellular phone. If you do happen to forget to turn it off, don't take the call.
  • Bring in your identification card. Most companies do require some form of identification and some require background checks that require your ID number.
  • Speak clearly. Mumbling while interviewing for a phone job does not score you points.
  • Use complete sentences. Even if the environment is not professional, act like you are a professional.
  • After the interviewer has explained that employees are rated on how quickly they can help customers, do not proceed to take 10 minutes to answer every question. Repeating yourself over and over does not make you look better.
  • When you are the one making the interview last for over two hours because you can't shut up, do NOT complain about how long the interview is taking.
  • Answer the questions asked. Pulling random facts that do not relate into the answer does not help.
  • Researching the company you are interviewing is a good idea. When you only quote the website to the interviewer and offer no concrete examples of how you meet the company's vision, you do not sound like a fit for the job. Research is not the only thing we [interviewers] look at.
  • Telling an interviewer that your answer to every challenge is to give the call to a supervisor does not promote you as a competent individual.

If that is not enough, I offer some more/new suggestions:

  • You are one person and it is proper to refer to yourself as, "I," or "me." While highly amusing, referring to yourself in third person does not score points. Adding the word "the" in front of your name makes you sound egotistical and/or idiotic. For example, do not use phrases like, "The people like to talk to the Beth because the Beth is a good person and the people like the Beth."
  • When asked a question about your skills, answering in numbers makes no sense. For example, if I ask you, "What makes you successful at [activity]?" it is not considered appropriate to answer, "Five and a half." When I ask for clarification, repeating the words, "Five and a half," makes no sense.
  • Bringing up the subject of bowel movements is taboo. The interviewer does not care that you called in sick at your last job because you had diarrhea. That's too much information.
  • Dress appropriately. If in doubt, overdress for the interview. T-shirts, flip-flops, holy/ripped jeans, and/or baseball caps are never appropriate for a business job.
  • When the interviewer asks how many days you feel it is appropriate to call in sick each year, your answer should not be in the twenties. It is also not appropriate (while maybe honest) to tell the interviewer that you would call in just because you didn't feel like coming to work that day.
  • Stealing from companies will not get you a job. Telling an interviewer that it is "okay to steal office supplies as long as it isn't cases of them," is not good.
  • As for resumes, have someone proofread it for you. Changing your formatting mid-resume is not seen as a plus. Also, unless the job requires a large amount of experience, your resume should remain on one page. No interviewer actually cares if you volunteered for one month at a local club twenty years ago.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits the discrimination in hiring and employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Other laws and regulations (such as Americans with Disabilities Act, Equal Opportunity Act of 1972, and Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978) also protect applicants from discrimination based on disabilities, chance of pregnancy, age, and veteran status. Employers cannot inquire about these statuses during an interview. Don't bring them up. You don't need to tell me about your children, spouse, church, what country you or your ancestors came from, how you want to get pregnant, how you have physical or mental disabilities, or that you served in a war. I can't acknowledge it or use it in my decision.
  • Show up on time. Why is this so hard? If it is a phone interview and the interviewer is calling you, be near your phone. Don't let it go unanswered.
  • Don't trash talk your former employer. Yes, I know you left for a reason. Be considerate because they did pay you and did allow you to work there. If you had problems with your last boss, that's fine. It's better to say, "There was a personality conflict," or "We had communication issues," than to say, "My boss yelled at me all the time." That makes me think you had performance problems.
  • Most of all, the interviewer is appreciative of your time coming in to interview. Be courteous of their time too.

Some of these tips are funny and some are just common sense, but then, not everyone has common sense.

The Beth is now tired and the Beth thinks it may be time for the Beth to go to the bed. Have a 5 1/2 night.