It might come as a surprise to some people, but as a hiring manager when I have read your application and decided to invite you to an interview, I actually want you to be successful. First of all because I want to fill the need in my team, but I also want to go back to do what I do best and not have to spend time interviewing people (and I guess I also want to be happy to have picked the right candidates in the pile of applications on my desk). Which means that already before you have said a word I am hoping you are a keeper. So it is certainly a surprise to me that so many candidates are completely missing the point of “presenting” yourself at an interview. Here are some of my favorite dislikes and these are not even mentioning the answers some candidates’ give (I guess there is an entire blog post in that):
· Dress code. Gone are apparently the days where you sported your “Sunday best” for an interview. Granted you should dress for the job you want – but I still believe at an interview you dress up at least a little. I see people for the second or third interview (they are told I am the “big fish”- in a small pond I give you that... but still), so I do not understand why they show up in dirty jeans with an out of shape t-shirt and hoodie, if this is the “Sunday best” what will they wear on a normal day? This is not another Gen Y ‘isme - I am interviewing people in their 40’es as well. Of course there can be good reasons (albeit not many). Once a candidate came in wearing jeans and shirt, the first thing he said was: “ I apologies for my dressing today, but as I am doing this interview in my lunch-break it would look really suspicious at my current job if I come in dressing up more” I completely “forgave” him because
o he acknowledged that a more formal dressing would be appropriate.
o he explained and apologized.
· Handshake: Be firm- don’t crush my hand but the limp/wet shake frankly gives me the creeps.
· Be interested: One candidate showed no interest whatsoever in the job or the company – only when he realized our compensation package is better than the one he is used to did he show a glimmer of interest. If you are not interested in the job itself why should I hire you? Read our jobdescription, note our key- word, use them to show how you will be a perfect fit for our needs.
· Agency forwarded. A fair amount of the candidates we have are presented by agencies. If I hire these candidates it cost me more (a fee to the agency) but it does give me the opportunity to give somebody I am not sure of a chance to prove herself. And I understand that if you are in employment and not looking around you would probably not have seen our opening unless the agency called you. However if you are current unemployed and actively looking I do not understand why you did not apply directly to our Monster or Stepstone adds. It does not show me a real interest in getting a job.
· Do not be late. We have interviewed more than 20 candidates the last two weeks – a staggering four of those have been late.
o One came 40 min late with no explanation
o Two could not find their way and came 20 and 30 min late
o One took the bus a stop too much and did not want to walk back – because it had started to rain.
My point is, if you want a job make sure you are on time – better even be early and prepared to wait (for me it means that if I have the opportunity I will start the interview earlier and then move on to my “real” job – but it also shows me you are well prepared and eager). Also how difficult can it be to check a map if you go to an interview – even if you are on the bus look out the window check street names and numbers. For the guy who got lost and did not want to walk in the rain …. Really need I say more?