Thursday, February 15, 2007

How To Screw Up Your Job Interview

There's a lot of very useful interview tips in this article. Most are common sense but it's good to have a checklist of things to follow.

Forget the paper round and the after-school gig in a grocery store, my career started in 1986 with hope, ambition and a good Rick Astley suit so I've been through one or two job interviews. They used to make me nervous, but not now as I know my worth and what I can bring to a company so that gives me confidence. If the interviewer thinks I'm not right for a job, then another one down the line will. I take the meetings very seriously though as first impressions last and you only get one shot, especially if it's a really good opportunity with lots of candidates.

Anyway, to round out the article above, here's some tips on things not to do, or, How To Screw Up Your Job Interview.

1) Don't be late. No excuse -- you know the time and date, you Google the area to find a coffee shop and kill time. Invest a dollar in a beverage and pretend to read the free commuter paper 10 times. Which leads nicely into:
2) Drink tea. Not good to walk into the interview and blast them with a dose of Colombian special blend coffee breath.
3) Make good eye contact. That doesn't mean constantly staring at them like you'll be dropping gloves [for Canadian interviewers], whooping their goddamn ass [for American interviewers] or using duelling pistols at the crack of dawn [for British interviewers]. Looking at someone while talking to them is simply a sign of respect, not a challenge.
4) Don't lie. An obvious no-brainer tip, but be honest about what you've achieved as they can easily do some research and find out. Saying that "I have a lot of experience bringing substantial resources into a company," isn't the same as your former colleagues making you do the lunchtime sandwich run every day so you'd feel more popular.
5) When asked, "So, where do you see yourself in a year's time?" DO NOT reply "In your chair, yesterday's man."
6) Never diss former colleagues or companies you've worked for. Trust me, that boss you hated -- the one with no talent and a lazy eye -- that's the interviewer's brother-in-law. It's a very small world.
7) Be prepared for everyone's favourite interview question: "When was a time that you faced conflict, and what steps did you take to overcome the issues?" [Forget tip #4 at this stage and make up some story about how you were really ill one day, there was a major snowstorm brewing and even though the boss begged you to go home, you fought back and demanded to stay and put the finishing touches to an Excel spreadsheet highlighting sales figures for fiscal year 2003. Or something like that... something that can't be checked. Turn a negative into a positive.]
8) Don't keep checking your watch. Even though it may be past the time to check your blood sugar levels, stick it out. Risk a twitching fainting fit -- which might not even happen so the odds are good -- rather than looking at your watch as though you're bored and have somewhere better to be.
9) Your first question should not be: "Will my expense account include Vegas?"
10) End the interview by thanking them for their time and telling the next candidate waiting outside that they've had a wasted journey.

So, avoid those clangers and you should be fine.

1 comment:

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