You’ve got a great resume- so why aren’t you getting any interviews? Often we spend so much time on the resume we neglect the other important details. As a classic example if your answering machine has any of the following change it immediately:
- It sounds like a dating service
- Music to accompany your message
- Multiple voices
- Puns etc.. We’re not in but we’ll get back to you Barr-ing any complications
* Another twist on this is email. It is very hard to take someone seriously with an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Take out a free email account with a more appropriate address.
If you don’t have an answering machine invest in one. Now let the machine work for you. Have the machine answer the phone. Why? It puts you in more of an advantageous position. You have some time to think of what you are going to say and to ask questions.
When you call back, find out who is interviewing you. Depending on the company it may be someone different than the person calling. It may also be a panel (more than one interviewer) and you want to know who they are and their position. Ask if the job you applied for has a job description that you could pick up. Always do your own leg work- don’t ask them to send it to you. If they tell you they don’t mind, don’t argue, thank them and move on.
You’ve got an Interview
The first thing you do is enlist your friends. Their first job is the handshake. Don’t ask your parents about this one, if you have a weak handshake chances are they do too. Work on this. It is the only point of contact in an interview and you need to project confidence and enthusiasm.
Second ask them what your pet word is. Mine is “like” other common ones are “you know”, “um”, “well” and the worst “um, well , like, you know”. We all have one, and for 30-45 minutes you need to minimize the use of this word. Have your friends test you for endurance, see how long you can go without saying the pet word.
At the interview
When you get to the interview, early, take time to read any brochures they may have in the office on their company. Ensure you are not chewing gum, it sounds stupid, but it happens all the time.
If the receptionists asks you if you would like water or coffee decline. You will be nervous enough and shaking hands with a glass in your hand is very difficult.
Once you are in the interview room. Pay attention to what is going on. Your interviewer will direct you to a seat. If you are given a choice of seating avoid sitting facing a window. Two reasons, first you will get distracted, second the interviewer will be in shadow if it’s a bright day.
Hands down the most common mistake everyone makes is not listening to the question. The easiest way to pay attention is to bring a note pad. The interviewer will be taking notes you should too. Taking notes gives you a moment to reflect on the question and prepare your thoughts.
If the question is “Give us a time when..”. You answer should not start “If I…” or “I would…”, the interviewer is looking for what you have done. Your past behaviour is the best predictors of what you will do in the future. HR is also very fond of situational questions. If you can’t think of what to do in a controlled environment then chances are you won’t be able to respond in the field.
After the interviewers ask you their questions you will have an opportunity to ask them questions.
Don’t ask about money!! Acceptable questions include, shifts, uniforms or dress code, number of co-workers, and when you can expect to hear from them.
It is entirely up to you if you choose to send a note to thank the interviewer. Email is great because it is easily read and you know the interviewer got it. The message should be brief and is not opportunity to provide all those great answers you wish you had said in the interview. Do not call to follow up. The interviewer may have interviewed 20 people in 3 days
and will have difficulty placing you.
Be yourself. If you try to be what you think they want, you’ll most likely be miserable at the job. So if they ask if you prefer to work with data or people, and you hate data. Tell them. You might not get the job, and that might be the best thing for you.