Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cranky Recruiter: Interviewing Advice

Feeling a bit like Scrooge, I am tapping away at these keys without any heat in my office, wearing worn out, now-fingerless gloves, wondering when my assistant will show up to work to put some coal into the fire.  That darn Cratchit, always taking time off for the holidays.  No goose for him.

I have been putting in a fair amount of time at work this holiday season--which should be a good sign for the economy.  Lots of new positions to be filled for 2012.  I have been heading out to interview people for a wealth of positions.  I have also met a lot of different people recently, and thought I could give everyone a little advice--both the young whippersnappers and the seasoned winery veterans.

1.  Be nice:  Yes, be nice to your recruiter or she gets very cranky.  But also, be nice to everyone you meet.  I have always tried to live by the Golden Rule, and think it is paying off quite handsomely these days.  When you are interacting with someone on the phone, use good phone etiquette.  When you are sitting down with someone at an interview, thank them for their time and their interest in interviewing you.  And if you have to interact with, say a secretary or a server while there for the interview, you had better be nice to them too.  I won't tell you how much a rude interaction with a server will diminish your standing as a prospect with me.

2.  Be on time:  Yes, get there 15 minutes early.  If you are earlier than that, wait in your car or at the corner cafe for a few minutes and then show up 5-15 minutes early.  We recruiters pay attention.  If you are late to our interview, most likely you'll be late to the interview with our clients--heaven forbid.  And maybe habitually late to work. 

3.  Be Interested:  Oh, how cranky I become if I feel like I am doing a favor by showing up to the interview for the person who is looking for a job.  Yes, thank YOU for allowing me to schlep here, to be on time, and to be interested in talking to you about the position.  No questions about me?  Fine, I don't really like talking about myself.  But try to think up some points of conversation--just in case you need to liven up the conversation.  As I often say, "It is all about me."  Not really, but you had better think of some things to talk about with a potential interviewer, because it often can separate you from the competition.  When interviewing at a winery if you can bring up a funny story that ties into their history--pure interviewing gold.  Also, if you can ask me how my recent trip was that I posted about on this blog and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, etc, maybe I'll feel like you did your homework, and that you know how to carry on a pleasant conversation.  And maybe I'll even like you.  That never hurts.

4.  Know why you are there:  Most likely if we are in an interview, it is because, 1. I have a current opening I am thinking of you for, or,  2. I know there will be something relevant soon.  If I have mentioned some particulars about the job, do your homework and find out what you can before our interview.  Also it might be good to at least look at my website to find out who the heck I am.

5.  Show you care:  Comb your hair, polish your nails, check your make-up, iron your shirt, tuck in your pants, polish your shoes.  Yes, I'm a big fan of the book Dress for Success, for good reason.  Showing you take good care of yourself reflects positively on you, and on your future capabilities in the job.  When you look disheveled at the interview, I can only guess what you'll look like on Monday morning, Month 2 of the job.  Your presentation is very important.  Grab that book, search the web, or use anything else that outlines what it is appropriate in professional circles, and get to know it.  Oh, and if you are wearing a dark suit, please, please, please, no white socks.  Just a cranky recruiter's all-time pet peeve.

6.  Don't swear.  Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I don't need to hear any swear words during an interview.  Really, I don't.  I hate it.  Yes, maybe I think a lot of words are swear words that the FCC deems OK now, but really, can't we increase our own vocabulary to use words such as awful, disgusting, or mean, instead of profanity.  I am shocked that I have to write this, but I am sometimes shocked who swears in an interview.

7.  Follow up.  Last week I had to make an interview arrangement on the phone while I was driving.  I asked the future interviewee to please send me an email with our scheduled appointment time so that I would be sure to block it out on my calendar when I got back to my office.  He didn't email me it, and I waited, and waited, knowing full well when I had said I would meet him.  When the day of the interview came he wasn't sure we were meeting.  I was there, on time, and he wasn't.  While he may have thought I forgot, I didn't.  I was just seeing how good his follow through was.  Sometimes follow through is the most important element in getting an interview, getting a job, and finding success.  So, when someone tells you to do something, do it.  When you finish up with the interview, send a thank you.  I don't care how you send one, but do it.  It shows you care, and that you have good follow up. 

Ok, that's off my chest.  Now you can see the inner working of Catbert!  Happy Holidays everyone, and maybe when I wake up tomorrow I'll buy Cratchit a goose and give him the day off.  Maybe....hmm humbug!

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