Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tips for Successful Job Interviews

I've been reading a lot of blogs and articles about people having to rejoin the workforce and/or find new jobs in this crap ass economy (I believe crap ass is the technical term for recession). I spent my career (before I chucked it for a much harder and less appreciated job of MOM) in the Human Resources field, specifically on the employment end... so I feel I have something to offer these folks in terms of advice for a successful job interview. After interviewing countless folks over the years, I have perfected the art of the interview. I've never interviewed for a job I wasn't offered, and its not because I am some stellar human being (you read my blog, you know that), its because I can fake it. So, in the interest of spreading the wealth... here are some key things to avoid when sitting down for a job interview.

1. If the person sitting at the table looks significantly younger than you, go ahead and assume its the person you are interviewing with. Let's just set the scene so you understand where I am going. Say you are a highly qualified manufacturing plant manager. You are going in for a job interview and at the conference table is a burly, bearded 50 year old male, and a perky, well dressed (ah... the good old days) young woman. Best not to say "Oh, is it take your daughter to work day?" That's going to offend the young woman, who graduated college and worked hard to get to that level so young... and its probably going to offend Mr. Bearded Guy too. Let's face it, he doesn't want to be reminded that he could be his coworker's daddy. Plus, what you might not know is that the young girl liked to remind Mr. Bearded Guy that the year he started working for that organization was the year she was born. He just doesn't want to hear it from you, too.

2. If your brother shot your daddy the day before, go ahead and call to reschedule. Again, let's just say, hypothetically, you really want this job, but you had a personal issue the day before. Typically, I would say buck up and go to the interview. Go ahead and put on a strong face and to quote Tim Gunn, "make it work." But, if you had a family tragedy as big as your brother shooting your father with a shot gun and you are borderline hysterical still... go ahead and pick up that phone and cancel. Your interviewer will understand. What she won't understand is the attempt to go over your culinary training through your blubbering and wailing over your dead father and soon to be imprisoned (once the manhunt is over) brother.

3. Lastly, if you realize that your interviewer might be having an off day, why don't you just pretend not to notice. Just for kicks, let's say that you are interviewing for a manufacturing job and the Plant Manager, Production Supervisor and the HR Employment and Benefits Supervisor are in the room, and its the last interview of the day (after what felt like 5,000) and things have just gotten a little slap happy... just ignore it. Like if the Plant Manager says he is going to give a brief introduction to the operation and it lasts 45 minutes of the hour block of time you've been scheduled for... just let it go. Don't point it out and say "is this an interview or a speech?" And then, when he finally finishes and the HR lady opens her Diet Coke bottle to take a drink before she starts speaking and it explodes everywhere and then she dissolves into fits of giggles because she sprayed the whole room down fireman style (including you), just shake it off and say its ok. Don't ask where you can send your dry cleaning bill. We both know you don't dry clean that polo and jeans combo you wore to the interview. And when you're leaving after we all know you aren't getting the job and quite possibly the three interviewers are losing theirs, don't say "well, this was a waste of time." Trust me, it was way worse for us.

4. This is just a specific tip if you are looking for a job in one the of the fine correctional institutions in this country. Don't walk out onto the yard during your tour when you are surrounded by 100 inmates and ask at the top of your lungs "now, none of these men are violent criminals, right?" You just aren't going to be able to hear the answer through the guffaws coming from the murderers, abusers, and assaulters in the crowd.

5. Lastly, another quick tidbit. When coming into the interview, don't ask "now you don't drug test, right?" when you sit down. Chances are, you're going to be excused right then and there.

Hopefully if any of my readers are looking for jobs now or in the near future, these little tidbits will help!


Busy Bee Suz said...

Very funny...I will write these down if I have to re-join the work force....
**fingers crossed that I don't**

Amie said...

I think you need to find a way to do an audio entry so that you can add a section on tourette syndrome and the job interview...what not to do.

WA said...

I shall keep this tips in mind the next time I land an interview as Prison Guard. (And as the mother of 2 little boys, let's just say I'm very well-qualified.)

Crazy Mo said...

Good one! It reminded me of an interview I went on. I was asked the most ridiculous Barbara Walter-esque questions ... if you were a tree ...

At the end of question period, the two women asked me if I was still itnerested in the job. In hindsight, I should have given them the "are you nuts?!" look and walked out, but I didn't. I finished the interview. Thankfully, they called to tell me they weren't interested. Yeah, neither was I. Click.

That last part was only in my head. I'm not a bridge burner!

Yo mama said...

My favorite interview moment, a job I ultimately didn't get (shocking), was when, during an interview that I thought wasn't going particulary well, the interviewer asked me what I thought would be the most difficult part of the job -- I responded with -- this interview! Talk about burning bridges.

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Suz - I second those crossed fingers!

Amie - How could I have left her off?

WA - I can think of no better past experience than motherhood.

Crazy Mo - I hate those questions... although I will admit I used to throw them out there if I got really bored in an interview. The look of horror made it worth it.

Mom - Did you get the job?