Over the last couple of months, I’ve been pounding the pavement for my next full-time gig. In the course of doing so, it’s occurred to me that many of the rules about first dates also apply to job interviews.
I’ve also found myself thinking that, just as most of the dating advice out there is geared toward women, most interview tips are designed for job seekers. After all, in this tough hiring market, the pressure is on the potential employee to make a good impression, right?
Much like a first date, a job interview is a two-way street, requiring preparation and engagement from both sides. Employers would do well to keep the following dos and don’ts in mind:
Do Your Homework: As a job candidate, I would never show up to an interview without having researched the company first. In this age of the Internet, it doesn’t take long to be prepared — just like it doesn’t take long to scan someone’s resume beforehand. During a second interview with one company, the executive clearly knew nothing about my background, nor did he even know what position I was being interviewed for. An hour later, I received a call from him saying he had spoken with a colleague who clarified things and would likely ask me back for a more focused third conversation — one that would have been unnecessary had this conversation taken place prior to my second interview.
Don’t Be Late: This seems like an obvious one. Because as a job seeker or date, tardiness usually disqualifies you from being taken seriously and getting to round two. And yet, I’ve been on a handful of interviews that have started more than 20 minutes late — without any apology from the person conducting it or any visible sign that he or she was rushing from a prior appointment.
Do Pay Attention: On a date or an interview, there’s nothing more frustrating than when the person you’re talking to isn’t listening. During a phone interview with the VPO of a popular men’s lifestyle website, he asked a fairly involved question. After giving my three-minute answer, the guy told me–
“Could you repeat what you just said? I was checking my personal email and a friend of mine got engaged — it’s not every day that happens — so I didn’t hear anything you just said.”
I don’t know which was worse. That he admitted to this, or that he said was “too busy” to spell out his email address when I asked him for it so I could follow up. Ugh.
Up next…the most inappropriate job interview tangent ever and worst faux pas when it comes to closing the deal (or not).