Well, I am back from (not from not writing) a trip that was all too short but much appreciated. Something I realized this weekend is the more I get out the more I need to get out. But that’s a project that has to wait until I can afford it#coldworld#issarecession. Anyway this trip included catching up with not oft seen faces, screeches of excitement (in case you didn’t know I ‘m a chick), cute clothes, dancing and high heels. But between all that we girls had some professional time in examining our careers. Mostly on how to start it. Enter recruiting associate from xyz company to give advice on how pass the interview. Now #youknowme, I listened, ingested and stored away for the future. Now he did go into the whole boo-boos of bad interviewing that are characteristic of us Millennials and younger generations. I can’t believe some of that crap still goes on but I have remember we are a different generation. Remember my advice on advice is to take with a grain of salt. I still walked away some points to use but it was my own experience that prompted me to do a part two on advice#sequels#thesequelwillbebetterthanthefirst.
Now our recruiter of xyz company was a wonderful person: direct, honest, challenging but funny and personable but his advice was slanted toward the recruiter’s perspective and, in my eyes, counterproductive to the goal of the interview: landing the job. There are only two points that I really had a problem with coming from him that I’m going to elaborate on and these are the pieces of advice that I am giving on how do a good interview: education and future goals#greenlight.
Disclaimer: not a guarantee to land you a job.
Our speaker had advised us to place our education near the top the resume versus the bottom. Sounded good until he mentioned that the primary reason is to eliminate candidates. I heard a car come to a screeching halt in my mind#waitaminute#what? People need work in this economy, whether it’s related to the job you’re applying for or not. You don’t have the time to wait for a position within your educational field. I have always placed my education near the bottom because that’s what I have advised to do several times by career advisors but this just gave me a reason to keep it that way and tell anyone I know to do the same. The application process is more about elimination these days and no one is trying to make it easier than it already is. If you have the skill or capacity to do the job, you should be able to be considered for candidacy especially if your degree, like mine, is crosses multiple fields or is multifunctional. I say put your skills near the top andyour education near the bottom. You can do the job, you should be considered. You’ll find that you, like our speaker and like thousand others, are working outside of their educational field. Just like them, you need the work and have to find ways to create opportunities for yourself and stepping outside of the box is key#outofthebox.
Future Goals/Your Plans with Your Degree
This is one of those questions that there are no wrong answers to, but it can work against you. I only realize after I have done the interview that I eliminated myself with how I answered this question. I did a mock interview, as the interviewer, and I realized the real purpose of this question. They don’t really want to know your future plans are as much as they want to know how long you’re planning on working for them (xyz company) and why. But you still have to answer this question because it reveals planning skills and the level of ambition and drive you have for yourself. I personally don’t care for this question because I don’t plan that far ahead. I like to set up tangible goals to reach over the year and outline ones for the next, change it up as needed. Not that there isn’t an over reaching plan (expansive network, personal success, two story plantation home with decks, family, happiness, my own forest#IHaveADream) but just to be open to whatever life may throw at me (and to avoid disappointment) anything beyond two years from now is up in the air. This also is not the right answer because its too personal. But anyway what they want glean from your answer is how long you plan on sticking with the company to project whether you’re worth investing into or not. You can say that you’ve always wanted to work for them because you have developed a passion for bank telling (kudos if it’s the truth) and intend to stay and learn all you can and work your way up(careful that last part can get you eliminated too). Or you can formulate an answer that demonstrates the things they are looking for and not setting yourself for elimination like I have done. As a matter of fact, I plan on generating an answer for this question when I finish this post.
Those were my only issues with the recruiters advice. But I definitely agree with all his other advice which I will repeat because I can’t believe my generation are still committing these boo boos:
Dress professionally and this is how you tell you’re dressed professionally: you don’t look sexy, no heel over 2 inches, no cleavage, very little skin showing period, hair up. This changes according to industry. For instance, if you work in fashion you shouldn’t be caught in anything less than 3 inch heels and fashion savvy and sexy.
Bring your resume. Yes, bring it. In a professional portfolio with pen and a pad. They sell them at the dollar store. Leave large bags and purses.
Shake hands. Don’t sit until the recruiter or manager says its fine. Smile. Keep body language open (mainly no crossed arms).
Don’t be afraid to think before you speak or reword questions in a way that makes sense to you but is correct to the recruiter/manager. Don’t take too long thinking but also don’t jump into every question. Long interviews are a good thing.
Do not volunteer information. And watch for questions that prompt volunteering information. While it is illegal to ask about your marital status, if you mention your spouse of your own accord recruiters can then ask questions that set you up for elimination. It can be a really subtle question said in an easy manner that gets you to divulge because you want the recruiter to remember you when you walk from the table. Don’t do it through anything personal. Stick to answering the questions but still remain personable and memorable. Learn small talk but don’t go for the trite ones like the weather (I’m sometimes guilty of that).
Actually prepare for the interview. There are about 5 to 10 questions that are being used in all interviews. Ones like “What are you are future plans?”, “Why do deserve this job (over the other candidates)?”, “Give an example of team work.” etc. Sit down and actually come up with answers for these questions. Make it general then tweak according to whoever you’re interviewing for. Have your own questions but don’t ask questions like “Where’s the company going?”; You should know that before you come: it tells them you failed on your homework. Use these questions to find out about the job and the environment as much as possible without being hired.
So there’s my little advice, take it with a grain of salt: I’m still unemployed but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had great interviews#stillwinning.