I have learned some important points while searching for employees that would help anybody in their job searches.
- Get your application in AS SOON AS THE POSITION IS OPEN.
Getting the application in first means that your chances of having it get read goes way up. After having open positions for seven weeks, I didn't read every application as completely as the first applications. After I have sent out offers, I am still getting applications.
- If you were not able to get your application in first, don't wait until the last minute to submit the Application. It looks bad, and if there is another circumstance that paints you in a bad light, this could make it look like a pattern of poor behavior.
- This seems silly and obvious, but proofread your resume. (duh!) Make sure your resume/application speaks to what the hiring manager is looking for. I have seen resumes that don't mention computers, and that's the focus of the job.
- Fill out ALL the information required in the application. If there is an application form, fill it out. If there is an option to attach a resume DO IT. If there is an answer you don't know (could happen without being unqualified), write 'unknown' or N/A. Do not leave ANYTHING blank, unless the application instructions say something like 'skip to question seven if xxx'
- Make sure your return mail fields in your email program have your full name. It is SOOO much easier to find somebody's email, when they have first and last name.
- Submit the application via the poster's preferences. If sending via snailmail, send electronically as well (if that is an acceptable option to the poster). Every snail mail sent to me, we have converted to an electronic submission. In other words, sending a paper application is MUCH easier to ignore than to properly process.
- If something doesn't seem right about the scheduling of an interview, contact the interviewer and clarify. If they say Thursday the 21st, but the 21st is a Tuesday. Find out ahead of time what they meant. As I scheduled many interviews there was a bit of cut and paste, and sometimes a date or day of week doesn't get changed. Find out before you look bad.
When in the interview there are a few things that you should do, need to do:
- Relax. The interviewer is not there to torture you, they are there to find an employee they can work with. You have the interview because you are qualified(on paper). You will get the job because they like you, and think they can work with you.
- Relax. Really. The interviewer does not hate you.
- Be friendly, and if possible, nice to talk to. The interviewers could be tired, and your energy in the room, and excitement for the job will lift them up. (really who would YOU rather work with?)
- Be excited for the job. Spend some time the night before learning about what you think they want you to do/know. This translates to 'eager to learn' which for me is far more important than 'knows everything'
- Know exactly what it is you are applying for. Research who they are and what they do. The can be hard, but this really is important to fit in.
- Follow directions. Sit where you are asked. Failure to follow simple directions at best looks bad, at worst, would cost you your job.
- Use the interviewer's names. I had one applicant do this. It is amazing how much he sticks out in my memory after 25 interviews.
- Write a thank you email. I have done 20 interviews in the last three weeks, and I have received ONE thank you. It will set you apart.
- Sometimes the stupidly obvious answer is the answer the interviewer wants. give that and ask if they want you to elaborate. If they want more info, they'll ask for it.
- Find what your weakness is BEFORE the interview. Its a hard question, and they will probably ask.
- "I don't know" is a bad answer. However, worse is making up SH*T because you don't know.
Because my positions are for students, and not full time employees, here is a list of don'ts that might never happen for a full time position:
- Don't be more than 5 minutes early. I might even say 2 minutes early. Wait in the lobby, or in your car. The interviewer might be using the last few minutes to read your application/resume and printing something needed for the interview. If you are early, you may have frustrated the interviewer before they ever had a chance to lay eyes on you. Instead you might benefit from giving them a chance to review your materials before the interview.
- DON'T show up if you haven't been scheduled for an interview. You don't know how exhausting it is to squeeze a fourth interview into an afternoon.
- If the question is something like: "tell us about a time you have broken policy" give one answer. Be honest, but don't give a list. Just one example would have been enough
- Don't assume that you will get any communication from the hiring manager, just because you applied and sent a followup email. I'm sorry to say it, but you are not entitled to a response. The job was posted, you applied, then the job was removed from the job board(s). This means that if the manager wanted to call you, they would have. Don't prove how annoying you are by pestering the hiring manager's superiors.
The applicants that really stick out to me:
The one that sent a thank you email (also sent a paper application via snail mail).
The one that used all of our names.
The one that was fun and easy going during a long stretch of interviews.
The one that I missed because he showed up uninvited, and when I found out, he had his laptop open, and was very insistent that we view his web design work, which is something that is nice, but not what we needed.
The one that had a terrible offensive odor.
The one who didn't have a clue about how to do more than basic things with computers.
Remember, just because you didn't get the job, doesn't mean you were not qualified. It means that there was someone MORE qualified than you.