Very often, as a business owner, I am in the position if interviewing prospective candidates for office positions in our organization. Actually, I will again be looking for replacement staff in the next month or so. I was recently asked by an acquaintance across the country from me what I look for when in the process of hiring staff. This person has a wonderfully worded resume, but is having a difficult time finding any kind of work. The job market is extremely tight, and in some states, like Michigan, there may be hundreds of applicants vying for one position. In order to interview successfully, there are certain steps one must take. These are just a few of the things I look for when hiring new staff.
Be On Time
There's nothing more irritating to me if a prospective employee is late for his or her interview. I'm a busy woman with lots of things to do, and my time is limited. Be on time, have a pen handy, and a copy of your resume for me to keep. If for some reason, you are delayed or no longer want the position, a courtesy call before the interview appointment is always appreciated.
The biggest mistake is made when interviewees dress inappropriately. Remember, managing a career and an interview is all about personal branding or marketing yourself.
Make sure your clothes are clean, pressed, and that you are well groomed. You don't have to have a huge and expensive designer wardrobe. Don't go into your interview looking like a hooker; wear a conservative dress or suit, with low, sensible shoes, and keep the makeup to the bare minimum. For men, a suit is not necessary, but a clean oxford shirt with tie and slacks, not jeans, is the best choice.
Filling out the Application- Neatly!
Usually, I have applicants fill out a standard application, as well as submit a current resume. Make sure you use your best handwriting, and that your handwriting is legible. Use proper English, and be sure all of the words in your application are spelled correctly. If spelling common business terms is a problem for you, practice spelling in your spare time.
Be Sincere and Enthusiastic
The biggest pitfall for job applicants is to convey insincerity. I can usually tell if a person is doing the interview as a condition of unemployment, and really does not want a job. Others may be sincere in the interview, but once they land the job, there's no follow through with a level of enthusiasm. Please don't waste my time or yours if you really don't want a job.
The Trick Questions
After explaining the position, I will ask my prospective candidate couple of questions to get a feel for the applicant. When I ask a question like "what are your weaknesses or faults," I'm looking for positive responses. Actually, I am looking for VERY POSITIVE responses. You might wonder, how I can positively respond to something negative like a 'weakness' or 'fault'? A good so-called 'weakness' would be to tell the interviewer that you tend to overdo in your quest to do a good job. (Employers LOVE to hear this, by the way!)
You are so fervent in desire to do a good job that you'll come into work early or stay late. Another positive weakness would be to tell the person you have great attention to detail. You want to make sure the job is done correctly the first time. Another "fault" is to say something like "I really want to learn, so I might ask a lot of questions, and some people might think this is annoying."
All of these things show the employer that you're a positive person, and that's exactly what we are looking for.
The other question I ask is "what do you know about our business?" You'd be surprised how many people walk in for an interview and don't know what the core business is. You can always look up your prospective employer online just to get a little knowledge. You don't have to know everything about us, but make sure you know something. That way, if the interviewer doesn't ask that question, you can always ask a question concerning their business which makes it sound like you're truly interested.
Questions not to Ask
Please don't start off the interview or the phone inquiry with "How much do you pay?" For one thing, you do not have the position yet. When I get around to considering you for employment, salary is negotiable. The same goes for benefits. Employers want to feel as though you really care about them and their business, and the best applicants appear to want the position so badly, that money is not the top priority.
Last year, I had a man apply for a position actually volunteer to work for me for free for a week. While I didn't take him up on his offer, it showed me that he was serious about wanting to work for us. I eventually hired him, and he's proven to be an invaluable employee.
Follow up telephone calls (or email) also let me know that you're serious about employment. Don't think that you will be bothering the prospective employer. Sometimes employers get busy and cannot place the promising applicant right away. A follow up phone call lets me know that you're still interested, as well as jogs the memory about you.
A thank you note for the interview opportunity is also a nice touch. It lets me know you have manners and respect for me and my company.
While this list of "Things to Do" will not guarantee a job offer, I believe it will increase your odds of finding a position in much less time.