As if job interviews weren’t stressful enough, some employers are asking people that come in for job interviews to log in their email accounts or their Facebook (or other social media) accounts. Plenty has been written about why not to do this. My personal favorite is the knee-jerk reaction that typically comes from people that either run small companies or blog for a living: do you really want to work for a company that would make you do that?
If you walk into an office of a company that operates in either high tech or creative services, you’ll probably see their employees dressed casually. A lot of these companies take great pride in their relaxed corporate culture – the employees can use the money they’d otherwise spend on dry cleaning to get the latest iPad or Xbox. So if you’re interviewing at such a company, would you come across as too stuffy if you wore a suit?
The economy has been struggling in recent years as many say that this is the worst job market since the Great Depression. While it’s not my intention to get political here or debate numbers, I will say that I’ve noticed that even when the unemployment numbers fall here in the U.S., they often get revised up the following month and they don’t include the people that have either taken a lower paying job (underemployed) or have simply given up. The only reason I even mention this is that if you’re looking for work, the competition is fierce. So it’s especially important for you to find ways to stand out in a positive way.
I was unemployed for nine months back in 2003. That doesn’t seem like a long time these days as I know people that have been looking for work for two years. But honestly, when you’re unemployed, even a few weeks can seem like an eternity and most of us want to do what we can to get back to work. With so much “company” in the job search process, it’s critical to grab any edge that you can. Here are three things you can do to stand out from the crowd in a positive way:
I’m putting the finishing touches on an ebook version of my “Ace That interview” program that I expect to begin offering at the end of the month. It’s based on the workshop (and audio program) of the same name and covers everything from interview preparation to answering questions to what to do after the interview is over. It’s definitely a great tool for those that are having a tough time with their job search.
Over the past fifteen or so years, I’ve interviewed probably hundreds of job applicants. Some have been in person while others have been phone screens to weed out potential duds. I’ve even volunteered to help friends by mocking interviewing them. If there’s one thing that truly astounded me in each of these job interview situations, it was how many of these people barely did any preparation (and some did none at all).
I figured this would be a great topic to kick off Super Bowl week. I once heard about a company that had multiple openings for similar positions and brought all of their candidates in for a day of interviewing at the same time. They had games and activities that the candidates worked on together – one such activity was creating a new cheer for the company. What was interesting is that some of the candidates figured that coming up with the best cheer, or at a least a cheer better than everyone else’s, would land them the job. Turns out it didn’t.
Interviews where all of the candidates are brought in together can be tricky – more so than even the dreaded “team interview”. On one hand, you at least know who you’re up against for the opening. But on the other, the way you present yourself and act around the other candidates says more about you than you realize. I once went on one such interview and found it to be weird. First, seven of us were all brought in to take a standardized test. It felt like I was taking the SATs all over again. A week later, we were all invited back to have lunch with the IT management team –all together.
Job interviewing can be challenging for all involved. Candidates and interviewers alike often lack formal training on the process and each company has their own process. From the candidate perspective, interviews can be completely different from one to the next. Each interviewer has their own style and looks for different things – in some cases, you might get a strong “yes” and a strong “no” from people who were part of the same team interview with you.