Job Interview Tips: Bring a Rabbit’s Foot
If you’re in the job market these days, chances are you’ve been inundated with advice on how to interview. Of course, a lot of the advice is just common sense (be a few minutes early, make sure your resume is up to date, smile), some is contradictory (ask questions, don’t be a chatterbox, sell yourself, don’t come off as a braggart), and some is downright silly (don’t text message or trim your nails during the interview).
Unfortunately, judging by the feedback from job seekers, this advice is virtually worthless. Many of their comments suggest job seekers have been following the recommended guidelines and are still not getting callbacks. Which tells me the tips being doled out aren’t as valuable or relevant as one may think. Then again, some people are getting hired.
What then is the secret for a successful interview? Simple. Either they want you or they don’t.
Okay, its not quite that simple. Even if you’re in the “wanted category”, you still can’t wear gym clothes to the interview, answer your cell phone while the interviewer‘s in mid-sentence, or jump up on the desk shouting, “Show me the money!” Or, you certainly shouldn’t.
But, it seems that interviewers are leaning heavily to one side or another early into the process. In most cases, your resume has already been received and reviewed, or you wouldn’t have gotten the interview in the first place. The interview, therefore, seems to have become more of a minefield you must cross. In other words, the offer is yours as long as you don’t do or say something stupid or outlandish.
On the other hand, if you’re in the “unwanted” category, it probably doesn’t matter what you say or do (or how you say or do it); you’re not getting the offer. The decision was made somewhere between “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “How many jelly beans would it take to fill the Grand Canyon?”.
Among those likely to find themselves in the “unwanted” category are:
* Younger and older job seekers. Unfortunately, age discrimination is alive and well in these down times.
* Those who’ve been out of work for a year or more. There’s a school of thought that the longer you are unemployed, the less valuable you are.
* Those with gaps in their employment history. Even if you were “down-sized” the feeling is that if you were any good, you wouldn’t have been let go.
* Anyone applying for a job “beneath their station”. You may be willing to take a 60% cut in pay, but the consensus is, you won’t be happy with it for long.
As much as I’d like to end this on an up note, if you’re getting interviews, but not offers (and you’re adhering to all the “Interviewing 101” guidelines), chances are your situation isn’t likely to change anytime soon. On the other hand, every interview you land increases your odds of success. Remember, it just takes one offer to get your foot in the door.