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Reading the story from Staffing Industry Analysts today brought my morning smile. I thought I would extract the opening paragraph from Planet's "How to take an Interview" as the Do's and contrast with some of the actual Don'ts.

DO’S: Received from -- "Planet Interviewing Handbook"

“You have to sell yourself in an interview!”

You hear this directive all the time from people who are willing to give you free interviewing advice. However, the statement is virtually never followed up with instructions on exactly how you should be doing the selling. The purpose of this guide is to fill this gap by giving you concrete, specific actions that you can take to sell yourself. It is not the intent of this guide to turn you into a professional salesperson. Instead, it is meant to introduce you to only those basic selling skills that will be the most helpful to you and have the greatest positive impact as you interview for the next step in your career. So, don’t become stressed or discouraged if you don’t think you could succeed in sales. You are not trying to become a salesperson. You just want to be better at selling yourself than others interviewing for the same position. Before I get into the meat of the subject, let’s pause and think about the implications of the advice to sell yourself. In my opinion, the statement implies that:

1. You have to know your product thoroughly, and you are the product.

2. You have to prepare yourself for each interview in exactly the same way as a salesperson would, which is:

• You have to polish your interviewing skills.

• You have to plan for each interview just as salespeople plan for sales calls.

3. You have to think and act in the interview as a salesperson would, that is:

• You have to control the interview through the skilled use of questioning techniques. An interview is not simply an oral exam where you passively answer questions that test your knowledge.

• You have to close before you leave;

DON’TS:  Received from -- "Staffing Industry Analysts" e-news@staffingindustry.com

TAKING PHONE CALLS, BEING INTOXICATED AND OTHER JOB INTERVIEW DON’TS - July 11, 2019

From taking phone calls during job interviews to showing up under the influence of drugs, Express Employment Professionals surveyed business leaders and job seekers about the most inappropriate activities they have seen during job interviews. In one case, a candidate grabbed a doughnut without asking then proceeded to eat it during the interview; another job seeker arrived wearing bunny slippers.

Here’s what the business leaders said they have seen while interviewing candidates:

85% report a job candidate “showing up late.”

83% report a job candidate with “inappropriate clothing.”

49% report a job candidate with “inappropriate language.”

48% report a job candidate “eating or chewing gum.”

39% report a job candidate “responding to text messages.”

37% report a job candidate “answering a phone call.”

31% report a job candidate “bringing a child into the interview.”

31% report a job candidate “bringing a friend into the interview.”

26% report a job candidate “bringing a parent into the interview.”

24% report a job candidate being “under the influence” of drugs or alcohol.

“Aggressive pushback is usually the most shocking,” said Janis Petrini, an Express franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In response to a question about job history, Petrini said one job candidate said it was “none of your business.” She saw another candidate “use his phone from the moment he sat at the desk until the moment he walked out of the door. He took several phone calls, a video chat and posted to his social media — and then proceeded to rush through the rest of the interview process.”

Mike Brady, franchise owner of the Jacksonville West office in Florida, said not only did an applicant take a phone call, the applicant “even held up a finger telling me to wait.”

Job candidates reported inappropriate behavior by their interviewers as well:

63% report an interviewer “showing up late.”

58% report having an interviewer with a “lack of preparation.”

51% report an interviewer “answering a phone call.”

39% report an interviewer “oversharing.”

30% report an interviewer “asking discriminatory questions.”

28% report an interviewer “wearing inappropriate clothing.”

An interview is an opportunity for a candidate to showcase his or her full potential, candidates who show they don’t care likely won’t get the job, Express CEO Bill Stoller said. But interviewers also need to be self-aware.

“In this tight labor market, the smallest thing could turn off a qualified candidate, and that’s not something you can afford,” Stoller said. The report was based on a survey of 310 business leaders and 212 job seekers.


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You've just walked out of your first, second or third interview. This is a good time to grab a coffee and take 15 minutes to make some notes from the interview.

  • What the people were like? Write a couple of points on the back of their business cards (which you remembered to ask for).
  • How did you do?
  • Any questions you forgot to ask?
  • Why you still want the job?
  • Why you are the right person for the job?

Later that same day, sit down and compose your Thank You email. Remember, if you were interviewed by a panel then you want to send a personalized email to each person. Your Thank You should be sent out within 48 hours.

Why?

You want them to read the email and remember you. And there’s no point in sending out an email after they have made their decision.

Your email should be formal, starting with, "Dear Person's Name" and ending with, "Sincerely Your Name, Contact Info".

The body of your email should be 3 or 4 paragraphs (4 maximum).

First paragraph will be a general thank you for meeting you and what a pleasure it was to learn more about your company, etc.

Second paragraph will reiterate your skills and why you now feel like this is the job for you.

Third paragraph – “I'm looking forward to hearing from you at my number/email below.”


A few final things:

  • Keep it short, sweet and positive.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread!

 

And the last thing to do - cross your fingers and wait for your job offer!


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Interviews are stressful. Whether this is your dream job you are interviewing for, a promotion, or your first job, there are little things you can do to help ease the stress. There are very few people in the world who don't get pre-interview jitters. These jitters will be worse if you are not prepared for your interview. Here are our 5 tips for helping to get you to the interview with a few less jitters.  

DON'T BE LATE

There is no valid excuse for being late to an interview. You should plan on being there at least 10 to 15 minutes early. You don't need to check in until 5 minutes before but at least be in the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. This allows you to go to the washroom and check your hair, teeth, wash your hands and relax before you are called in.

DO A PRACTICE RUN

If you aren't sure where you are going or where parking is or how long it will take, then do a practice run. Schedule your practice run around the same time as the interview if you can to get a feel for traffic flow and/or public transportation glitches. Nothing worse than being on the subway and having an emergency stoppage. Find that nearest taxi stands and get going.

PREPARE YOUR OUTFIT THE NIGHT BEFORE

Yes, lay out your whole outfit. Hopefully you have picked up your suit from the cleaners ahead of time! This is also a good way to know if you must leave earlier to pick up a new pair of nylons. Are your shoes shined? Yes, people do still shine their shoes or at least get the dust and grime off of them! Remember don't overdo the cologne or perfume, if possible just don't use any. Cleanliness and hygiene is more important than your cologne.

PREPARE YOUR KIT

Take a couple of extra hard copies of your resume with you. They will ask you questions relating to your resume, so this gives you the chance to reread it before your interview. Kleenex, a couple of safety pins, a charged phone, and breath mints, can come in handy in case of an emergency. Don't forget to put in a hard copy of your references (that you have prepped ahead of time) just in case the interview goes really well, and they want to move to the next stage.

FIND OUT HOW TO PRONOUNCE THE INTERVIEWER'S NAME

In our multi-cultural Canada, it's important to verify how to pronounce the person's name. The last thing you want to do is walk in and say "Hi Mr/Mrs ........" and have them say "well my name is .........". Ask your recruiter, phone the actual company and ask for their extension - hopefully if you pronounce it wrong they will correct it for you. Write it down phonetically so you will remember the pronunciation.


Being prepared for your interview will help to set the tone for the whole interview. Let us know what little practices/rituals you do before an interview to help you start your interview off on the right foot.


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Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can make a difference. You can practice the answers to your interview questions until you can say them without a pause. You can research the company so that you know everything there is to know about them. And life throws you a curve ball. As you get ready to sit down you notice your fly is open. You go to shake hands and you drop your purse on the interviewer's foot. All that great preparation flies out the door as you try to calm yourself down and relax.

These are our 10 simple tips to get you through the door and sitting down feeling comfortable, relaxed and as confident as the person in your resume says you are:

Keep your dress professional

Seems pretty basic, but you would be amazed how many people show up for interviews realizing they had forgot to pick up their shirts at the drycleaners. Pick your outfit out the night before and make sure it is:

  • clean and crisp
  • a suit for men
  • a skirt and blouse, or basic business dress for ladies  
  • No sundresses or shorts

This is an interview not a date - don't overdo the makeup or wear too much jewelry. Gentlemen, do you shirt buttons up, and no gold chains hanging out. Polish or at least dust your shoes off.

No Perfume or Cologne 

Have a shower, put on some deodorant, nothing else is necessary. Why? A lot of companies/businesses are "no scent" zones. Imagine what would happen if the person who is interviewing you is sensitive to scents and has a reaction to your latest Hugo Boss cologne. They’ll reschedule if you are lucky!


How do you get to the Interview

Google it, and do a test run if you aren't sure. If you are driving make sure there is parking nearby. 9am and 5pm interviews mean rush hour. Be prepared for it to take 30 minutes longer to get there. Check the weather - rain and snow can add extra time to your trip. Be prepared!

Never be late for the Interview

It goes without saying that being late for an interview starts you off on the wrong foot.

And yes, there can be extenuating circumstances, but you better be able to prove them. "The dog ate the directions" won't work in the business world. And you'd better have called to at least let the interviewer know.

Be polite to everyone

That older lady in the elevator might be "mom" going to visit her son the interviewer. You don't want her saying anything negative about pushy people in the elevator. The person blocking your way into the bathroom might be one of the interviewers. Be polite to everyone all the time. It is a good road to travel down.

Verify how to pronounce the Interviewer's name

We live in a very multicultural country, let's try our best to pronounce names properly. Ask the recruiter or phone the company. Write it down phonetically and practice.

Keep your right hand free

Your right hand is needed for shaking hands as you enter the interview. Move your portfolio, purse, or extra copies of your resume to your left hand before you enter the office.

Just before you get to the Interview

Turn off your phone and tablet.

Chemistry is a very important part of the interview

It starts as soon as you enter the room. Smile, firm handshake, and speak clearly. Relax and take part in the conversation.

Tell me about yourself

This question is totally about relaxing you. Take your elevator pitch and expand it "a bit". The Coles Notes version versus the Game of Thrones version. Keep it professional.


Don't let a little thing muck up your interview. Be prepared for every aspect of the interview process. Remember they liked your resume - you look good on paper - now is the time to shine in person.

Good luck job hunting!