When I interviewed a job applicant some years ago, the first thing he asked me was, “What does your organization do?” What a turnoff! That’s an extreme case, of course, but employers are impressed when you’re taken the time to do your homework and find out about your company—and turned off if you haven’t.
Some people are astounded that anyone would ever arrive late to an interview, but it happens quite a bit. I’ve learned that people are “wired” in a certain way when it comes to time. We’re very consistent. Some will arrive 20 minutes early, while other arrive ten minutes late. If you happen to be wired to be late or to come right on time, you’re going to need to do some adjustment. Force yourself to arrive in the area of the company at least half an hour early. Allow for the unexpected traffic jam or other things unforeseen. Some clients have told me that they will even drive to the site a day ahead of time to become familiar with the location, parking options, etc.
Now, once you’ve arrived in the area well ahead of the appointed time, don’t go right to the interview. Arriving too early can be awkward. Sit in your car or go to a coffee shop to review your notes and then go to the appointment ten or fifteen minutes before the interview is scheduled.
Ok, you’ve got years of experience over the young boss interviewing you. You may very well know lots more about certain things. But don’t be a jerk. First, remember that everyone—even young children—can teach us things. Second, the boss is going to hire someone he/she likes, so if you are arrogant, guess who they won’t like. Who is going to hire someone who doesn’t respect them?
You say your last boss is a lecher? He/she was overbearing, demanding and made life living hell for you? You got thrown out on the street despite years of loyal service?
You may well have legitimate beefs with your former boss or company. But lose the attitude. Criticizing your former employer will kill you faster than touching a high voltage wire. If you’re critical of your former boss, your prospective boss will think, “So how long before this guy/gal is talking about me that way?”
I recommend that you make peace with your past and try to forgive that old boss, as best you can. If you don’t you’ll be carrying that awful boss with you wherever you may go. It’s hard to hide those feelings.
For many people, complaining is a favorite pastime. We complain about the traffic, the weather, politicians, and the food we had at the greasy spoon. But don’t do it in job interviews or you risk being seen as a negative person.
Most people have attributes we’re not proud of or things we’ve done that make us feel shame. We’ve been fired, we’ve been out of work a long time, we haven’t gotten the right degree, we lack key experience, or something else.
You can hope the employer won’t ask the right question to expose you, but a better strategy is to have an answer prepared to diffuse the question. Most of the time, you know what sensitive issues are, so you can prepared. If you don’t know how, get some job interview coaching quick.
Good luck on the next interview.
Steve Frederick and Jack Chapman are long-time career coaches who help people to jump start their careers. They can be reached at Steve@LucrativeCareersInc.com or by calling 847-409-4660.
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