interviewIn HR Secrets and Brutal Business , I commented on a Readers Digest column, Get Hired, Not Fired by Michelle Crouch. We covered the topics of hiring, resumes, being laid off, fired, kicked upstairs. This final entry: THE INTERVIEW!

It’s amazing when people come in for an interview and say, ‘Can you tell me about your business?’ Seriously, people, there’s an Internet. Look it up.” – HR professional/NYC

In decades of interviewing I find it RARE for a candidate to display knowledge of the company they are interviewing with. Candidates are more self-absorbed, i.e. “How many vacation days do I get? What are your benefits?” BAD! The company isn’t there to sell itself to YOU! Have THREE great questions to ask that directly relate to your research of the business. interviewtips

A lot of managers don’t want to hire people with young kids, and they use all sorts of tricks to find that out, illegally. One woman kept a picture of two really cute children on her desk even though she didn’t have children (hoping job candidates would ask about them). Another guy used to walk people out to their cars to see whether they had car seats. – Cynthia Shapiro, former HR executive, author of Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn’t Want You To Know

What a shame but good to know.

If you’re a candidate and the hiring manager spends 45 minutes of the interview talking about himself, the company, or his Harley, let him. He’s going to come out of the interview saying you’re a great candidate. – Kris Dunn, Chief HR officer/Kinetix

That’s one quick way to a bad hire. HR professionals HATE poor interviewers. We end up cleaning up their mistakes.

Make sure you’re nice to everyone, especially the admin person at the front desk. If you’re not, we’ll hear about it. – Michael Slade, HR director/Eric Mower & Associates

Remember, hiring decisions are often made by more than one person.

interview3Know how to pronounce my name, even if you have to call and ask the receptionist before you come in. – Senior HR Executive/NYC

Yes, and when you write the thank-you note for the interview, be sure you SPELL my name correctly too! And speaking of thank you notes…

How soon should you send a thank-you note? The next day seems a little desperate. Wait a week, and I’ve probably interviewed a bunch of other people and you can remind me again how great you are. – Cynthia Shapiro

I disagree. Hiring decisions can be made sooner than later. I advise clients to go straight to the mailbox AFTER an interview AND to follow up with an email. Or wait a day or two and HAND DELIVER the note if you can be sure it won’t be intercepted by a disgruntled employee who may be on his/her way out. shhhh

One time I said to a candidate, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.’ An hour and a half later, I was afraid to ask question No. 2. – HR consultant/ Fort Lauderdale, FL

Two words: verbal diarrhea. I use this term when coaching clients. Know when to STOP TALKING!

These two tips go together:

  • When it comes to getting a job, persistence does not pay off. Checking in once or twice is fine. But if you call and call and call, you’re not going to get the job, because you’re annoying. – HR manager/Medical-equipment sales firm
  • Sometimes we’ll tell you we ended up hiring someone internally – even if we didn’t – just to get you off our back. – HR rep/Fortune 500 financial-services firm

Absolutely true. HR professionals are BUSY and don’t like being held hostage by the telephone. Similarly, if a WANT AD says, NO PHONE CALLS, don’t call or your resume will go into the smelly circular file. It’s proof that you can’t follow instructions. interview2

Here are some favorite interview questions:

  • Tell me about a time you had to work with someone you did not personally like.
  • Describe your Outlook calendar on a typical day.
  • How much do you know about our company?
  • What personal and professional development have you been engaged in outside the workplace over the past year?
  • If you could come to work with only three tools to get your job done, what would they be?
  • Tell me about a time when your integrity was challenged. What was the situation, and what did you do?

Finally, the wisdom of Indian spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba:

Don’t clamor for an interview.

Instead, search for the INNER VIEW.

~From the desk of Becky Morlok~

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