Come to the interview working, not looking for work

Okay, if you made it as far as the interview, you don’t want to blow it. (Agreed?) In my many years in HR I have been a silent observer on several interviews. Let me tell you some subtle, but definite “no-no’s” you may not be aware of.

1. Dressed up to the nines for an interview. Ask in advance what the attire is for the interview. If it is business casual and you arrive in a suit or vice-versa, you send a subconscious signal to the interviewer that you do not fit in with the culture of the company.

2. Do not say that I am ready to start immediately. Everybody says that! (Believe me I know.) You have to give the impression that you have already started and you just need them to acknowledge it. How do you do that?

  • Research the company from top to bottom; know who the key players are and call out a few of their names in passing.
  • Mention what the company is doing now and how you think they will succeed or fail in what they are doing.
  • Suggest a strategy of how they could proceed and detail how you would facilitate that change.
  • Listen carefully to what they want and be sure you can give it to them.

Let me give you an example of this…

Once upon a time, I worked for MCI in a newly formed startup division within Human Resources focused on Internet Research. (For the record, MCI was way ahead of the curve with using the Internet to recruit, but I digress…)

My resume was one of several to be considered for the position and I knew it, so I did something to put the odds in my favor. As the position itself was a newly created position, the requirements were not wholly stated but I did know that I would be used to source talent for their various facilities nationwide.

So what did I do?

I looked on their webpage, saw their openings, found some resumes on the Internet and sent them into my future boss. She was impressed and I got the job. (Hey Rachel Platt!) You see? The difference between the others and myself was that they came ready to work and arrived already working.

Want to go a step further and really impress them? Create a plan detailing what you plan on accomplishing in the first 100 days of employment! Make sure that you hit every immediate need that touches your position, forecast what will be required beyond that and address those issues in your strategy. Then, ask what additional milestones would have to be met to earn a promotion or performance bonus. The probable reaction? How soon can you start? (NOTE: This technique is used after you have completed a couple of interviews and the final decision is between you and the next guy. I recommend that it be you.)

3. Remember that until you land the job you want, looking for a job IS your job and you should treat it as such. Set your hours of operation, follow-up on your leads, maintain your contacts and be diligent in your pursuit. Create a mentality that you are not per se out of work, just operating in a new temporary position.

Good luck in your job search!

One thought on “Come to the interview working, not looking for work”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your eBook. I’ve seen your creativity and knowledge; your energy is spilling over and you have humor on top of it all. You are successful and it appears that you have continually renewed yourself to keep your skills current. I wish I had half of all that!

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