Humorous stories and some lessons for your job interview

You and him went through some rough experiences together.  He was there for you when Fluffy died.  You also shared some great times, like that week you two spent in Mexico.  But he dumped you and is dating your best friend.  How could he?  How could she?

You can be forgiven for being distracted and upset.  Anyone can empathize with you, so do not take that blank stare you are getting as insensitivity.  You see, the person across the table just met you and was expecting to interview you for a job and not an episode of Dr. Phil.

Such tales happen often enough that most seasoned Human Resources personnel have a few stories to tell of people who end up saying or doing some inappropriate things that cost them a job.  I’m sure that HR folks in the lion city, have witnessed their share of job interview blunders as well. There is the person interviewing for the receptionist position who would rather not change toner due the risk of getting a stain or who has to move around a lot because of a bad back.  What DID you think was involved in the job again?

Unless you have sat through an interview like this you have no idea how much mental energy it takes to prevent yourself from rolling your eyes, yawning, or looking at your watch too often.  Luckily you have a job so you will not be penalized for such indifferent behavior, but you wonder what the other person is thinking.

People who are not used to being brought to account for their actions are more likely to say inappropriate things in a job interview.  They fail to see that an interview is one of the most structured interpersonal actions one will ever engage in and that it is important to be goal oriented in your answers, questions and overall demeanor.  There is nothing wrong with being honest, they feel.

Actually, there is.  There are only two goals of the interview.  Your goal is to get a job offer.  Their goal is to determine if you are worth hiring.  Anything you say that does not advance your goal is a wasted opportunity.  The best interview candidates realize and practice something called selective honesty.

Selective honesty is used by people who have a detailed, regimented approach to a job interview.  These people take a very close look at the job description and get to know as much about the position as they can.  Their best assets that match the most crucial aspects of the job become their speaking goals, their “must say” talking points.  Realizing that every question is “Why should I hire you”, they only say information that increases the probability of them getting hired.

This level of preparation includes appropriate dress.  A hiring manager for a bank located in a conservative religious community told a story about a young woman who came in for an interview wearing revealing and very inappropriate clothing.  Furthermore, during the interview her phone rang and before she answered said it might be Billboard Magazine calling about an internship that she was dying to get.  Unfortunately it was only a friend, so the candidate proceeded to finish her answer about why she wanted to work there by saying she needed a few weeks worth of work in order to save up gas money for the cross country ride to Billboard Magazine.

Details matter.  One person interviewing on a rainy day came impeccably dressed, save for the rubber boots that ruined the effect.  Other frequent missteps involve excessive use of makeup and fragrances.  Jewelry and piercings other than the most conventional ones should be removed or minimized.  One Employment Counselor remembered a client who showed up to an interview for a restaurant server’s position sporting a new tongue ring that she was quite proud of.  When she was told it would be better off removed, she took out a set of pliers and asked him for help.

That is what many people in the industry joke is one of the “other duties as assigned” that companies put in their job descriptions.  In case you are wondering, she got the job.

I hope you found the pointers useful (and entertaining) and will apply them towards your next job interview.

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