I always try to put myself in other people’s shoes. It’s hard to tell someone I understand what he or she is going through when they are interviewing. I’ve been lucky in my professional career. Right out of college I went to work for a software company for 7.5 years and when I decided it was time to move on I interviewed with Modis and I’ve now been here over 8 years. So honestly, I’ve interviewed only twice professionally in my 39 years.
Although I personally haven’t interviewed much myself, I do know the pitfalls I’ve seen over the years after scheduling literally thousands of interviews as a recruiter. Did you know that a lot of the pitfalls happen even before the interview? If I were on the job market today, knowing all that I know and have witnessed, these are the things I would do to make a solid first impression.
1) Have a flawless and truthful resume: I can’t recall how many times I’ve called someone and they’ve been perfect for a position but I had to wait 24 hours for their updated resume. If I were a candidate mine would be ready to go. Each passing hour is an hour that the hiring manager might be reviewing someone else. I’d also have my resume stored on my phone so I could forward it no matter where I might be when I receive the call.
2) A complete LinkedIn profile: My LinkedIn would be 100% up to date and accurate. I’d make sure my recommendations are visible. A lot of companies trust recommendations even more than the standard references. Recommendations are not forced and are totally voluntary so they are typically well trusted.
3) 3 killer “hire me” outfits ready at all times fresh from the cleaners: The majority of the time hiring managers give us a 24 hour notice for an interview. That’s not enough time to get an outfit to the cleaners and picked back up. I’d have 3 ready at all times. I’d have one professional suit and 2 rockin’ business casual outfits. I can not tell you how many times folks have told me they needed to interview at a later date because their clothes were at the cleaners. If you don’t take the interview time offered to you someone else will gladly grab your spot.
4) Babysitters would be lined up and on call for last minute interviews: Daycare and nannies are expensive. If I were out of work I’d obviously no longer be able to afford these luxuries. However, I’d work out something with my neighbors, my church and my family so I could be able to interview immediately.
5) I’d network, network and network some more: I’m not personally a fan of the happy hour events. However, if I were looking to make a career move I would attend the ones that were relevant and I’d skip the booze. I wouldn’t attend an interview after 2 glasses of wine so I definitely wouldn’t do that at an event where I might meet my future boss or possible co-workers. My dancing skills simply aren’t that cool.
6) I’d practice “positive” interviewing with friends and family: Those conducting the practice interviews don’t need to be technical or well versed in your background. Have them ask you questions that most employers will ask such as:
- Why are you looking for a new position?
- What are your salary requirements?
- What were you making at your last company?
- What did you love about your last job? What did you dislike?
- Who was your favorite boss and why? Who was your least favorite and why?
Remember, to keep your answers upbeat, positive and drama free. If you are negative in any way at all do not expect to be hired. I’d have to practice this over and over again because I’m one of those type A folks who will say exactly what I feel. I’d make sure and be “victim” free in my responses. If you are negative about your last job, your last boss, why you always get laid off or all the money you spent on your divorce, etc. you are going to terrify any future employers. We’ve all been hurt but interviews are not a place to vent about them.
Kristin Lauderback is the Recruiting Director for the Modis Austin, TX office. She’s been with Modis for 8 years and you can connect with her on LinkedIn.