The game of hiring employees has long stressed many people. Between my experiences, I’ve been in the interviewer’s chair many times. Most people are nervous when they walk in to job interviews. The other side of the chair is nerve-wracking, as well. As an owner, you’re deciding based on a short meeting if this person is trust-worthy. It’s not just about them being able to do the job – do they understand your mission? Do they get the big picture? Can you trust them with money? Will they be good with customers? Will they represent you the same way when you’re out of town as when you’re standing right beside them?
Before you even get to the interview section… there comes the application. The initial contact from prospective employees really says a lot to employers So for those of you who have never been on the interview side, I’ve composed a few tips you can follow that will get you one step closer in the employment game. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I assure you it will always help. Some of these are straight from me. Some come from friends who own businesses. All come from people who are regularly hiring.
- The way you write means something. When we get an application or message that says “r u hiring,” I immediately know that person isn’t a fit. We’re looking for someone who can communicate well and confidently – that person will take the time to spell out their thoughts. Jokingly, some of our applications say “Write in complete sentences, or your assignment won’t be graded.”
- How you contact means something. With lots of business marketing & communications moving to facebook, we’re seeing a lot of page contact asking for jobs. Really, this is never the correct initial media. Email or in store is always the best initial media. If in doubt, call and ask what the application process is. For example, at Nature’s Market, Exotic Tans, Stoby’s, & PattiCakes, all applications are online only. This is always the correct first step. We need a written record, and this is it. See the next point…
- When you’re looking for a job, it’s all about how you fit into the organization’s system. One of the most maddening diseases coming from the generation currently seeking employment is the feeling of entitlement. Many young people feel entitled to a job and want us (the hirers) to assimilate into their system (or lack thereof). Someone who isn’t willing to follow the appropriate chain for applying for a job likely won’t follow the instructions you give them later.
- TELL THE TRUTH. Overstating your qualifications or experience will ALWAYS come back to bite you. We’d much rather see someone with no experience in an area express an interest to learn than have someone claim to be proficient and really have no skill. Don’t over-inflate your resume or your skillset. We will know – sometimes when it’s too late. If we can plan to train, that’s one thing – if we’re going to have to train you when we didn’t expect to, we’ll just be frustrated.
- Follow up is okay – within reason. After applying for a job, if you haven’t heard anything back within a week, it’s okay to call and ask if they received your application. Don’t ask for an interview. You can tactfully ask if that person needs anything else from you. You can also ask for follow up on the position if you’d like – but do not pester. If you don’t hear back, assume that the position has been filled and the manager forgot to call you. When another position comes open, if you were well-spoken and tactful, your application may be the first one pulled.
- Dress for success. It’s an old mantra – but it’s still true. Some say “dress for the job you’re applying for.” I disagree completely. I think you always dress for success. It’s always better to be dressed nicer than necessary. Those dressed above the mark are showing that they care about their appearance. Time and thought goes in to getting ready for work. If interviewing for a job where you’ll wear jeans and a tee shirt to work, at least wear khakis and a button down shirt for the interview. Ladies, nothing too revealing. And a bathing suit cover up is NEVER a good idea (yes, this really happened).
- Make eye contact. When interviewing for a job, speak strongly of yourself. Be sure of who you are. Shake hands. Look the person in the eye and talk to them. Make sure that everything you do conveys respect. Nobody wants to hire a know-it-all. Humility is huge. Keep in mind that the person interviewing you has likely spent a considerable amount of time reaching that position in life. Either they worked hard to land in management, or you’re talking to an owner who has invested more time (and money) than you know into driving success of the business.
- Thank your interviewer for their time. While you are there interviewing to support their company, they are still busy people. Make sure you thank them for considering you.