Tuesday, June 11, 2013

If I Be Myself...You Won't Like Me Anymore

During the span of my career, I am sure I have been on hundreds of job interviews. If we throw in phone interviews, I think the number at least doubles. However, this blog entry is not about phone screens (even though they can blow).  This post can be summed up in one sentence: Interviewing is INEFFECTIVE...yeah I said it.

How many times have you worn your freshest suit, styled your hair to the tee, printed your resume on the best paper only to be subjected to the worst 20 to 60 minutes of your life? You walk into the office/conference room and are instantly met with one of the laziest openings ever. "So tell me about yourself"...you freeze, you stutter, you stammer trying to figure out can you tie in how many times you been in Twitter jail with your profiency with pivot tables?  Interviewing is ineffective....yeah I said it.

1. Most interviewers ask lazy questions. Tell me about yourself is a lazy question. First off, the interviewee isn't sure what part of their lives you want to hear about. "Well umm I like pop-tarts, beer pong, and playing Madden in my underwear. None of those skills really helped in my career as an Accountant though." Say that and you're already toast.  Some interviewers ask this question when they have not read your resume and need a little time to catch up. When you think this is the case just talk about your explosive diarrhea and how you're worried that sore on your lip could be Herpes. They will be nodding away telling you how interesting that sounds.

2. Interviews do not want honesty. What is your biggest weakness. "I have the urge to slap co-workers and I have been known to cuss a few folk out here and there. God is still working on me, but I still enjoy the 4 and 5 letter cuss words". Or "I like to do minimum work but get paid maximum dollars. Can I Facebook all day and still make 50/hr? I guess that's a weakness" I'm sorry, Miss Interviewer, I really never had any conflict with my co-workers. Honest answers are just that...honest. Should I make up a story instead? If you want to hear stories, I hear the Brothers Grimm wrote some wonderful tales.
Interviews are littered with tricks and traps to bait you. Such games lead candidates to essentially lie just to stay in the hunt.  I had a guy once comment on a local sports team about how horrible they were. I just shrugged and said maybe next year will be their year. Turned out the guy was a season ticket holder. Had I went with my mind to bash his team, I coulda been toast. See something that simple could be difference between you eating steak or you eating steak sauce on Ramen noodles.

3. Interviews are subjective.  Jane E. Awesome could have a 4.0, 5 years of experience, recommendations from Barack and Michelle Obama, not to mention Tevin Campbell but if her interviewer had a bad morning, she could be toast.  You could be hired (or not hired) based on things such as the time of day your interview is, whether or not the barista got your interviewer's latte right, or the elevator taking too long.  Heck, the interviewer could hate the color shirt you have on. I know we all have our moments, but when your bad mood can affect someone's life greatly, you really should put on your big boy draws and chill.

People come to me asking for interview advice and help. I tell folks all the time...don't lie but don't be afraid to give the truth a nudge. If you don't speak Russian, you just don't speak Russian. However, if you're just a novice in PowerPoint, it doesn't hurt to say you're proficient. Make sure you get your but on Udemy or something right after that interview.  The job hunt is a dirty dirty game, you can't fight fair. I tell people that interviews are no longer about can you do the job...they are about whether or not you "fit".  Focus on "fitting" not being a Boy/Girl Scout and you should be golden. Peace.