We give students practice job interviews, give them advice on how to improve – how to dress professionally, what to say and what not to say, posture, handshake, etc. For the most part, the people I have interviewed have been pretty good. There’s always advice to give, no matter how well the interview went, but if the student is mature enough to accept that advice, we will all get something from the experience.
And then there are the others. The students who haven’t quite taken things as seriously as they should have, and as a result….well I have blogging material…and more advice! The following examples were inspired by a few recent, practice interviews:
When a potential employer asks you about your job, don’t say:
“I work my balls off!” or “I work my ass off!” Leave the anatomy out of this, mm kay? Don’t say, “I flip the shit around that place each day.” Don’t swear. I can’t believe I had to actually tell that to a student recently, but it’s true. He seemed shocked that I would bring attention to it, as if I was his drinking buddy.
When a potential employer asks you “What is your weakness?” Don’t say “Chocolate covered cherries.” Odds are their question needed a professional response that had nothing to do with your cravings. I mean hey, those are my weakness too, but there’s a time and place for those types of confessions and the interview situation is not it.
Also, don’t argue about what time you arrived when you were clearly late. Accept it and move on.
When I say to dress professionally, I mean you need to dress in a suit and yes….a tie (women should dress in a skirt or pant suit – a tie is not required, neither is a distracting display of cleavage). Bolo ties don’t count, please don’t wear those things. A cloth tie is the thing to wear. Avoid eyeball-scorching colors like lime green or neon yellow.
Don’t crinkle up your face and say, “I don’t do ties.” I’m asking you to wear a tie, not a lynch. You can take it off as soon as you leave my office if it really bothers you. Besides, I love ties…and chocolate covered cherries. But that last bit is irrelevant right now.
I do not hand out advice to students because I want to piss them off. Far from it. I’m not cynical, I don’t laugh at them, I just tell them as constructively as possible what they need to work on. Even when I had to tell the guy to not swear, I just told him “Don’t swear.”
Throughout my almost 8 years of doing those interviews, I have only had to turn one student away. He showed up in my office in jeans, baseball hat and a black T-shirt, sat back in the chair with his arms supporting the back of his head and didn’t have a trace of a resume or anything else he was supposed to bring. He grinned at me, I grinned back and said we needed to reschedule. The next time he came in he was all prepared, dressed in a sharp suit and interviewed really well. Go figure.
Anyway, the advice list could stretch on for miles, but those were the most recent ones that stuck out for me.