Want a Job? Don’t say this in your next interview

“I don’t even know why I was called about this position”

 

Recently, I had the opportunity to co-interview a candidate for a position my company was looking to fill.

The candidate showed up 15 minutes early, was well dress and seemed personable. I wish I could say that it was the start of a very great interview, but I can’t. All twenty minutes of the interview were horribly awkward and disastrous.

A few “high-lights” include:

-Her cell phone rang
-She fiddled with her purse on the conference table throughout the interview
-Direct quote: “I don’t even know why I was called about this position”
-She never mentioned how she would actually do the prospective job or why she would be good at it.
-The Web site’s URL listed on her resume was her name, but redirected to something equally as childish as “www.snuggly-carebear.com”
-She generally failed to show any enthusiasm about the position.

Needless to say, she didn’t get the job.

It felt very “full-circle” getting to be on the other side of the table. Having just been hired in late October, my mind was pretty fresh on the “do’s and don’ts” of an interview: dress well, be prepared, know about the company, be excited, show off your skills, etc. I can’t say I’m an expert on how to get a job or how to ace an interview, but I ended up snagging a job in this turbulent economy when more than one person was up for my position.

My biggest strategy was to be over prepared. Before I went in, I made sure that I knew the company’s mission, understood the job description, and more importantly, I was prepared to show off my skills and how they would help the company achieve its goals.

In my interview, I brought my portfolio, showed the team my blog, and described how my work on previous projects had prepared me to take on the position I was interviewing for. I brought crisp resumes and an “about me” page that included a brief description about myself and  links to my blog, twitter, and LinkedIn profile.

For those of you entering your final semester of college I would recommend you start putting together a portfolio of your past and current work. You’ll be surprised to see how much you’ve done and how it actually relates to jobs you might want to pursue.

Don’t confine yourself and only highlight conventional skills, think out of the box. My portfolio includes writing samples, power point presentations, short bio’s about my extracurricular involvement, and  screen shots of the Shop Boysz MySpace Page (Yes, Party Like a Rockstar) and Amy Winehouse’s Facebook Page (Rehab, yes, no, yes, no…yes) that I managed while interning at Universal Music Group. Before I put anything in my portfolio, I made sure I had a clear purpose for it and could describe succinctly how it reflected one of my skills.

I can’t say these are the end all, be all steps one should take, but I know they helped me. If you know yourself and know your skills, you’re ahead of more people than you think.

What tips would you include? Do you value conventional skills more than transferable skills?

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8 thoughts on “Want a Job? Don’t say this in your next interview”

  1. I think one of the best ways to know if you’re doing something right is to be on the other side. I’ve always reviewed resumes and cover letters as a side project and as a result mine have always been improved. And in my last job, I interviewed interns and learned tons on what to do and not to do.

    Great post!

  2. Your tip on creating a portfolio of past work is a great idea. It has never occurred to me that writing samples should be printed and websites I’d worked on should be screenshot and brought to the interview with me!

    I’d also like to point out that many applications allow you to upload “further materials,” and these items would be great samples to attach!

  3. I just discovered your blog! YAY!

    So, if you know of any job openings would it be appropriate to let me know? I may know some really great people who would fit the description. Of course, I would tell them in advance not to say stupid things, and of course turn their cell phone off.

    My suggestion would be not to put anything on your resume that you couldn’t provide if asked. For example, don’t say you wrote an article for Soldier Magazine but not be able to produce a copy. Oh, another one would be don’t say you’re an expert at social media if you don’t a. have a blog, b. have a Twitter account c. have a Facebook, etc…

    Um, Ok. See you tomorrow for lunch!
    🙂
    Stefanie

  4. One of my favorites from an interviews I’ve sat in on: When asked why a woman left her last job she replied “HR accused me of stalking my boss. It’s not my fault we always go to the same bars and clubs on the same nights.”

    NEXT!

  5. This is good stuff. You’re quite mature for your age. I’m sure you will go far in Army Public Affairs…and beyond.

    I’m so glad I talked you out of going to NYC (I’m probably taking too much credit for this).

  6. Sweet blog Megan! I’m glad I happened upon it. I have recently tried (key word: tried) becoming more present online and in the social media world as well — seems like you’ve got it down.

    Glad to see your doing well. Looking forward to more of your posts.

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