Thursday, November 10, 2005

Readers’ questions on interviewing

A recent e-newsletter published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers made the following observation: out of all the hoops job seekers jump through, they tend to make the most mistakes during the interviewing process. More than on resumes, cover letters or sceening phone calls.

So with that backdrop, I thought I’d move to some readers’ questions on the subject.

Steve from Kansas sent in this question:
Q. I felt like kind of a jerk. The minute I appeared at the door of XXX engineering firm, I felt seriously overdressed in my suit and tie. The interviewer not only wore a wrinkled polo shirt but evidently had skipped shaving that morning! Should I forget the formal professional clothes in the future?

A. No, Steve, that would not be a good idea. Your suit and tie were completely appropriate since most interviewers assume that they will never see you looking more professional than during that first interview. So, keep that formal stuff pressed and ready to go. You’ll want to dress like the professional that you are. Or, put another way—look the part to get the part.

Thelma from New Jersey writes:
Q. During a recent interview, I found out that the interviewer had graduated from college just three years ago. This made me wonder how much experience he had as an interviewer and how he could possibly make any good decisions.

A. Well, Thelma, in essence, it doesn’t really matter how much experience your interviewer has. The company’s either short handed or puts enough faith in that individual to trust his decisions, at least as far as handling the initial screening decisions.
The more appropriate question would be whether he liked you enough to refer you to the next level.
Bottom line. When you find yourself critiquing the interviewer, it’s time to change your outlook. You’ll stand a better chance of getting hired if they like you, which they won’t if there’s even a hint of a critical attitude. So, young or old, treat the interviewer as someone on your list of Most Fascinating People.

Interviewing questions for Aunt Bonnie? As usual, you can respond through the comments link or via email. 

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/10 at 03:23 PM
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