The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. In the past 30 days I…
Travelled to California and Louisiana
Worked two jobs (both full and part time)
Kept up with my blogging activity
Quit my full time job in Downtown Dallas and replaced it with a better, higher paying position in the Uptown Dallas area.
As if two jobs wasn’t enough, I added another part-time position to my list of things to do in order to enhance my repertoire of professional skills. In total I have 3 three jobs, a blogary, and a life. Somehow I find time to be a real person by eating, sleeping and occasionally working out. I say all this because the successful changes in my professional life has caused me to reflect upon my failed attempts – I repeat, failed ATTEMPTS – of finding a job.
Last year I applied to 30 job positions and had 7 different interviews before I ever landed a stable position. I attribute much of my failure to resume errors and interviewing flaws that severely affected my candidacy and interview process. To share what I learned from my job search catastrophes, I thought it would be helpful to write a post entitled “How I Failed My Job Interviews.” In this post I will provide you tips on how I botched my interviews and how you can too!
*I am hoping that this reverse psychology post about my professional career will push you find ways to nail a job interview one day.*
HOW TO FAIL
1. Have Bad Resume
Firstly, I credit a bad resume to much of my earlier failure in my search for a job. I was under some kind of impression that everyone wanted to get a sense of my life’s story when they read my curriculum vitae (CV). While being elaborate may be important to me, it is cumbersome and time-consuming to many HR and hiring professionals who receive hundreds of CVs a day. In order to isolate qualified and unqualified personnel, recruiters spend a few seconds quickly scanning a candidate’s application. Research has shown that professional recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking for highlights and key words. With this in mind, I can see why my old resume was getting dumped in a waste basket. I created a resume that lacked pertinent information and held distracting, irrelevant data.
I experienced much more success when I learned how to write a resume. I reinvented my CV to impressively and concisely portray the highlighted moments of my life circa 2011.
2. Dress Inappropriately
Everyone told me, “When in doubt, dress conservative.” Dressing conservatively = a suit, a matching jacket and trousers/skirt, dress blouse, tie, dress shoes and etc. While this attire would be appropriate for a hedge fund or a law firm, other industries are more laid back and thus dress more casually. It is important to take note of your perspective company’s work culture because what you wear to the interview affects first impressions and hiring decisions. Think of your interview day swag as a statement that will define who you are before you sit across from your future boss.
I, myself, made the mistake of dressing inappropriately for an opportunity to work as a Legal Assistant at a capital investment firm. In the first-round of the interviews I wowed the hiring manager with my personality and amazed others with my accomplishments. I failed in the second round when I showed up in a modern-conservative outfit on “jean and t-shirt day.” Due to the fact that I was overly dressed, my interviewers thought that I was overly qualified. The cynical and confused interviewers even COMMENTED on my appearance and questioned my true motives for wanting the job.
My outfit that day made it seem like I was out of place, awkward and took the opportunity too seriously. My advice for dressing for success would be to make sure you do your research. Look up the company’s work environment on the internet and investigate what type of employee your perspective company hires. Doing all of this will allow you to gauge the dress code before you show up overly dressed on “jean and t-shirt day.” HA.
3. Have Poor Non-verbal Communication
I am so bad at masking my non-verbal communication. You can sense my agreeing or disagreeing sentiments through my body language and facial expressions.
I am an open book.
This can be a positive in some cases but it is not particularly helpful during a job search. Every time I met a hiring manager, I went through I period of censorship. I constantly had to control my posture, smile, eye contact, and gestures so that I could avoid disastrous interpersonal communication incidents. I was consciously thinking about my subconscious communication because the way I present myself/ behave nonverbally affects my candidacy as a future co-worker, employee and etc.
My advice for non-verbal communication: Be the best, mannerable version of yourself and you’re set.
4. Be Too Straightforward
Responding to interview questions with a clear, straight forward answer will get you the boot. There were times when I didn’t know what else to say in my answer besides yes and no. Don’t imitate me and be basic with your short, uninteresting responses. I helped myself out in this department by anticipating the Q&A portion of my meeting. When asked about my strengths and weaknesses, for example, I was quick to talk about these attributes in relation to my time spent studying in Europe and the Middle East. Doing this grabbed my interviewers’ attention and directed the conversation in a more comfortable direction.
5. Don’t want the job
I am at fault.
In the past I went to interviews for positions I had no interest in because I was desperate. If I didn’t really want the job from the onset, it showed in the interview. My enthusiasm levels were low and I talked more about what my future held for me instead of the present. It is frustrating to many interviewers when a potential employee spends more time talking about topics unrelated to the position available to them. In order to save everyone’s time I, now, only consider positions that I could see myself enjoying. “When you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life,” right?
Until Next Time,
"Your life is happening now. Make it amazing!"