How NOT To Ace the Job Interview


handshakeThe other day I made a facebook post slightly complaining about the quality of interview skills recent candidates have displayed in my office. I thought this was a bad economy where people were dying for jobs? That just can’t be true, otherwise they might have made a little more effort, maybe even a Google search about how to prepare for an interview.

Let me clarify upfront, it is my policy to invite everyone that applies, that holds a bachelors degree to come in for an interview.  You can’t sell education if you don’t have one, fact.  I know my Directors probably hate that, but it keeps a level playing field and you just never know who might be your next top performer. I know my staff has a lot to do and I have to make the final decision anyway so I try to pitch in and do inteviews myself when I can. Last week I interviewed 17 people. It was painful.

Here are some memorable moments and some interview DON’T(s), I didn’t make any of them up.

If you are seeking work and sending out applications, have a professional voicemail message and provide a professional email address, crikey.

Tell me about your sales experience:

  • “I sold knives door to door, I hated it”
  • “I worked at Victoria’s Secret for like a week”
  • “My last job was an inside sales job, I was fired for missing my goals”
  • “I just love education, I really want to work in education”
  • “Wait, before you ask me anything you need to know that I need to make a minimum of 49K per year because the campus is 50 miles away from my house and I have to take two weeks off every other month because my family travels abroad.”

What do you know about our organization?

  • “I think I saw a TV commerical once”
  • “I don’t know nothin’ Sugar, that’s why I’m here”
  • “Your jingle is really annoying, but everyone knows it”
  • ” I tried to find it on the internet machine, I think it’s broke”
  • “I just love education, I really want to work in education”

Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • “I’ll own my own company, it’s almost up and running now, I’m just looking for something to do until it really gets going”
  • “I’d like to own my own business so I don’t have a boss”
  • “For sure not working in education”
  • “I just love education, I really want to work in education”

Can you describe your ideal work environment?

  • “I’d like to work from home so I can have my own space and people won’t bother me”
  • “Loving, I think it’s important that we all treat each other with love”
  • “Somewhere where I can always be in the spirit”
  • “I just love education, I really want to work in education”
  • “Everyone is polite and I have a nice chair”

Can you tell me about a time where you missed a goal and how you handled it?

  • “Oh I miss goals all the time”
  • “I set goals for myself every day, week and month. My goal for this year is to take more vacations”
  • “I was put on an improvement plan after I missed my goal once, so I quit”
  • “I wasn’t trained right, so it wasn’t my fault”
  • “My old boss set our goals so high we could never reach them, I just stopped looking at them”
  • “I just love education, I really want to work in education”

What motivates you?

  • “See this suit, it cost $200. I need more suits like this one”
  • “My daughter is in jail and I have to raise my two grandbabies, will I be able to leave at 3:00?”
  • “I don’t know really, I’ve never had a job before”

How do you handle stress and pressure?

  • “I unload on someone”
  • “I shut down, I don’t talk to people, then explode on my husband”
  • “Girl, I will slap a bitch down if I need to, I handle my business”
  • “I don’t get stressed, I’m on medication for stress”

Here are some interesting additions:

  • I drove all the way to Arkansas to meet with a candidate and make her an offer of employment…she didn’t even show up or call and say she wasn’t coming. She made it through two other rounds of interviews. Who does that?
  • I met a woman that I believe had her weave on backwards. Oopsie.
  • Three candidates knocked me, my receptionist and the office next door away with the amount of cologne/perfume they were wearing.
  • I had a common bond with one candidate. We were both wearing last season’s, black, Dream Angels, demi bra from Victoria’s Secret…only difference, mine didn’t show clearly through my shirt.
  • We need an application on file for everyone. We also check to see if it matches their resume. I get irritated when people think they are too good to fill out the application because they have a resume. Get over yourself.
  • Eight people didn’t even bother to bring a resume with them to the interview…uh, I emailed it, can’t you just print it off? Well, I would if you had formatted it like a rational person, but it’s all a jumble mess.
  • It would be great if you would just simply answer my question. I don’t want to know or care about anything else.
  • People fail to realize that interviewing is something we have to do in addition to the million other things we need to accomplish on a daily basis. Sum it up.
  • I know it must be intimidating to be interviewed by a woman, half your age, that is better educated and has advanced in her career further than you ever will. You don’t need to be a douche and talk to my awesome rack to prove it.
  • You don’t work Sundays because of church? I’ve made it clear that this is a M-F position, just because you love Jesus isn’t going to make me hire you.

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