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Job hunting can be frustrating, confronting, humbling…and really annoying. Blow your cool – decimate your chances. Don’t…
1. Burn your bridges
There’s a thirty-second thrill in telling the interviewer who fixated on (all of) your faults what his faults are? A minute of joy in replying to a format “thanks, but no thanks” letter with one that’s equally smug. Both, and all their siblings, come with a lifetime of potential consequences. It’s a very small world. Burn one bridge and a dozen others may well crumble.
2. Criticise, carp or complain
It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong - nobody wants to work with a whinger.
3. Drop your guard
The chit-chat at the beginning of an interview is a convention. But, yes, if you’ve made it through to a chit-chat at the end of an interview, either you’re in the running or your interviewer is giving himself a brain break before he gets back to work. Whatever the reason that you’ve been invited to be informal, remember that “informal” doesn’t mean you can share details about your present company’s new business pitch, the stupid thing you did to get fired or what you’ve been told you did last Saturday night (and can’t remember).
4. Know it all
A friend of mine was being interviewed for an account director position. He’d made it through to a chit-chat at the end of the interview (see 3. above). The chat was about the “best alcohol campaign ever”. Both adpeople agreed on the campaign. AD-in-the making said it was by CP+B. MD said it was by adam&eve/DDB. That night, AD found out he was right. He thought it would clinch the job if MD knew that he, AD The Great, was the font of all ad-knowledge, so he sent MD an email. He never heard from MD again.
5. Freeze in the headlights
Prepare, prepare, prepare.
It’s human to have your brain shut down when nerves overload it. If there’s something you don’t want to talk about, practice talking about it. If you can’t remember a detail about your own history clearly, look it up. If it’s not 100% true, know what you’re going to say if you’re caught. (Then remove it from your CV for next time.)
Work out what you can say to kick-start the interview – it will give you a feeling that you’re in control. Above all, remember that if your manner is friendly and natural, you’ll tick the box for “fits in”. And that’s a huge step towards “hired”.
6. Clip your own wings
Don’t let one job that looks perfect blind you to the other ten that might lead to something great, or turn out to be just right for you. Don’t use ‘refine your search’ to build your dream job. And don’t turn, “We’ll get back to you within a month,” into a month long holiday.
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