After the old man ordered him to get out of the house and land a job, my brother Sean headed down to a nearby grocery store—found the manager—and asked him, “Hey, you guys ain’t got no jobs down here, do ya?”
It wasn’t just his use of a double negative that kept him from being hired that day.
Of course a kid can be forgiven for awkwardness in job-seeking skills—but the truth is it really never gets easier the older we get. It may be why so few 90-year olds are being hired as video game developers. After all, there are few more nerve-rattling, sweat-inducing, heart palpitating ordeals in life than seeking employment.
That’s why this week’s column is being offered: It presents job interviewing tips to anyone trying to get hired: Whether it be at Amazon—or in the Amazon; interviewing at the International Harvester Company—or the International House of Pancakes; trying to get hired at Albertsons—or by Albert’s son.
Here are ten tips that may not get you hired, but may help you from being arrested.
1. Appropriate attire: Unless you are applying to be a lifeguard, it’s best not to show up in swimwear. Men should dress to look professional. This means no ball cap unless you’re applying to be a Seattle Mariner. Women should also dress in business attire, with a dress length in a neutral area somewhere between the hips and the ankles—and a neckline that doesn’t plunge below the clavicle. But regardless of gender—short-shorts, a tank top and flip-flops—are generally not considered suitable. Unless the potential employer specifically requests them.
2. Be on time: Showing up, say, Thursday afternoon—when your appointment was scheduled for Wednesday morning—is bad form and shows poor time management skills.
3. Do not walk in with a beverage in your hand: Arriving while slugging back a coffee—especially a coffee nudge—sends a message to the interviewer. And not a great one. It’s also smart not be clipping your toe-nails, eating a hard-boiled egg, delousing your hair—or gargling. True, there is one known example where a person using a nose-hair trimmer did land a job—but it is rare. Especially surprising since he was using the nose-hair trimmer on the interviewer.
4. Do some research on the company: When the interviewer asks you, “Do you
know what our business is here at Crate and Barrel?”—some basic preparation might make you able to say something better than “I figure you sell crates and barrels, right?”(That particular company seems to sell neither, by the way.)
5. Don’t exaggerate or fabricate things on your resume’: “It says here that you
are the former chairman of Microsoft.” This forces you to admit, “Well, that’s not exactly right. It wasn’t Microsoft. I was actually the farmer chairman of Mike Rowe’s Sauce—a barbecue product. You should try it. It’s pretty damn good!”
6. Always maintain eye contact with the interviewer: Don’t start staring at his or her nose, even if it closely resembles a two-car garage.
7. Do not talk too much: Avoid telling the interviewer your entire life story. “I was born breach. Yet the obstetrician told my parents I was the most beautiful infant ever. I’ve seen the photos. Darned if the doctor wasn’t right! Take a look for yourself.” Also avoid bringing up your ex-wife, your gun collection—or your foot fetish.
8, Ask questions to the interviewer, but ask the right ones:
Inappropriate questions include:
“Have you always had that weird twitch thing going on with your mouth?”
“Does this company seem to notice when office supplies turn up missing?”
“Who do you think God is?”
And, “Have you ever killed a guy?”
9.Don’t badmouth previous employers: My old boss is a shark-nosed, swivel-eared, block-headed idiot! And he calls ME a name-caller!?”
10. Turn off your phone: Don’t take or make calls during the job interview unless
it’s an emergency —like a call from your bookie. Believe it or not, some job interviewers find it disrespectful when applicants are texting, checking football scores—or playing “Angry Birds.” So turn off your phone and drop it into your briefcase or purse prior to walking in. Especially if you use the musical ring-tone: “Take This Job and Shove It.”