Being from a different kind of generation, I’ve often wondered if there was an art to finding a job. Many, many older, “wiser” people have always told me I should work out a resume; I should dress super nice, and be super friendly. I’ve been told since high school “don’t wear your tongue ring to the interview!” or “put on a skirt!”, but ultimately, are those the steps that got me hired?
As a former “recruiter” or part of the “hiring personnel”, I know that the company looks for candidates that will closest match the company image. They want someone they know will look the way the company does and can represent themselves as the company’s image, so taking out my lip ring and nose ring are an almost necessity, to most every potential employer. (I still strongly disagree with this strategy, and policy, believing it to be a type of discrimination, but unfortunately, “it’s a wicked world that we live in.”1)
I also understand that, while a skirt may not get me a job, looking like a bum won’t either. Now, that normally means no t-shirts and jeans, however, if you’re/I’m applying for a clothing store and that’s their style, I would probably not go there dressed in a business suit! That’s not how they want customers to see their company. Image, to a recruiter, is huge.
Personality; this is where I always get messed up. I’m outgoing, helpful, respectful, and polite. However, if I talk too much, I can appear “chatty”, which is bad, because time is money, as the old adage says. If I’m too polite, I can come across nervous or shy. By trying to help an interviewer pick the right word or phrase, I can appear too eager or disrespectful, even though I’m just trying to be nice. All of this, of course, depends on the interviewer, and is hard to adjust or predict. The thing I have found that works best is to be honest. As a recruiter, I understood people got nervous. Nerves make us forgetful, shaky, awkward, and even rude, in same cases. The interview is where you are giving the recruiter a first (and sometimes last) impression of who you are, but it never hurts to be honest and simply say “I’m sorry. I’m nervous.” I can’t say this excuses the mistake or behavior for the recruiter, but in some cases, as the interviewer, I could see if the nerves really were the problem, or if it was something else, and the apology either helped, or had no affect, but it never hurt.
As to resumes, I have always been told to bring a couple resumes to an interview, “just in case”, however, I’ve never been asked for a resume in an interview or later. I, personally, never requested a resume from a candidate I interviewed. Most of the information we needed came from the application, which asks for recent or relevant work history. It asks how long you worked for a particular employer and under what circumstances you left or were asked to leave. It asks if you have been convicted of anything and what or why. All of these pieces of information are important to a recruiter because it gives an impression of work ethic, and morals. If you are applying for a bank teller position, but you’ve been fired under suspicion of stealing from a previous job, you are most likely not going to be hired by a bank, where you are directly responsible for working with money everyday! However, if you are applying for a business position, something like human resources, or pay roll, you might want to bring a resume with you, which can include references, education, and other accomplishments. In those cases, your potential employer make ask for your resume, and you may look unprepared if you do not have one with you.
Overall, when applying and interviewing for jobs, use your common sense. If you are looking for work as a business professional, you are going to need to look better, act better, and be better prepared than if you are applying for a fast food job. Think things through, and be prepared for what you think the job may be like and act accordingly.