It seems like a lot of people are taking this cat's advice these days. I have ceased to be amazed at what people will do and say in a job interview. That is, if they ever make it to the interview. When I place an ad I always request a cover letter, a resume and references. That's where we'll start. Pay attention to the ad and give the person what they are asking for. I rarely get a cover letter with the resume and often, when I do, the person has not bothered to change the cover letter to fit the job for which they're applying. When I post a dental assiting position and get a cover letter that reads, "My career goal is to create a successful career in the banking industry...", I have to wonder what the applicant is thinking. Why would I waste time interviewing someone who's ultimate goal is to do something else?
And what's with the reluctance to provide references? Is it some kind of power play or something? I hate to read "references provided upon request". Why do I have to request them? Actually, I already did, in my job posting. Do you mean to make me beg for them? Speaking of references, try to make them worth my dime. I don't want to call your best friend, or your sister. I want to call someone who supervised you, someone who taught you, and someone who worked with you. If you want to add your best friend in with that crew, I'll take it, it will give me an idea of the kind of people you like to hang around with.
If you provide me with what I asked for in my posting, and you used spell check and didn't mess up the grammar with words like "ain't" or phrases like, "I don't got any experience, but people say I learn real fast"; your email address isn't something like "firstname.lastname@example.org; your paper isn't food stained and doesn't smell like cigarettes; I'll probably call you.
Here's the next hurdle, answer your phone like a human being. Don't have Fat Bottom Girls as your ringback. Say hello in a pleasant tone. When you hear it's someone calling you about a job you applied for, sound happy about it. Here's how one of these calls went the other day: After I enjoyed listening to the aforementioned Fat Bottom Girls tune, the applicant answered the phone,
Hmph. "Hello, may I speak to Janie?"
"Is this Janie?"
Ok, one last chance. "I'm Linda, I'm calling about a job posting you responded to."
"We are looking for someone who can communicate with our patients intelligently and pleasantly. You've just disqualified yourself from consideration because of the way you answered your phone. I'm sorry."
Are you kidding me? I wish that was a joke, but this is not the first time that's happened. At least I didn't have to put myself through actually sitting across from this person, but I just don't get it. I thought there was a shortage of jobs.
So, if you make it in for an in-person interview, I'm going to have a lengthy questionairre for you to fill out. I want to know your strengths and weaknesses, how you react under pressure, what your pet peeves are, what you love about your career, basically who you are, what you'll bring to the job, and what it will be like to spend the day with you. Use your head. Don't tell me that nothing bothers you, I've yet to hire a saint. Be honest and let me see who you are. On the other hand, don't be foolish about it. I asked one applicant what her favorite book is. Her response? "Well, I like Harry Potter, but my boyfriend is begging me to read "50 Shades of Gray." Ok, I don't need to know that. "In case you haven't heard, and I don't know how you couldn't have, "50 Shades of Gray" is basically soft porn. I don't care if you read it, just don't tell me in an interview situation. When I told the same applicant that we had an ergonamic saddle type assistant's stool she woggled her eyebrows at me and said, "Oh, I don't know if I can sit on that all day, it might get me all worked up. (another eyebrow woggle) Know what I mean?" I think I could guess correctly, and not because I've had any similar relationship with the stool, but it made me sure that I didn't want to have to share that stool with her. So, she didn't get the job. Neither did the person who leaned over and started tearing sheets off the little calendar on my desk to "catch me up to the present". Really? You just kinda pissed me off. Nor did I hire the woman in the cat hair covered black sweat suit who wanted to know if we could be done in 15 minutes because she had 13 cats that she had to get home to feed. (That one sounded amazing on the phone, too) I didn't hire the one who complained that my questionairre was too long either. Hey, you're unemployed, can't you spare the time to fill out my paper?
If you make it through the in-person interview with me, you get to come back for an interview with my boss and me together. One young lady decided that her best assets resided between her collarbone and navel and came dressed to show them off. My poor boss didn't know where to look. I was absolutely tempted to go get a patient bib and clip it on her so I could stop staring at her chest. I just couldn't believe what my eyes were seeing. Why would anyone think it would be a good idea to interview with their boobs?
I'm exhausted just writing this, I hope I haven't worn you out having you read it. Hopefully, you've gotten a chuckle out of it and are most likely ruefully shaking your head because it all sounds like someone you've interviewed. See, it's not just you. I've actually started to think I attract these people. Next, I'll be back to tell you what will actually give you a good chance of getting the job.