Saturday, March 15, 2008

Follow up to "What Not To Say in an Interview"

"Reformed Smoker" (see comments to previous post), had some good points to make. I do not instantly judge someone, but because I may be sending my interviewee on for further interviewers, I am constantly thinking not just about their skills and qualifications, but how they present themselves. I am aware that there are many offices where orange hair and multiple piercings, low cut blouses or ragged cuffs may be acceptable attire. The problem is that unless people present themselves in the best possible light, they eliminate themselves from consideration for many positions.

I assume that when folks come to me they are earnestly seeking a good position. I am not suggesting that we lie about who we are, but that we do not alienate people right off the bat. In many companies the person doing the hiring is not necessarily the person who is doing the interviewing, at least initially. As I am interviewing folks I am trying to get a picture of the kind of position and environment that I can see that person in. Sometimes I actually get a full-color mental picture of them walking about in a company I know and in a position they are qualified for and this helps me make suitable suggestions.

I thought about pulling the previous post after reading Reformed Smoker's remarks, but I thought about it a while. Yes, it is a bit on the sarcastic side, but I mean it in good humor. I once had an interview where I had one of those nasty, drippy, phlegm filled colds. I refused to shake their hands to spare them my germs and was certain after listening to my raspy voice that I would NOT get the job. I felt bedraggled. I could not tell if I had really pulled myself together. I worked there for 4 years.

I have two goals in interviewing: first, I want to find out a person's skills, experience, education AND personality, so that I can best determine suitable placements for that person; and second, I want to be kind and encouraging, while speaking the truth, as I find the process of job-hunting can be so discouraging. By the time some people get to my office they have had their self-esteem battered by interviewers and other staffing agencies. I firmly believe that anyone can find a job given enough determination, smarts and encouragement. The determination I cannot provide. Some of the wisdom about job searching I can provide, but what I can almost always provide is encouragement. But sometimes, the people who come through the door seem so ill-prepared that I wonder if they have a clue about what they are doing and how they come across.

So, if you have stumbled across my blog while trying to find something about job-hunting and interviewing, please be encouraged. Determination and hard-work, together with some savvy, (including the research you are already doing) will be what you need to find a suitable position.

Granted, in the current economy, things are getting more difficult, and historically there are times when even the finest people are not employed (the Great Depression, for instance) and it may take more time and more determination than ever.

A staffing service is one tool of many. I look at it as a way to expand your network, so that you have a few more eyes and ears out looking on your behalf. This may not be the path you choose, and more power to you. I am truly pleased for anyone who finds suitable employment in an upright and honorable way. I truly wish you all the best in this, one of life's most difficult endeavors.

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