6 things job hunters overdo in an interview

Telephone call: “Bryan, do you have a minute Bryan?  Well, Bryan, I am representing a company, Bryan, that has a product, Bryan, that will change your life, Bryan.”

Someone taught the salesman that using my name would get my attention.  No one told him that using it too much would get me mad.  I am always amazed when I get a call like that.  How could someone be so clueless? Teaching this guy to use my name to get my attention is like giving a monkey a gun.  He just doesn’t understand when to use it.

 You give a monkey a gun, and it’s your responsibility what happens. (Ira Winkler)

So let me see if I can teach you 6 things to do in an interview with me, and convince you not to overdo them.  This is a list of more things you should do during an interview, but not to an extreme. This is my list of things that are occasionally badly overdone.

  1. Use my name.  You don’t know me well, so just use my name a few times. If you are nervous about it, call me Mr. Dilts instead of Bryan.
  2. Look me in the eye.  Occasionally break eye contact to look at my hands, mouth, what I just pointed to, or the person who just walked into the room.
  3. Sit up attentively and move forward on your seat a little.  I like seeing that you are interested and paying attention.  I don’t want you leaning across my desk, or looking like you are getting ready to attack.
  4. Explain what you mean. I need to understand.  But only take two minutes per question.  If I ask you what time it is, don’t tell me how to build a watch.
  5. Tell me about your accomplishments.  I need to know how you personally made a difference.  Just remember the two minute rule.  I need to ask questions.  If you spend an hour on one self serving discourse, I won’t be able to ask the questions I need to ask, and you come across as an arrogant stuffed shirt.
  6. Let me know you want the job.  Ask for the job.  Be excited.  Just don’t throw your hands in the air every 60 seconds and scream, “I love this place. I am so desperate to work for you! Can I start right now?”

Be a person with a toolbox full of tools.  Use them for what they were intended.  Each one is important in an interview.  Don’t take things too far. Don’t be a monkey with a gun.

Something to do today

Find someone with a video camera and do a fake interview on camera.  You may be surprised what you see.


Coming up

Salary toy

Working for the Fortune 50

Scrabble and muck and get ahead

When to give up and go elsewhere

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