Friday, August 3, 2012

Good and bad interview advice from the 80s

I ran across a stack of folded, stapled papers the other day.

Usually, they'd be unpaid parking tickets and requests to appear in court, but I was surprised to find that they're typed (on a typewriter!) "interview preparation" notes.

I'm not sure if my father gave them to me, I attended a seminar at some point (they're subtitled "Session IV"), or I typed them out in my sleep, but I found the advice to be surprisingly:
  • Good - the notes remind us of some of the in-person basics we may forget in a world that's gone all in on online.
  • Bad - some of the advice is so obvious, you can imagine a bumpkin hitting himself in the head and saying, "Gawwww-leee!" upon hearing it.
Unfortunately, the sheets aren't credited. If they're yours, I'd be happy to give you credit and return them for a gigantic finder'' fee.

This list is summarized from the handouts. When there's a second line, these comments are my own. 

Good advice:

1. Employers hire to make money, save money or save time. The applicant's ability to contribute to all of these basic needs is a major factor.
Remember: it's not about you, it's about the employer. 

2. Research the job. Know products and services, key people, industry issues and legislation, profitability and the company's prospects.
If you have an interview at a radio station: LISTEN to the radio station beforehand. 

3. Dress appropriately.

4. Speak clearly.
Is it just me, or are young men these days mumbling their way through life?

5. Arrive early.
If you're not 10 minutes early, you're late. 

6. Be confident.
But not arrogant. 

7. Ask questions.
My trick: bring a list, so you don't forget anything. 

8. Be truthful.

9. Thank the interviewer at the end of the interview.
Consider dropping off a thank-you card. 

10. Smile.

11. Sit up straight.

12. Let the interviewer lead the discussion.

13. Look at the interviewer.

14. Sell your qualifications rather than your need for the job.

15. Don't criticize former employees or workers.

16. Don't tell jokes.
But show a personality and a pulse!

17. Don't be a self-centered know-it-all.

Some of the questionable advice:

1. Visit the Better Business Bureau.
In person?

2. Know the name of the person you're going to meet at the interview.
"I'm supposed to meet with some dude or something."

3. Don't walk in with a lit cigarette.
Walk in with an unlit cigarette.

4. Say the interviewer's name at least twice during the interview.
"So, Alan, I hope that I get the job, Alan."

5. Leave when the interview is finished.
"I'll just sit here until you've come to a decision."

6. Call back.
"Are you ready to hire me yet?"

7. Show your eagerness by your walk.
Watch Benny Hill for inspiration. 

8. Give all the information requested, even if you think it's too personal.

9. Display documents only when more facts are requested.
"You say you were incarcerated for five years. How do we know this is true?"

10. Be yourself.
Unless you're a jerk. 

11. Make a written note of time, date, place when asked to call or return for another interview.
Naw, just try to remember it. 

12. Remove your hat.
But leave the monocle right where it is.

12. Don't sit unless you've been invited to do so.

13. Don't call yourself "Mr." or "Miss."
"Mr. Larsen would like a job. I'm Mr. Larsen."

14. Don't walk in as if you were on a Sunday afternoon stroll.
Unless the interview takes place on a Sunday afternoon.

15. Don't shake hands like a dead fish.
Shake hands like a live fish.

16. Don't appear with the smell of liquor on your breath.
 Cover the smell with mints.

17. Don't squint - wear glasses if you need them.
"Who said that?"

18. Don't apply for a job when you have an unpleasant cold.
Apply when it's more pleasant. 

19. Don't wear lodge emblems, political buttons, or insignia.
"We know you're a fan of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, but the shirts have to go."

20. Don't wear sunglasses during the interview.
"Mr. Nicholson, we've decided to hire someone else."

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