As this new, social generation of young people begin graduating from college and entering the workforce, there are a few tips I’d like to share, to help them avoid some common mistakes, says Richard Bliss of Forbes magazine.
The following mistakes were made by candidates in just one month, but they’d no idea they’d made them. I’m sharing them here so you can share them with your work-bound college grad.
After all, you don’t want them living at home forever…
1. Forgetting What Job You Applied For
So often a young person will begin mass applying for positions in their field of interest. Be sure to keep track and know what job you’re seeking.
A business owner this week shared his story of calling a promising prospect before the formal interview. He introduced himself and his company and then asked, “What about this position appeals to you?”
The response received was “Well ummm not really, I just thought it was an interesting job so um, well, um I don’t really know what the job is.” The spontaneous call can reveal far more than the resume.
Needless to say this young person was scratched from the list.
2. Being Rude Or Demanding
The old saying still applies: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
It’s vital to be kind, professional and polite when interacting with anyone at an organization. So it’s imperative that no matter who you interact with—from the reception desk to the CEO, from the people you pass in the hall to the interviewer—you must act with the utmost professionalism.
You never know who makes the ultimate decision. The person you pass in the hall just may be the hiring manager, and they may ask the other employees what they thought of you, even if they’re not a formal part of the interviewing process.
A female executive this month interviewed a male recent graduate for a position. He was rude, arrogant, and condescending to the woman. After politely ending the conversation, the prospect called back, demanding the name and phone number of the man who was in charge.
Did he get the job? Unlikely.
3. Neglecting To Research The Organization And The Products They Provide
When you apply for a position, make sure you take the time to research the organization. Go to their website, review the About section to understand how the company began, who the founders are, and what the overall culture is: Are they a quirky start-up or a traditional Fortune 500?
Rehearse your answer to how you’d fit into this organization. From there, memorize their company strapline, research their products, and do as much research about the company as possible. Review all their social media pages and their posts to really gauge what’s important to them and how they portray their organization and products to the world.
When a young woman was recently asked to tell her interviewer to describe what the company did, the response was, “I really don’t know what you do. I’d have to look at my notes.”
4. Criticizing Or Disagreeing With The Brand Or Culture
“Your logo has to change.” This was the opening statement of a recent applicant for a software company with a quirky brand.
Brand and culture usually go hand in hand. When you’re interviewing, it’s critical to understand that—as a young person straight from college—you’re not going into this position to change the corporate brand or culture. The organization was built on a certain brand, concepts, philosophies and culture from its inception. This is primarily determined by the founders and those that helped build it from the ground up.
Brand and culture are at the very core of an organization. If you criticize the brand or disagree with the culture, you insult the people interviewing you, to the core of what they believe in.
You need to decide whether you can love the brand and fit into the culture—if not, you need to find another organization to work for.
5. Telling Each Person A Different Story About Yourself
Trust me they all talk. During the interview process you may meet anywhere from three to 15 people, going through many interviews before a decision is made. The complexity of an interview process is essential to finding the right organizational fit and buy-in from all members involved.
However, you can get into trouble if you tell everyone a different story of “you.” This speaks directly to your character, integrity and whether you truly know who you are and what you want.
Recently, a gentleman was looking to make a career change, and was interviewing with a company outside his previous experience. The initial phone interview went extremely well. The director said to me they thought this person was a perfect fit, even though their experience was weak: The candidate told a very compelling story about himself, which seemed completely unscripted.
But in the next round came a shock: The candidate told every member of the team a different story about himself and what he was interested in.
Each individual in the hiring process will talk and compare notes with the other interviewers. When their notes don’t match up, it becomes difficult to trust your character and integrity.
And it causes them to question if you really know what you want.
The Bottom Line
The job market is tough for a young person graduating with little experience. And the hiring process hasn’t gotten easier.
Gone are the days of showing up and winging the interview. In today’s world, the preparation you make before you step through the door to interview is key to successfully landing your dream job.