Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Things Not to Do in a Job Interview

So far, I’ve noticed a lot of great commentary on this blog about what the industry is looking for in potential planners/employees. Since those topics have been well covered, I’m going to try something a bit different for my first post here.

Something I’ve been mulling over lately is how there is no such thing as common information. It’s been said that because of Google/the interwebz, people know more about individual subjects that interest them than what used to be considered “general knowledge”. That being said, I’m going to use it as an excuse for some crazy stories I’ve heard. I’m a recent addition to the advertising community, but here are some things I’m (almost) positive you’re not supposed to do in an interview.

1. Bring someone.

A senior planner once told me that one of the girls he interviewed insisted on bringing her boyfriend into the interview to negotiate her salary and answer tough questions for her. Yeah, I know.

2. Show excessive amounts of cleavage/skin.

As my heroine Kelly Cutrone says in her book “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside” (which I highly recommend), cleavage is not for the office. I want to edit it for the dudes out there as well: no excessive skin either. Think of it this way: Do you notice when someone is showing a lot of skin when you’re passing them on the street? If so, your potential new boss will notice the same thing if you’re sitting in right in front of them. A friend of mine was recently flashed in an interview. She did not work at Hooters.

3. Fall for the trick question.

Your employer may ask if you really want to be doing the job that is entry-level/not paid well/practically janitorial. Or what you think of the company’s current work. Or what your favorite ad or current trend is. All of these questions are actually asking, “How much do you want this?” If you say, “Welllll…. It’s not EXACTLY what I WANT to do…” or have no idea what who their clients are/what they do, your potential boss is going to assume you’re not passionate enough for the job. Know your basic stuff! All it takes is a quick trip to Google. Research takes about 5 seconds and is incredibly worthwhile.

4. Misunderstand your place.

If you’re a recent graduate like me, you’re probably not THAT experienced. However many internships you’ve had in the last couple of years does not make you brilliant. But that's okay because it does make you look eager to learn a new job and what it entails. And that’s what employers want – an employee who has an can take on new projects with ease because of their enthusiasm to learn. As a previous poster mentioned – you are a brand. Be confident, but not over-confident. And if anything, understand your place in the workforce because I’m tired of reading posts/New York Times articles about my generation thinking they’re going to be CEOs at age 24 and then getting told (rightfully) that that probably isn’t going to happen. You rock, Millenials! But you’re (and I am) still young. Know that and use it to your advantage.

In conclusion: getting the interview means you are halfway there. So if you prepare for it, you can relax when you get in the room. Just make sure your boyfriend isn’t next to you.

~ alicia

1 comment:

Larissa said...

Great stuff...especially #4. You're so right- Millennials do forget that :)