With so many experts regurgitating the same career advice, it is enough to make job seekers wonder what on earth they are supposed to do to stand out from the crowd and get hired. After awhile, the advice just becomes noise and nothing sticks. So I’m not here to tell you how to get hired. I am here to tell you how to stay unemployed in your elusive pursuit of a white collar professional career. I have been witness to every scenario I have outlined below (many more times than the opposite) and let me tell you, it works. These memorable tips will keep you from getting the job you deserve.
When you decide a never ending job search is no longer right for you, try the complete opposite of everything you are about to read. You will discover getting hired on your next interview is a pretty good feeling too.
Rule #1: It is all about YOU.
Rule #2: Repeat Rule #1
You’ve heard the old adage that your resume and connections get you the interview, but the interview gets you the job. However, that probably sounds so old school to you.
After all, the hype right now is around social media to build your networks and fast track the whole process. Who needs to worry about preparing for an interview when you have 1,372 followers on Twitter and 500+ connections on LinkedIn? Granted, most of these people you have never spoken to in real life, but hey it’s a numbers game and you feel like you’re winning.
Let’s start with that great resume of yours. More pages the better! Hiring managers love the five-page resume because they have so much extra time on their hands to read through all those bullets. Besides, the magnitude of your experience could never be summarized in one or two pages.
The next step is to blast your resume out to as many job postings as possible (Really, no one else is taking this approach). Maintain your focus as a job seeker, and not as a problem solver. Employers prefer to meet with people who appear desperate for jobs rather than with people who are eager to address their organizations’ needs.
Once your resume gets broadcast on job boards, LinkedIn, and Twitter, third party recruiters will definitely be in touch. They all work feverishly to earn a commission on your placement.
Avoid the sincere and seasoned recruiters (with the placement results to prove it) who actually have a direct relationship with the hiring manager. These are the same recruiters who will follow up with you when they say they will, and who only present candidates who are fit for their client (stay away from them if you want a job!). Instead, use multiple recruiters you don’t know to apply for the same job at a single client. This will endear you to the hiring manager and demonstrate how committed you are to getting the job.
Do not attempt to use your network to schedule informal discussions with decision makers at the organizations for which you are interested. Nobody drinks coffee these days so an informational interview one morning would be of no interest. Steer clear of career support groups that simply use the internet to meet up in person. This type of activity will unfortunately hold you accountable every week to getting hired.
Once you have formal or informal interviews falling into place, there is no need to do any more work. Walk into every interview completely unprepared. Better yet, treat it like a closed book exam. You are simply demonstrating how you would approach working there. Use that ragged old padfolio from your junior year class project to hold an extra copy of your resume and work examples. No need to bring in any notes because, good news, you did not do any research on the organization.
The interview should really be all about you and what the position will bring to your life. Therefore, it is important to focus only on your own needs and what the organization will be able to offer you during the interview. Don’t waste your time attempting to problem solve for the company during the interview, after all, you don’t know a thing about its corporate culture, the challenges of the business, sources of revenues, or business model. While you probably had ample time to look up all that information on the internet prior to the interview, why would you? There will be plenty of time for you to learn all of that after you’re on the payroll.
During the interview, you will likely be asked to talk about your experience and accomplishments and how they have prepared you for the position for which you are interested. You could have documented your own success stories and practiced delivering them in a succinct and meaningful manner for weeks prior to your next interview, but I am sure you had more critical work to do on Facebook editing your status. Instead, feel free to steer the conversation toward your lousy former boss, latest personal problem, or a controversial political gripe. This way, the interviewer gets a taste of the real you – not just the achievements on your resume.
It is important to use as much meaningless jargon as possible during the interview, so as to appear to be extremely articulate. Don’t give short, simple answers – give as much detail as possible, no matter how irrelevant. The more YOU talk, the less work it is for the interviewer, and the more intelligent you appear! Don’t hesitate to interrupt during questions, for example, “I can see where you’re going with that thought, Bob, and here’s what I know….” It will also give the hiring manager the opportunity to check his Blackberry messages while you keep talking.
Eliminate wishy washy words like “think” from your interview vocabulary. You should appear supremely confident, even arrogant. Remember – your attitude and demeanor should always communicate the wonder of YOU, leaving no room for doubt in anyone’s mind! If the interviewer seems annoyed by this, don’t take it personally, after all, they are probably threatened by your obvious superiority.
When asked if you have any questions for the hiring manager, don’t bother asking any questions about the organization’s needs. Instead, ask questions about the company’s benefits, your expected salary, and the size of your new office. In fact, be sure to state your salary demands even before an offer is made. That way, you can jump ahead to getting everything you want.
Being too polite during the interview is another strategy to avoid. For example, opening doors, greeting people warmly, and remembering everyone’s names just makes you look like a brownnoser.
Finally, sending a thank you note after the interview is overkill. It has been reported that only five percent of job seekers do so, and the last thing you want to do is stand out.
Keep up the great work!
Brent Peterson is the founder of Interview Angel (www.interviewangel.com), the most comprehensive guide to executing near flawless job interviews.
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