IT Employment

The 10 best ways to handle a job interview

Given the current economy, maintaining contacts with other companies can be critical. Knowing the right people can help you land a better job, one with more pay or perhaps the chance of advancement. But getting that next job often involves an interview. Calvin Sun put together this list of practical interview pointers to help you excel.

Given the current economy, maintaining contacts with other companies can be critical. Knowing the right people can help you land a better job, one with more pay or perhaps the chance of advancement. Getting that next job, of course, often involves an interview. Here are some tips to help you excel.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: Be on time

Give yourself enough time to reach your destination, especially if you're unfamiliar with the area. You will have enough stress with respect to the actual interview. Don't add to it by complicating your travel to there. Consider a dry run prior to interview day, especially if you're driving. Remember that mapping and navigational services could take you (as they did me) through an empty field or the wrong way on a one-way street.

Don't get there too early, either. Doing so makes you look as though you have no other job and could hurt you later during salary negotiations. Plan to arrive between 10 to 20 minutes before your time. If you really do get there on the early side, consider joking with the receptionist or your interviewer about your surprise or "anger" over the lack of traffic. Then get serious and say that all you need is a place to sit down, because you have work you can do while you wait.

#2: Occupy yourself while waiting

Do bring work with you, so you can do it. There's always another e-mail or memo to write, or a chance to review your to-do list or project plan. You even could start on the thank-you note to your interviewer(s). (See below.)

Whatever you do, don't look up every time someone passes by. Doing so makes you look weak and anxious.

#3: Research the company

Don't worry if people call you a creeper or a stalker because you're researching the company. My daughters call me that all the time, but I don't let it stop me. Take time to find out about challenges and problems that company is facing. The simplest method is simply to do a Google search. If the company is publicly traded, you can get additional information from financial sites, such as finance.yahoo.com or money.com.

#4: Dress the part

When in doubt, dress more conservatively than less. However, don't go too far, even on the "up" side, because your interviewer might think you are out of touch. The best approach is to find out how people (in particular, the people one level above you) dress, and to follow accordingly.

If dressing that way is noticeably different from how you and your current co-workers dress, you might have a problem. Dressing differently the day of your interview might telegraph your intentions to others, something you may or may not want. If it's the latter, consider leaving your interview clothing in your car or some other area. If you're a male, maybe you can appear at your current job without a tie, then put one on, along with a sport jacket, when you go for your interview.

#5: Tie your answers to issues the company/interviewer is facing

Once you have background information on the company and any problems it's facing, try to tie that information to work you've done. If you can come up with solutions based on work you've already done, you may make a great impression. You will have shown resourcefulness and initiative in doing research, then demonstrated the value you can bring to the company.

Whenever you can, quantify your accomplishments. Don't just say, "I wrote a program that streamlined our inventory process." Say, if you can, "My program increased inventory turnover by 15%."

#6: Be courteous to support staff

A measure of a person's character, it is said, is the way that person treats those who have no effect on the person's future. It's easy to be courteous and respectful to the interviewer or the interviewer's boss. What about that receptionist, or assistant, or server (if your interview occurs at a restaurant)? Treating them with equal courtesy speaks well of you, and in fact could be something the company is observing. Disagree with me if you want, but acting like a boor to support staff could hurt your chances.

#7: Be energetic but not desperate

There's a fine line between being energetic and being desperate. Show that you're interested in the job, but don't be so interested that the interviewer thinks that this interview is your only one -- even if it is. On the other hand, being "coy" can be a good approach, because if the interviewer likes you, he or she might do more to attract you to that company. However, being too coy might come across as aloofness and turn off the interviewer.

The best approach is to have a restrained enthusiasm. Even better, take your cues from the interviewer. If that person is quiet and reserved, you might want to adopt if you can that demeanor. If he or she is more outgoing, you could consider emulating that manner.

#8: Don't badmouth current/former employer

Speaking ill of a former employer, no matter how bad your relationship, could come back to haunt you. Even if the interviewer asks you what you disliked about your former boss, refuse to take the bait. You can speak about things you learned, even if the context is different from what the interviewer might be thinking.

Let's say your former boss publicly humiliated subordinates, and that his doing so damaged morale. You could say, for example, "I learned a lot from my former boss about how to motivate people." Did your boss often fail to keep commitments? You could say, "I learned from my boss about the importance of keeping commitments, because breaking them hurts a project and damages one's reputation."

#9: Be clear on the next step(s)

Before you leave, get a sense of what will happen next. Will they make a decision? If so, when? Will they ask you to return for more interviews? Who should call whom? By knowing this information, you can get an idea of what to expect and can prepare accordingly.

#10: Send a thank-you note afterward

After the interview, take the time and send a "real" (not electronic) note to your interviewer. I know it's means more time, expense and trouble than an e-mail, but sending a note can make you stand out from any competition you might have. In that note, re-emphasize the points you made, plus any others that might have occurred since that time.


About

Calvin Sun is an attorney who writes about technology and legal issues for TechRepublic.

97 comments
timothy.lagerstrom
timothy.lagerstrom

Keep in mind, look how the interviewer treats the support staff as well.

draygyn_ladee
draygyn_ladee

When asked by the employer if you do drugs, answer their question with one of your own... "Is it required?!"

sheltondoutherd
sheltondoutherd

you be surprise on how many people fail to realize that the interview starts as soon as you walk through the company's doors. Firsthand, Ive seen my old boss go up to the Receptionist and asked what was the interviewee doing while waiting on being interviewed and / or how did she feel about the interviewee as a person. People fail to realize this so much. Ive seen people come in and be mean to the receptionist and then put on the "air" for the interviewers. Then are vexed on why they didnt get the job. never occured to them that the receptionist could've walkedin after you walk out and stated how mean you were to her. Just a thought.

telljeet
telljeet

Thank you note? This is surprising..

highlander718
highlander718

I thought it's only Toni Bowers who gives these "don't forget to breathe" typem of suggestions around here. Really, most of these are on every wall in every consulting agency and every book or site concerned with the matter. Of course you have to be in time, of course you have to dress up, of course you have to be polite .... The bad part is that the suggestions that are not that obvious, are at least controversial to say the least. As others posted here, working while you wait, sending a thank you letter might not be at all the smartest thing to do ...

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Besides the obvious, I think some of these tips are more detrimental than helpful in North America. Rapport, punctuality, and research go without saying. But be careful with research, there ARE websites that specialize in offering information on hiring companies. They tell yuo what they are seeking, what buzz words they like etc. BUT, recruiters and nwo many companies are onto this and actually use it as a way to weed out fakers who think that they have the upper hand. They PLANT buzz words to objectives that will tell them right away if you are cheating. I always research a company, but I also NEVER use job boardsm Nonster etc. I seek out companies that I want to work for and make a proposal based onr esearch and my determination oof their needs, a very effective way of controlling your salary and always getting paid more than a company that advertises a position. Just don't get sucked in. Having taught many people how to start a career, operated a job club for the government and having worked as a BDM for a recruiting company, these are the worst tips I have yet to read. If anything it would be a list of what NOT to do in a job interview, again besides the obvious ones. The tip of looking busy while waiting in the office is HORRIBLE! To start sending email, writing reports etc. is the rudest and most unprofessional thing you can do in someone's office, yet alone a potential employer! I couldn't imagine being in the middle of an email and then the receptionist telling me I can go in, only to have to close down or save an email in progress first. That's the most incredibly stupid thing to do in an interview, you are NOT prepared, even taking even 30 seconds to pack up and enter the interview room is aboslutely terrible form. And where is the comment to SMILE. So many people are thinking too hard to actually smile when in an interview, look the person in the eyes and SMILE! Prectice in the mirror, THAT'S a worthy tip that most people don't do but it is VERY effective. Answer with VOICE INFLECTION, raising or lowering your voice to offer enthusiasm. MIRROR the interviewer, if he/she is loud and brash, be a little bolder, if he/she is meek and quiet, be a little quieter than normal or a little more soft spoken. When in an interview, they don't care about your certs and background, they already read that and that's why you were called in. The concept is to find out if you FIT the team, be personable and friendly, not starched and cold. Again, that one really bugged me: When waiting, instead of pretending to be important or too busy to give a damn where you are, ask the receptionist about her plants, chat with staff as they wander about with a coffee or have a laugh with stray employees that are just 'around'. Be observant and discuss something of interest ot others in the office don't isolate yoruself. I cam just see walkign out to meet my potential employee only to find him typing away and nto lookign up at anyone. I'd let you continue to rudely type as I saw the next in line instead. I have had quite a few successes because when the owner walks out to meet me, I am having a laugh with a sales rep or the secretary. FIT THE TEAM and pretend you already work there, offer soem help if the receptionist is fussing over the computer, there are a lot of ways in teh door if you have you head up and not rudely buried in your work. That's just 100% rude and blatantly ignorant. Sorry Mr. Sun, but that has to be the worst 10 list I've read and definitely not one that is proven to work in very many places I've ever seen. I just hope that people don't actually see and use these tips when seeking thier new career, it will take them a long time indeed.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

#11 Shake hands properly if you can't shake hands, ffs learn. Don't try and crush their fingers or rip their arm off though. Well not unless they try do it to you first. :d #12. Interview them while they are interviewing you. Remember, you have the valuable skills they need, all they have is a desk and some money, loads of people have got that. 10 is iffy, can't imagine it having the desired effect in the UK.

steve.hards
steve.hards

The game changes if they ask you to prepare a presentation to give at an interview. In that case you may find this useful: http://www.interviewpanic.com [I declare an interest - it is one of my sites.]

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

All too often, people go into an interview with the wrong mindset. They go into an interview trying to get something...in this case, a job. What they should be doing is going into the interview to negotiate a business transaction. What you're doing, in essence, is trying to barter your skills and talents in consideration of what the company will offer to pay and give in benefits. Going into an interview with a 'win-win' mentality can make all the difference in how one is viewed during the course of the exchange.

timjgreen2
timjgreen2

Surely sending a thank-you note will send out precisely the needy message that as an interviewee I would be trying hard to avoid?

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

That reminds me of a slide I use in classes I teach on communications. Yes, some of the material is obvious. However, we overlook the obvious. The classic case is United Airlines flight 255, which crashed shortly after takeoff from Detroit/Wayne County Airport in 1987. An analysis of the cockpit voice recorded showed no indication that the pilots, in doing their pre-flight check, addressed the position of the wing flaps. If those flaps were in the wrong position (I think they're supposed to be extended at takeoff?) it would have caused the crash. The point is that checking the wing flaps is a standard "obvious" step, but here it well could have been overlooked. Sometime unfortunately we do forget the obvious.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Hi, I do see some merit in what you said. Instead of giving a blanket recommendation to automatically start working while waiting, I should have said "Be prepared to wait, and consider bringing something to do in the meantime." That doesn't mean you MUST work while waiting, but it does mean you're prepared. Suppose the interviewer is an hour late. What then? Is anyone going to be upset if you then take out your work? So I agree that automatically going to work is bad. On the other hand, it's good to be prepared. Thanks.

Shellbot
Shellbot

I agree with Oz.. no friggin way... I as told years ago to use the 10 min wait to go over your CV, and have a last minute think to see if you've forgotton to note something important. Many times I have though "doh..that 1 project i was on..didn't think to make myself a note about that in case it comes up" Again, more advice I recieved: After that is done, if there is a newspaper there, read it. Not the gossip pages..the news and business section. I've had interviews where on "the walk" to the interview room I've been asked "Wow that was some . Did you see the figures on it?" To which I could say "I gave it a quick skim, it looks like is really doing good/bad etc" If I walked out and someone was on thier crackberry, or texting, or on a laptop.. I'd make a very quick desision to make the interview quick and not offer them the position..why? Cause it would annoy me. If i've got to work with you and thats how you act before you've even met me (while you should be on "impress mode" then I would wonder how you would act once you actually got the job. I don't like annoying people..don't care how smart/good/fancy you are..you annoy me i don't want to be around you.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

lol you've got me thinking, and I appreciate it. Do we agree that the following is the least-preferred approach: - candidate comes in - announces self - sits on chair in lobby and does nothing I agree that having some preliminary conversation is good (but not too much). I maintain, though, that if one has to wait awhile (suppose the interview starts late?), then bringing something to do shows preparation. After all, if one spends time wisely as a job candidate, then we hope that person would do the same as an employer. New thought: what if, in this case, one asked the receptionist for a "two minute warning"? i.e. have someone let you know just before your meeting starts, so that you have time to shut things down. You're right, a computer MIGHT be unwieldly, but I'm struggling to understand why entering stuff in a Blackberry or a paper tablet would be an issue.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Hi, read it again. I talk about being courteous to support staff, particularly the receptionist. I could take your points, in fact, and argue that in chatting too much with the receptionist, you're taking away from her productivity. What's wrong with greeting the receptionist, making the initial "small talk," then sitting down and doing at least some of one's own work? Why does "being nice/making small talk" have to be mutually exclusive with "taking care of one's own to dos"? Go back and look at my statement about occupying onseself. I never talk about "looking" busy, I talk about getting something done while one is waiting. Where, in that point, do I mention PCs? What's so difficult about saving a note on a Blackberry and putting it away (though you're right, I should have been clearer on this point). Even so, if my appointment is at 9:30, and it's currently 9:20 and I'm doing something (even working on a computer), why should the interviewer be upset if I ask for a moment to shut things down? Yes, if I fail to keep track of time, so that shutting things down takes ten minutes, and the 9:30 meeting starts at 9:40, then yes I agree that it's a problem. But that wasn't what I was talking about.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

What's the deal with that? How hard is it to FIRMLY grip a hand??? Bah...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

and discuss. Questions can be very revealing, the more you get that you can prepare in advance for the better.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

You are not asking for employment, you are seeing if you can sell your skillset. This is why SO many people fail by sending out resumes on Monster or through the newspaper, it shows no skill at all and you are selling nothing. Who wants to buy that? Create a value in YOU, convince teh employer that he/she needs YOUR skills and that YOU bring things to the table that others don't. An interview should be about you, once you assure them that you are worth, qualify THEM as an employer, ask questions-lots of them. Then you have assured them of thier investment and you can negotiate salary, they will forget about some blanket offer and start offering you what you are actually worth.

sheltondoutherd
sheltondoutherd

IMHO sending a thank you note to a job is a waste of time. However, I still do it. Why? Because you're sending a message to that company that you are intrested and would love to work for that company. In fact you took the time out of your hectic schedule to spend your own money to send them a thank you card even knowing it won't change the outcome of you getting hired or not. With that said, I've heard stories of peoples getting hired or even acknowledge for sending in thank you cards. I do not send ALL my interviewing companies a card, but I do send the ones that I am most interested in.

Jcritch
Jcritch

In today's market, I will inteview 10 very qualified people. A thank you note shows you are interested in working with me. If you gleem a specific need I have mentioned, remind me how your membership to my team will help me resolve this issue. Keep in mind the interview process could last weeks, you need to stay fresh in my mind. A thank you note is just another chance to stay on top of the list. I usually interview candidates based on resume information. The weakest first, strongest last. That thank you note could be the difference.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

If you say that sending a thank you note betrays your "neediness," then I will argue that going on the interview itself is also a betrayal of "neediness." If you respond that going on the interview is NOT neediness, then I will argue that neither is the sending of the note. We can't have it both ways i.e. that the note is needy and the interview isn't.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

...going on the interview in the first place? In other words, your concern seems to be that by sending the note, we signal that we're "needy." But if we weren't needy, we wouldn't have gone on the interview in the first place, right? How can we have it both ways, i.e. we're needy for the job but not needy in sending the note or vice versa? What's the old joke about getting a loan? The only way to do so is to show that you don't need it?

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

lol I'm still struggling here, but perhaps your point is that by taking the time to write a note, it shows we're not that busy (?). In other words, if we're really in high demand, then we're always in interviews, and therefore don't have time to write? Therefore, if we take time to write, then we can't be that much in demand? Am I "warm"? lol

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Sorry, I'm lost here. I've just had five pieces of pecan pie, and my host offers me another. I'm full, so I refuse, and I say "but thanks anyway." I'm thanking the host even though I have NO desire for more pie. How does thanking someone for meeting with me indicate neediness on my part?

lin2k4
lin2k4

All college career centers I've used recommend sending a thank-you note. Is this considered tacky only in the IT field?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Would I send a thank you letter to a potential empoyer, definitely NOT, NOW WAY, NO HOW!! I will always send a follow up, inviting further questions or answering any unanswered questions or concerns a couple of days after the interview and open it with "Thank you for your taking the time to meet with me..." but I most definitely wouldn't send a thank you letter as a follow up. As a hiring manager, a thank you letter would get laughed at, pinned on the staff room bulletin board along with the daily comic strip and I'd hire someone else, unless the Thanker was the perfect candidate. Thats just sad and pathetic. Are you supposed ot get the interviewers birth date and send a card each year too? As mentioned above, must be an American thing, like sending out a card for every occasion you can dream up, but it doesn't fly anywhere else I've been. The employer should be thanking me for considering his/her company as an employer and for taking my time to go and see them. When they shake hands and thank me for coming in, that's where it ends. A follow up letter to remind them you were there is fine but I am nto about to grovel and suck up for a j.o.b.

Shellbot
Shellbot

My best tip is to relax, and look at it as you checking out the job to see if you'd want it or would want to work at the company.. Oh and honesty. If you are honest with your experience and replies, then you've nothing to hide and no nervousness at trying to "hide" things... I interviewed last week, and had no problem saying "yes i have worked with this, but its been a while..i'm rusty" and "no, i've never seen or heard of that application". I take this approach with every interview I do, and its worked so far.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Pretty sure it would go down like a lead balloon over here.

RFink
RFink

A thank you note is a polite way of following up without seeming pushy. Plus most interviewers like the fact you went to the trouble of sending them one.

RFink
RFink

I'll never forget the picture of the airplane landing on Middlebelt Road and killing some guy driving his truck. Poor guy, the last thing he saw was an airplane filling up his rear view mirror.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

It just occurred to me that I should have been more explicit on this point of arriving early. Thinking about it more, I should make a distinction between getting there say 45 minutes early (because you expected the Beltway to be its usual parking lot, but surprisingly it was a ghost town instead), and say 10 minutes early. In the latter case, just go to the office, introduce yourself to receptionist and follow the advice of Oz_media, i.e. establish rapport, engage in conversation etc. In the former case, if you really have lots of time, the best thing is to go to a neutral location (park bench, Starbucks etc.) and if you're going to do work, do it there. Then, when it's about ten minutes prior to your time, head on up. This way, one avoids the whole issue or waiting too long in the waiting area. Lol it's like the quarterback who does the quick snap count or who releases the ball quickly after the snap. The longer the offensive linemen hold their position, or the longer they have to block, the greater the chances they'll incur a penaly. Thanks for making me think more, and for making me coming up with this analogy. (but did I offend you by thanking you lol?)

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

...i.e. has telescopic vision, how does she or he distinguish between your CV and a work related document? From your previous post, it sounds like if you, as the interviewer, walked out and the candidate was e.g. reviewing a project plan, that person is "out" as far as being considered (?) However, if you walked out and the candidate instead was reviewing a CV, that would be OK (?) Unless the interviewer has Super[wo]man vision, how does that person tell the difference?

highlander718
highlander718

So than the secretary will have to ask the interviewer for a 2 minute warning, else how would she now ? I think this is getting worse :-)

highlander718
highlander718

Sorry, I cannot agree with the "working while you wait for an interview" concept. It looks all pretentious to me.

Shellbot
Shellbot

even worse if the limpness is accompanied by cold, clammy skin... ok..my skin is always cold on my hands..but my handshake is not limp..

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Unfortunately, with troubled economic times (saw it after the dot bomb, seeing it again now), people fall back into the 'please sir, may I have another' role even more so than usual. Had an interview with someone a couple months back; I was more inclined to offer him the phone number to a food pantry than the job with the way he carried himself. Another candidate came in, similar skill set , similar situation, but was fully gregarious and portrayed confidence that didn't cross into cockiness. That was what I was looking for, and that is what got the position.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

The interview should be about me, but it's not all about me. I have to relate my skills and experience to specific issues and objectives the prospective employer is facing. If all I focus on is me, and I show no understanding of the employer situation, I risk looking like a narcissistic jerk.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

So basically what you are saying is because you are in the boss seat, us subordinates types should acknowledge your inherrent power and majesty? Put yourself on the list of people who should not waste my time please. By the way it's glean, and the the usual context for that word, indicates identifying something of minimal value after all the good stuff has been carted off, by those who first arrived.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

a note, never got one without an interview though.... Well lets see now. You need someone to do something , I need some money. So how many other available candidates, how much do you need it doing, how many other things could I do instead. Now tell me about need again.... You never let the seller know how much you need their goods, and you never let the buyer know how much you need their money. You see some techs do understand business.....

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Lol thanks, I was beginning to question my sanity. I can't believe how much flak I've been getting for suggesting a thank you note lol. I feel like the Henry Fonda juror in the classic movie "12 Angry Men." That's the movie where 11 jurors are voting to convict a young man of murder, but one believes he's innocent. I won't give the movie away, but you can guess what that one juror does over the course of the movie. Could a thank you note be taken wrong, and subject the sender to ridicule? I guess it could happen. HOwever, as I said to another poster, if I don't get a job from a company because I sent them a thank you note, maybe that's not the kind of company I would be happy working for anyway lol. Thanks.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Hi, me again. You've got me on a roll lol. Are you against thank you notes per se, or only against thank you notes that you consider "sucking up" or insincere? Thanks.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Thanks for making me think about this matter. Here's what I came up with: - Yes, I can see that in some cases, a thank you letter would be taken negatively by the recipient. - Speaking for myself only: if my sending a thank you letter to a prospective employer caused that employer not to want to hire me, then (and I know this sounds like sour grapes lol) maybe that's not the kind of employer I'd want to work for anyway. What do you think? Lol May I thank you for posting the previous post?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

for turning up. If you got an offer after you did that, I guarantee it won't be the best one you could have got. Might as well offer them money or a blowjob, at least they might value that.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Do you think, instead of or in addition to a geographical thing (U.S. vs. elsewhere regarding the thank you note) that it also could be generational thing (boomers vs. X vs. Y)?

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Who sends thank you letters? That's gotta be an East Coast thing. On the West Coast if you sent a thank you letter, you've be laughed out of a job. It makes you look needy and kinda creepy....

Shellbot
Shellbot

Same here..I'm pretty sure it would be a sign of desperation here. Recruitment agents handle most of the stuff here (well for IT anyways) and they do all the contacting and feedback. Different everywere I guess, but form my experience even a follow up phone call is looked upon as as annoyance..good wy to NOT get the job here

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

...who think this way? Have you been seeing all the flak I've been taking regarding the sending of a thank-you lol? Thanks.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

It sure as hell wouldn't go down well in Canada either. In the US I find a lot of standard customs are pushed to the verge of being tacky, such as this. What's wrong with a professional follow up letter/email, thanking them for thier time but with a general focus on comfirming when the hiring decision is being made and (if need be) offering a little more information you may have missed or wish to reiterate? "I look forward to speaking with you again soon." Basically tells them you still want the job and are confident you will be hearing from them soon. In my line of work, no matter what industry I have been working in, confidence and follow up is imperative, moreso than education or certs, but a thank you letter will sink like a lead fart.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Yup, I'm with you on this one. Just don't end up wearing that mocha frappucino on your shirt. Thanks.

Shellbot
Shellbot

I presumed 10-15 mins is what you meant :) I've often arrived 25 mins early. In that case, find a coffee shop..,whatever and do whatever ye want.. in cases where i've arrived really early and there's nothng around the place (middle of no where..) i've walked a bit to relax.. i don't drive, but surely one could sit in thier car?

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Hi, thanks. If you're saying you're irritated by people who take calls or send text or check Blackberries DURING AN INTERVIEW, I'm 100% with you, and I will join you as part of the firing squad lol. I was talking about occupying oneself prior to the interview. Since that time, if you saw my previous post, I'm thinking I should have been clearer in what I said, in fact recommend that if you're REALLY early, go to a "neutral" location like a Starbucks. That way, one can work at whatever, with less danger of making a bad impression (unless of course the interviewer is there and sees you). Thanks.

Shellbot
Shellbot

Personally I take a professional looking notebook to interviews with me. Inside that I have my confirmation email for the interview, and 4 copies of my cv. One for me, and 3 extras..(yes 3.. I interviewed last Friday and despite me sending the recruiter my CV, she furnished the client with a CV which was 2 years old. thankfully i had copies!!) So I sit there, with my notebook and check out my cv, review the questions i may wish to ask them, and notes I have taken about the company. Now, if I walk out and someones writing in a notebook, or looking something in it, no problem..how am i to know its a cv or project plan? if you choose to spend your time working on other things so be it.. What I object to is someone on thier cell/mobile/crackberry texting/emailing/browsing the web..and if they are on the laptop..same thing.. if you can't put your technology away for 5 minutes then whatever. I've also had soemones phone ring during an interview..wrong thing to let happen in my presense. I take that as a sign of disrespect. I make the assumption (maybe wrongly) that people do not take thier cv to an interview on a laptop..i mean really... And if I did notice they were reviewing thier CV or notes they had taken, fair enough..shows me they are putting some time and effort into the process. I've interviewed people who didn't have a clue what they had on thier cv..shame they didn't spend 5 mnutes going through it while they were waiting on me :(

highlander718
highlander718

you are putting many new elements out there. Don't know about you, but I only remember 1 interview in my whole life when the interviewer was late more than 5 minutes. And yes, I do have a concern that my interviewer might think I am pretentious even if I know I'm not.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Hi, So, are you more concerned about what others think than doing what you think is best for yourself? In other words, is the idea of working while waiting inherently pretentious? I'm not denying that some people do so out of pretentiousness. But why should that deter one from doing it legimitately? See my other post. How do you know the interview will start on time? What if the receptionist says "sorry Mr. Sun, but your interviewer is running 20 minutes late." What do you do then? Do you continue to sit, so as not to look pretentious?

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Trust me, lack of appreciation/humility (hence, no cockiness) is right behind desperation as a reason I'd choose not to bring someone on board. Like I said in my first post, it should be more of a business transaction along the lines of a merger or barter, where there is an equal exchange, more so than a sell job (where there is usually some level of unevenness in the deal). I guess it boils down to: be the person in the interview that you would want to deal with if you were making a large investment (stocks, house, car). Do you go with someone begging for your business, or someone that is going to give you good value? Put another way, chin up, confident posture, firm handshake (wet noodle handshakes are another no-no in my book, I don't need a vice grip, but limp shakes tell me you'd rather not have anything to do with me), and good smile! That is probably 50% of the interview right there. :)

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Think about what's involved when you, as an employee of a company, interview someone. Generally, you have to - take time out of your day - review a resume, or multiple resumes - coordinate people's schedules, if you have multiple interviewers - actually interview the person - debrief afterwards - make a recommendation It all takes time, doesn't it? So, what's wrong with an interviewee that says, "thanks for taking the time to interview me," or (if that doesn't sound right to you) "I appreciate your efforts in this interview."? No one is saying to be like Oliver Twist (lol) "please sir may I have more porridge?" lol. I'm not saying to say "Thank you so much, this is the only interview I've had in six months, and my family is one week from the poorhouse." All I'm saying is just to take a second to acknowledge what the company has done, but not to belabor the point. In other words, being confident (without being cocky) and expressing appreciation are not mutually exclusive.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

of tugged forelocks and doffed caps. As though somehow an employer is doing a candidate a really big favour by even considering a candidate for a position. So if 'you' show no understanding of an employees situation, you are being a narcissistic jerk.....

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

I've been struggling to understand your view that sending a thank you note indicates neediness. Maybe I've found the answer. Does your reasoning follow this pattern? - needy job seekers send thank you notes - "Joe Brown" sends a thank note - therefore, "Joe Brown" is a needy job seeker

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Thank yous after an interview make sense. However, sending a note just seems creepy and desperate. That's not to say you shouldn't follow up, but a thank you note is acting like the company gave you a great gift just for interviewing you, which is beyond backwards.

Cactus Pete
Cactus Pete

First of all, the couple should be sending the notes... Not just the bride. With that solved, let us determine what added value a written note sends as opposed to not sending one - the written note, if it solely reiterates what was said before is a nuisance and smacks of kissing up. It also reflects on the "this is the 'school' version of what to do" mentality that, frankly, I try to avoid. I'm not looking for the mindset of an accountant (no offense, anyone), I am looking for a problem solver and cognitive thinker. I will certainly concede that a note following the interview can be appropriate, and that a mention of thanks should be included, but I find the appropriateness to be rare. Something would have to have been overlooked, or a subject no fully fleshed in the allotted time during the interview to warrant this for me. Had this been created due to an oversight of some sort, the candidate would need to be very creative and capable to phrase the note well. Were it the latter, and it was just sent to finish off a highly important subject that was cut off somehow, I would appreciate a concise letter to fill me in. Other than that, a thank you for the sake of a thank you is passe, cliche, and a waste of my time which you claim to hold dear and important, but practice otherwise.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

I'm talking about going from sending 0 notes to sending 1 note. That's a big difference. Yes, if I sent a note, then afterwards sent five more, it would be silly and creepy, and probably would betray the "desperation" that tony hopkinson (?) mentioned. And yes, there is a difference between the verbal thanks and the written thanks. They are two separate and distinct ideas. The bride and groom may verbally thank guests on the wedding day, but then the bride is supposed to follow up with a note. If she sends me five thank you notes, then I agree that's strange. But one note is certainly appropriate, for both a wedding gift and for an interview.

Cactus Pete
Cactus Pete

You get the point? You should have said "thank you for the opportunity to meet with you" or something like that when you met. Then, at the end of the interview, something like "Thank you, this has been a wonderful interview" (unless it wasn't). Another thanks just seems silly.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

I'd be interested in your thoughts as well. Thanks.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

...when you finish your interview: should you say good-bye? should you say thank-you in person to the interviewer(s)? - if you're the owner of a restaurant, and a group of guests has just finished a meal and are leaving, is it wrong to say "thank you" to them as they're leaving? It seems that in your view, doing so is pointless (?) because it's a part of doing business. - if you, as a business person, learn that you've gained a new client, or that you've gained a new piece of business from an existing client, is it wrong/pointless to say thank you to that client? Going back to the original scenario: I talked about sending a thank you letter. What variations if any are acceptable to you? What if it were an e-mail? What if it were a phone call or voicemail? Are these alternatives equally pointless?

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Why send a thank you for something that is part of doing business?

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

People have altered their schedules and have taken time to meet with me. What's wrong with thanking them for that? Short, simple, to the point. As I've said elsewhere, I can't control how people react to it. Yes, maybe they will ridicule me. If they do, and I don't get the job, maybe that's not the kind of place or the kind of people I'd be happy working at and with.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I would send a note back thanking for them for their appreciation of my effort, not for the interview. It's all about perspective. When setting up an interview who is buying and who is selling. Am I as a candiadte bidding for a job, are 'you' as an employer selling a vacancy? Your contention is that you are in the buyers seat, so I should thank you for the opportunity to sell you something. (My skills) In my opinion it's equally valid to say I'm in the buyers seat, so you should thank me for the opportunity to sell me something. (your vacancy) Perhaps we should simulaneously exchange missives, or maybe just not bother and tacitly accept that the arrangement was mutually beneficial?

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

what's wrong with taking the initiative? I'm not telling you what to do, but this idea that "well, they didn't send me a note so I'm not going to send them a note" hardly sounds professional. Sending a thank you letter has nothing to do with charity. It's simply expressing appreciation for what the other party has done. In fact, based on this previous post, it sounds like you do believe that there is a place for thank you letters. Frankly, I'm confused. At one point, you say that sending such letters is bad. At another point, you say it's OK to send a letter, but the other side has to send one first. How can both points be true?

Cactus Pete
Cactus Pete

Sooo, you as a potential employee are to thank them for doing their job, just as in the commercial? Sure, they MAY have rearranged their schedules, etc, but if they are so unorganized as to not know how to plan for hiring needs (usually you have time to schedule in advance) then perhaps there is something else wrong...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Like I said, straight after the letter to me acknowledging the fact that I'd took a day off with no pay, prepared thoroughly in my own time, travelled hundreds of miles and performed in a professional manner. You keep approaching this on the basis that an employer is doing me a favour, generously putting themself out on my behalf, if the charitable good deed of the week. I'm a twenty-seven year professional, I don't need charity. Approach me with that mindset, and I'll never work for you. Well OK, if you gave me LOTS of money, I might find it in my heart to forgive you. ONCE As I said elsewhere, promoting thankyou letters is a bad move.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

lol I don't know the product (shows how effective ad was lol) but years ago I remember a tongue in cheek ad about being rewarded for doing one's job. In one spot, the boss says to the subordinate, "Joe, you showed up for work today! I see a PARTNERSHIP for you, young man." From your posts, it sounds like you're equating the sending of a post-interview thank you note with the words of this clueless boss. If so, may I point out a key difference, as I did elsewhere: the interviewer DID have to do something, no matter how trivial, to prepare for your visit. They had to rearrange schedules, put off work they could have been doing, they had to meet with you (lol don't take that the wrong way, you seem like a good fellow, even though we disagree on this matter lol). So, the thank you expresses appreciation for THOSE matters, it's not sucking up or being Oliver Twist. Does that make sense? DOes that distinction make a difference?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

banking on blowjob, clinching the deal. You'll be doing it a lot. :D Well not you, or me for that matter. The chaps Mr Sun interviews, probably....

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Send your kneepad size along with that thank you letter.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I was brought up to be polite, and on occasion I even manage to be. The idea of promoting the sending of thankyou notes is anathema to me. The way they pick candidates now is bad enough, making a really good thankyou note part of the selection process, is not going to be an improvement. Though I suppose vetting them would give the HR types something else to accomplish apart from licking envelopes and word searching.

Mycah Mason
Mycah Mason

My philosophy is: "Do what you think is the appropriate thing to do. If it isn't received well, you probably don't want to work there." I think that too often people get too caught up in "getting a job". Of course that's what it's about, but ultimately you want to work somewhere with a philosophy similar to your own ...if you want to enjoy your job. I always send hand written Thank You letters. It is respectful to thank people for their time (their time is important) and shows that you are willing to put in the extra effort.

ApplSecurityGeek
ApplSecurityGeek

Maybe among undersocialized geeks. Out here in the land of civilization, a thank you note is a sign of common courtesy. If I fail to get a job because someone took me for a stalker because I sent thank you notes to everyone who interviewed me, it would be a blessing, because I wouldn't want to work in such an uncouth environment. Being courteous is only silly to people born in a barn, or those who spend too much time in virtual environments and not enough in the real world.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Hi, think of what's potentially involved with setting up a visit by a job candidate, if you're the interviewer: - get directions to candidate - arrange a conference room - coordinate schedules of co-workers/co-interviewers - meet and discuss afterwards, among coworkers I'm simply suggesting that in a thank you note, the candidate say he/she appreciates these efforts, and thanks the interviewer. Is the thank you note creepy "on its face" (i.e. inherently "creepy")? I don't think so. I do agree with you that it WOULD be creepy if I - knocked on the interviewer's door AT HOME to deliver the note lol - called interviewer at home I fail to see how a simply note is creepy. And as I said before, if someone ridiculed me for thanking them, that's not the kind of person I want to work with. Call me old-fashioned, but that's just the way I am lol. Thanks.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

If it's for an interview, yes. You've verbally thanked the interviewer, so why send a note other than kiss up?

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

As far as "stalker"/"creepy" goes: let's keep in mind the context. We're not sending a note out of the "blue clear sky" (apologies to country singer George Strait lol). We've already met the person, and presumably have a business card with that person's email and phone and mailing address (of course, we probably already had it to begin with, just to get to the interview). So how is it "creepy"? It's just a follow up. Is being courteous being silly?

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

...opening/holding the door open for you / delivering a printout to your cubicle / inviting you to a party at their home? Let's look at the last one. If you think about it, when you go to a company for an interview, aren't you essentially a guest? Aren't they the host? I realize it's not a party (lol maybe it turns into an inquisition lol) but nonetheless there IS that relationship, right? Furthermore, you didn't just barge into their building on a whim, right? They INVITED you to come. Given all these facts, I'm even more puzzled at the negative reaction I'm getting to the idea of giving thanks for the interview, but lol maybe that's just me.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

In my view, doing something that is "wrong" is different from doing something that is "pointless." The former actually causes harm, while the latter doesn't causes neither harm nor benefit i.e. it's neutral. With respect to sending a thank you note, which is it, because you use both terms in different posts?

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

To me it screams "STALKER!" It's creepy. I personally wouldn't send one because it's just silly and you SHOULD be made fun of for sending one. You send thank yous for gifts, not interviews (I suppose interviews are gifts now?)

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

...then (at least for me) that's probably not a place I'd want to work at. I know it sounds like sour grapes, but it's true.

Cactus Pete
Cactus Pete

If they are ridiculing you, I don't think you'll get the position.

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

Thanks. Please see my reply to Oz_media. You've raised another interesting issue, besides the one she/he did: what, in your view, is the true reason for not sending a thank you note? Is it because sending it is the wrong thing to do? Or is it because it will be received with ridicule? How do you handle the situation where doing the right thing subjects you to ridicule? Do you do it nonetheless?

Calvin T Sun
Calvin T Sun

lol, I'm winning them over one by one. Just wait and see, we'll acquit the young man lol. Seriously, thanks for your comment, I appreciate it. The "juror" reference is here: www.imdb.com/title/tt0050083/ Thanks.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

If you don't send a thank-you note after interviewing at my company, you don't get hired.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I suppose it would be a lot easier if the majority of Black folks in the U.S. had some idea of their original tribe, nation, or ancestry, like so many other people do. You're right, I'm sure a lot of black people wish the same thing. I've been able to trace my roots way back into medieval times during the acquisition wars through the UK, it's fascinating. I don't know how I would feel if all I knew was I was a descendant of a slave, bought or stolen from who knows where, with no ancestry to trace.

seanferd
seanferd

Just in my metro area, people of African origin with high skin pigmentation may wish to be described as Black, African-American, or Brothers and Sisters. I'm sure that I'm missing some of the the more high-flux nomenclature, but it always seems to be a guessing game as to which way to refer to someone when it becomes necessary to ascribe ethnicity or skin color for description. I suppose it would be a lot easier if the majority of Black folks in the U.S. had some idea of their original tribe, nation, or ancestry, like so many other people do.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

One of my good friends is from South Africa and is currently trying to immigrate into the US. So, he's white, but will he be an African-American? Is it wrong that he's white? I *KNOW* how the world sees Americans, and it's sad. I travel to New Zealand and Australia on a regular basis. It's pretty damn funny (and sad) how we're viewed because of the vocal minority. We look like jackasses because people who shouldn't be able to breed, can.... For the most part, it seems like the bulk of our problems come from east of the Mississippi...That's not to say we don't have our nut bags on the other side, but we try to keep them in check. On that note, in California, if you sent a Thank You note, I'm pretty sure you'd NEVER get a job anywhere...the IT community is pretty tight (in most areas) and you'd be laughed out of the building...

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

1940? I think the Thank you letter is new. It sounds like the same kind of overkill that being politically correct turned out to be. I have a black friend, he refers to himself as a black guy and me a white guy. But when I mention a 'black guy' around Americans it is seen as predjudiced. Not to offend you directly, but really the world sees one view of Americans...classless. Americans just don't seem to understand the difference between good and bad 'form'. In leiu of being wrong I find that they simply overkill it in all areas.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

You're dead on...A quick email to ask about where they are in the process is ok, but a thank you note? What is this, 1940?

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