I’m an optimist; some might say a hopeless optimist. I believe in the human race. I find true satisfaction from encouraging people and finding the good in who they are. My job as a recruiter affords me that opportunity every single day. I see myself as a coach and an advocate for creatives, and make it a point to help people however I can.
The following tips are not exceptional, but rather simple things that perhaps someone just never told you. You can take it or leave it, agree with me or not, but ultimately this comes from a place of honesty and wanting to help people succeed. I’ve interviewed around 400 people in the last few years, if these didn’t apply, I wouldn’t share them.
1. Smile :)
For shit-sakes, smile once in while. Yes, you’re stressed. We are all stressed. Stressed out for different reasons and in varying degrees of severity. If you’re struggling with trying to find a job, the stress of it all can feel horrible. Ultimately, it doesn’t do any good to walk around frowning and looking unapproachable. That also applies to your LinkedIn photo. I’m not saying I have to see all your choppers, but I’m not gonna lie – if your LinkedIn photo makes you look angry and pompous, it might make a hiring manager think twice about wanting to work with you on a day-to-day basis.
I like to work with people that like to laugh, have a good time, and make me forget about all that stuff I’m stressed about. So do my clients! Often when I meet with hiring managers, 90% of the time they express wanting to hire someone that is friendly and easy to be around. If you are that person, let it show!
2. Thank you.
It takes less than five minutes, yet more than half the people I interview don’t do it. Simply send a quick email to thank the person that took the time to meet with you! I don’t care if it’s a perspective manager or your childhood friend, if they took some time to meet with you, it’s just the polite thing to do. I’ve seen incredibly talented people lose the role of their dreams because they didn’t follow up. I’m not saying you won’t get hired or placed on a role if you don’t, but it always leaves a good impression.
3. Clean up your gross laptop ;)
I’m working at a coffee shop right now and my laptop looks completely smudged and dirty in the sun. BUT, if I was planning to go on an interview and show someone my awesome portfolio on it, you can bet your tiny Chihuahua I would take the time to give it a once over. This of course applies to your tablet, briefcase, phone, clothes, nails, or anything that will represent you. This is not about being judgmental or picky, this is simply about making sure you don’t let anything distract from you or your work. If your resume says you are detail oriented, make sure it’s true.
4. Don’t talk Shit.
I don’t care if in your last job you worked for the obnoxious little punk ass king from Game of Thrones, don’t bring it up in an interview. “But, I have a great story…” NO. “But, it’s totally true and he beheaded my father …” NO. “Then he made me look at his head on a spike…” NO.
Keep things positive. Always.
5. Do some research first.
Research the person you are meeting with and the company they work for. With LinkedIn there is no excuse not to have a basic understanding about the experience and background of the person you are chatting with. This of course also includes getting the spelling of the company and employees’ names correct.
A good example; I tend to look a bit younger than I am, and often that can change the way someone approaches me in a meeting. If they had taken the time to look over my LinkedIn profile, they might have found out I’ve been in the game since off-set printing ruled and clients could only afford two-color brochures. Yeah, I know Quark and how to do Paste-up. What, What! This may or may not change your opinion or approach but it never hurts to practice due diligence. Information is power.
6. Don’t make excuses.
Once upon a time I was a 28-year-old Art Director traveling the world with my company Amex, then I got canned. It happens. I love to tell myself it was because I got paid too much or because the company was going south. Those could both be true facts, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. It all led to the same thing, I got laid off. Own it and be factual about it.
I volunteered for years helping women that had a, shall we say, “checkered” past, find work. Most of them had major concerns about being asked about their felony in an interview. My advice was always for them to own it. “Yes, I have committed a felony. It was years ago, I learned from my mistake, paid my time, and now I’m moving on with my life in a new direction.” The same thing applies if you have been fired from a role or have something in your career history that is less than desirable.
7. Get a grip.
A good handshake goes a long way. If you don’t know what a good handshake feels like, look it up.
8. Treat EVERYONE with respect.
I don’t care if it’s the CEO of the company or the intern, treat everyone with the respect they deserve as a human being – not because of their title or status.
9. Know your value!
You rock! You are someone that is trying to grow, better yourself, and offer your natural talents to the world. Have fun with it!
Are you thinking, “I already knew all of this, C’mon!”
I think that’s awesome, you’re lucky someone taught you along the way. :)