Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips
Job-hunting tips from the August 29, 2005 issue of QuintZine.
The screening interview is the first impression that rules your destiny. Here’s how to make a good one — and how to blow it (excerpted from WetFeet’s Job Hunting From A to Z: Landing the Job You Want Insider Guide).
A GOOD PROSPECT:
FORGET ABOUT IT:
All of these actions are designed to get a reaction out of the candidate so his or her real personality is exposed. How can you prepare for such tricks? You can’t. And that’s just the point. “They are trying to look beyond the obvious to really find out what is going on,” Jane Lance, a career consultant with the Phoenix office of Right Management, told The Arizona Republic. “They are looking for subtle behavior reactions. You can tell a lot about a person from how they react.”
Perhaps this is the dirtiest trick of all: Some interviewers call candidates at home posing as a telemarketer. Whether the candidate is rude or polite to the annoying telemarketer tells the interviewer how the candidate might deal with an annoying client.
Other tricks explained…
The trick: Dropping a pen, usually equidistant between the interviewer and the candidate. The reason: People who are customer-oriented will be quick to pick up the pen.
The trick: Spilling something on a candidate during a lunch or dinner meeting. The reason: The interviewer wants to see how the candidate handles such a difficult and potentially embarrassing situation. The real personality will be revealed.
The trick: Asking the candidate to drive them both to a lunch meeting. The reason: The interviewer wants to see if the candidate is a hurried and aggressive driver or a courteous and careful driver.
The trick: A last-minute change in the interview time or place. The reason: The interviewer can find out how well the candidate handles the change.
The trick: Keep a candidate waiting for as long as an hour. The reason: Does the candidate find something to occupy the time during the wait or does he or she get anxious or angry at the delay?
All of these tricks have one purpose in mind: “The intent isn’t to frustrate them or make them angry; it’s to see how they react when change happens,” Lance explained to the Republic. “They are testing the person’s behavior at the moment.”
Results in a study by HR.BLR.com were even more dramatic. The online poll asked this question: “Are you more likely to hire someone who has sent you a post-interview thank-you note?” Fully 61 percent answered either “yes” or “perhaps,” while 39 percent said either “no” or “probably not.”
With the competition for jobs so fierce these days, HR professionals are looking at more and more criteria to help them decide who has the edge. The right thank-you note can give a hiring manager additional insight on your intelligence, manners and communication skills, as well as your desire for the job.
Although most hiring managers expect to receive a thank-you note, format preferences differ. One in four hiring managers prefer to receive a thank-you note in e-mail form only; 19 percent want the e-mail followed up with a hard copy; 21 percent want a typed hard copy only, and 23 percent prefer just a handwritten note.
Twenty-six percent of hiring managers expect to have the letter in-hand two days after the interview, and 36 percent expect to have it within three to five days. Sending the letter quickly reinforces your enthusiasm for the job, and helps keep you top-of-mind for the interviewer.”
Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.com offers the following tips to make the most of your thank-you letter:
- Stick to three paragraphs. In the first paragraph, thank the interviewer for the opportunity. Use the second to sell yourself by reminding the hiring manager of your qualifications. In the third paragraph, reiterate your interest in the position.
- Fill in the blanks. Thank-you notes are a great way to add in key information you forgot in the interview, clarify any points or try to ease any reservations the interviewer might have expressed.
- Proofread carefully. Double-check to be sure your note is free from typos and grammatical errors. Don’t rely solely on your spell-checker.
- Be specific. Don’t send out a generic correspondence. Instead, tailor your note to the specific job and the relationship you have established with the hiring manager.
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