“Life is hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid.” — John Wayne
I know it must have hurt you to find out that you were not selected for the position you interviewed for with my company. I know that based partly on my own experiences looking for work, but also by the way you attempted to high-five me when the interview was over. Rest assured, the fact that you almost punched me and that I had to get my glasses adjusted (turns out they aren’t made to hit the wall that hard) had no direct bearing on you not being asked to join our team. I feel a certain sense of duty, however, and would like to see you succeed in the future. To that end, please consider my topical suggestions for improving your interview performance below.
Timeliness–I understand that unforeseen complications can arise at any place, and often at the most inopportune times, which is why I didn’t cancel the interview when you were 35 minutes late to meet with me and the rest of the interview team. Life can happen to anyone, and I was feeling a little forgiving that day. Thanking me profusely for allowing you to interview was a good start, but explaining to me how drunk you were last night probably wasn’t your best move, strategically speaking.
Clothing–I know that in several print and other media outlets it is a well-hackneyed meme to eschew the idea of wearing a suit to a job these days. Some even say that you shouldn’t wear a suit to the interview. I tend to disagree, but I do understand that now that I’m in my late 30’s I am officially an old codger from your perspective. Let me just say this, then. Showing up to the interview in a wrinkled gap shirt, a pair of what I have to imagine are extremely uncomfortable jeans, and some oddly colored shoes that may have been made out of recycled rubber boots was a regrettable choice. You can probably skip the tie if you need to, but you may want to consider a pair of good slacks, a button-up shirt, and a coat. You may be a fresh-out-of-college hipster, but some of us aren’t.
Confidence–I admire confidence in people, I think it’s a good trait. Confidence during a job interview is also a good trait, and I’m glad to see you have it in spades. You should consider tempering that confidence just a bit, however, and perhaps relegating your stories of other-worldly deeds to things you have actually done, and not just things you have heard about. Also, the phrase “back in the day” should probably not be used to describe something I remember implementing less than 10 years ago.
Questions–I have to admire the way you showed absolutely no interest in my company… none, nada, zip. It takes a remarkable amount of focus and dedication to remain that entirely disinterested in a company you, ostensibly, are interested in working for. I have a hard time hitting that level of indifference on topics as mundane as toilet paper color, so that’s something. For future interviews, however, you may want to come armed with some basic questions that show you are at least aware of the company name. Start slow, then work up to more detailed questions like:
(1) What kind of company is this?
(2) What do you make? Or sell? Or do?
(3) Will I be paid?
(4) Am I expected to wear clothes?
I do applaud you for having questions at the ready, and for asking them in a serious manner, but I do question the content a bit. For instance, the few minutes we spent discussing what it *really* means to take a random drug test, whether they’re truly random or not, and how much notice you’d be given were insightful to say the least. Your concern about background checks was also good to see, though perhaps not in the way you might have hoped. The story about your wrongful arrest was colorful, if not helpful to your cause, and was 10 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.
Salary Negotiations–Here is an area where you really shot for the moon, and that is commendable on some level. Your tenacity in maintaining your worth to my company, despite all evidence to the contrary is a model of confidence and self-worth. The fact that your last job was as a help-desk technician for the local chapter of the there-but-for-the-grace-of-God society, that you had responsibility for two computers, and that you spent the majority of your work week in what I’d charitably call the custodial industry notwithstanding, you stood your ground and demanded a six-figure salary. As a quick aside, I have to apologize again for blowing coffee out my nose at you during this discussion. I assure you it was simply a lingering illness and nothing to do with our conversation.
In closing, while you were not offered this position–or any future position, ever–I hope that my suggestions above will be taken under advisement and help you as you explore other opportunities with–and I can’t stress this enough–other companies. Oh, and the position was filled by a guy in a suit. He wasn’t as fun to interview as you were, but again, he had a suit.