Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Want a job? What not to say

I have been working almost as much of my life as I have been doing judo. I started judo at age 12 and got my first job at 15. Over the years, I have also hired a good number of people and fired a very few. Given the state of the economy and the fact that it is graduation a lot of people are out looking for work. Here are some things NOT to say in an interview:

I am willing to work. That's good, because that's what we are paying you to do, work. If you are not willing to work, you should not be applying for a job. In all my years of interviewing applicants, no one has ever said to me,
"I'm a lazy slacker who intends to do as little as possible while collecting a check, preferably direct deposited so I don't need to come to work even on payday."

No,if you said that, you wouldn't get the job, but I would be impressed by your honesty.

I'm a fast learner. Again, I have never had anyone apply for a job and say,
"To tell you the truth, I'm actually kind of dumb."

That might get you a second look from me, depending on what openings we had at the time. There is some work that can be done by people who are not rocket scientists but are honest and reliable, and I like those kind of people. Being married to a rocket scientist, I can tell you that they aren't so error-free as they're put out to be anyway.

Also, not getting you points from me:
"I am willing to learn"

Well, yes, that's great, as opposed to Sally Lou who I interviewed last week who said,
"I never intend to learn anything new for the rest of my life. I know it ALL moo-ha-ha-ha."

(That last part is the evil scientist laugh, in case you were wondering.)

So, what SHOULD you say if you want a job? Try these:

"I worked at my last job for three years. I am sure my supervisor, Old Fred, would tell you that I very seldom missed work or was late and almost always got my work done on time."

Almost everyone is going to think he or she is a much better than average boss. If you could put up with Old Fred for three years, reasons the interviewer, definitely you won't have a problem putting up with me.

For anyone I hire, being willing to learn new software, new skills, is critically important because the jobs usually entail a lot of different tasks and it is highly unlikely we will find anyone below retirement age who already knows everything. Saying,

"I would like this job because it will give me the opportunity to learn _________"

automatically moves you to the top of my pile regardless of what you fill in the blank, unless it's something like "how to kill my co-workers with a hatchet".

This shows you have already learned something about what our organization does and you are thinking of yourself in this position. Of course, I don't have much time to train new people, so telling me what you already learned on your old jobs both shows me you are a fast learner and that I won't have to teach you everything.

So, there are a few tips for you job-seekers. I don't have time to add any more but I am sure that will be no problem for you to discover the rest since you are willing to work, a fast learner and ready to learn new things.

1 comment:

Carlos GraƱa said...

One of the questions, I've found most annoying is. What are your reasons for wanting to work here?

I normally feel like answering,

a. Well my bills aren't going to pay themselves now are they.

b. I need the money. Money can be used in exchange for goods and services.

c. I am looking for a great opportunity to show my skills and be an asset to your company.

My protocol answer was always c.