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How to not get fired before you're hired

As a young adult in today’s world I’ve racked up a fair bit of experience and knowledge of what is often described as a daunting experience for some – the job interview. I’ve been pied off several times and with practise, I’ve managed to land the last 5 jobs I’ve gone for, so you could say I know what I’m talking about. Or you couldn’t, but you’d be wrong.

Let’s start with arguably the most critical aspect of your very first impression; how you’re dressed. In my experience, turning up suited and booted does the job, however it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way – so long as you stick to the dress code religiously, be it smart, smart casual, business dress, etc. Whatever it is, make sure what you’re wearing is clean, crisp (pink lady apple standards here) and fresh; no one likes a sloppily dressed person, let alone candidate. It can give the bad – and hopefully false – impression that you can’t take care of yourself and that you don’t really care about the job role, or anything for that matter. Why would they employ someone that doesn’t care for what they’re doing? I personally don’t know, but the FA might given that they employed one Mr Woy Hodgson.

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Oooft.

You also want to have ironed everything; you don’t know what they’re going to have you doing or what the temperature could be like, and if all you’ve done is half-heartedly ran an iron over the front of your shirt/blouse, idiocy really is on your doorstep. When it comes to half-hearted behaviour, you want to leave it behind in the case of your shoes; make them clean as hell (not that hell is clean, but let’s assume this is the case given that it ramps up the emphasis). I’m not even gonna go into personal hygiene; this is preparation for a  job interview, not an introduction to puberty.

Dr Albert Merhabian led a study on communication and found that 55% of it is made up of body language alone, and then the way in which someone says something makes up 38% (so we unfortunately can’t talk back when someone says ‘it’s not what you said it’s the way you said it’ – I know, it hurts me too) and the last 7% is the content of what’s being said. Having said this, I think it’s safe to say that body language is rather important; you want to walk in standing straight and holding your head high – imagine someone is pulling you up by your hair. This forces you to straighten up and projects confidence on your part. When it comes to the physical greeting, you want to give a firm handshake. Again, this shows confidence as well as respect, whereas a weak one conveys that you don’t care for nor do you realise the seriousness of the situation.

The next step is to SMILE; the quote ‘you’re never fully dressed without a smile’ from that childhood movie ‘Annie’ couldn’t be more true in this instance. It’ll light you up and, if your fellow candidates are from Croydon, make you stand out from the rest. Along with that smile you’ll want strong eye contact…maintain it as the two of you talk. Don’t stare or be so lost in their eyes that you end up hearing, and not listening to, what’s being said. Staring’s not just rude, but you get the creep sticker, too. A good rule is to release eye contact when they do, it better projects your confidence and conveys that you’re on similar wavelengths.

When communicating with your interviewer(s), ask questions and don’t hold back. There’s no rush – they’ve put aside time to interview you and I assume you’re not about to run off anywhere? Oh yeah, they will test you. They’ll ask the ‘are you prepared to…’, ‘would you be comfortable with…’ questions. Now, I will say this once and once only – IF YOU WANT THE JOB, SAY YES TO EVERYTHING! Those questions are only asked to test your mettle and weed out the weak.

There’s actually one question that, in every interview I’ve asked it, I’ve been offered the job. That question is simply, ‘could you describe to me what a day in this role would be like?’ This not only shows interest, but a healthy curiosity and that you’re serious about choosing the position as a potential career path (this only has to be conveyed, I don’t expect you to want to spend your career flower arranging). I’d also add that if you know someone in the company or industry, you should throw this in there – perhaps they could put a good word in for you? Food for thought. My Grandad was a teacher – he was both a headmaster and a deputy in his time. As far as job interviews are concerned, these are his words; ‘the job interview is where you’ll see the candidate at their best.’ You might want to bear that in mind when you just ‘don’t have time’ to brush your teeth. Aids.

So it’s the night before your fateful poorman’s edition of a police interrogation; go to bed, now – by royal command. You can’t be yawning it up in the waiting room or drifting off during the induction video (guilty, drag me away officers), as boring as both can be. To keep further sluggishness and lethargy at bay, eat a good meal beforehand – you may have an idea of what the interview will entail, but you can’t be fully certain until you walk into the office/boardroom/traphouse, so make sure you’re energised.

You want to go full goody-goody here and bring absolutely everything they’ve asked for, even if you know you won’t need all of it. Some employers barely look at your documents but honestly, its better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. If you don’t have what they need, they’ll likely start to think the same about you in relation to the position – all you need when you’ve only known them a few minutes, if that. Unless you want to end up like one of those guys who comment on girl’s Instagram photos with the ‘heart eyes’ emoji (thirsty), then bring water. Dehydration is a terrible thing at any time, let alone here; it can give you a headache, make you grumpy, hungrier and ultimately have you not wanting to be there. Imagine sitting opposite a corporate tycoon – or the manager at your local Morrison’s – and giving short answers, your face contorted with pain whilst your eyes make for their lunch; chicken and avocado, anyone?

Follow these steps and, unless you’re an idiot that’s out to prove me wrong (impossible), you’ll get that job.

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