I had someone applying for a job at my company (let’s call her Jane) who came in with her clothes disheveled and dirty, she looked kind of tired and sleepy, her hair was not messy but the ‘punk’ style did make an impression. She was texting on her phone when I called her in for the interview.
During interviews, I like to make small talk to see a bit of the applicant’s personality come through. While most of the candidates talked about hobbies or travels, she shared a drama with an ex-boyfriend, now dating her close friend. She also confided that she didn’t care too much about the job or our company, but needed to “make some money.” Of course, I chose another applicant for the position.
Fast forward two years….
After two years of excellent service, the person I had hired was ready to move into management, and it was time to hire for the position once again. Believe it or not, I receive Jane’s resume for the job. Partly out of curiosity, I agreed to interview her to see if she’s changed her ways.
Imagine my surprise when she arrived 10 minutes early, dressed in a sharp outfit with subtle makeup and a nice hairstyle. She held not her phone this time, but a Starbucks cup, which might account for her lively and engaging demeanor.
Jane showed me she’d done her homework, asking me about details of our new expansion. She talked about her ambitions and what she wanted to do in the job, and went so far as to say that while she was excited about the sales job for which she was applying, she had further ambitions for a job in management with the company. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I hired her on the spot. Within a year she became our top salesperson and eventually became a manager.
Once she was established in her new position as manager, I asked her what happened during that two year gap. She said she had some ups and downs after our first contact, could not find a job, and out of desperation finally went to a bootcamp career motivational weekend. She confided it changed her attitude about her career and even her life.
Interviews are about being yourself, but be your best self! Dress to impress, arrive early, be professional, engaging and informed about the job you are applying for.