Your footwear is wrong
Seriously. For one of my interviews, the Head-hunter warned me to make sure my shoes were nice and polished. Because the manager was “Old School” and he placed a lot of value on a man’s shoes.
So…never mind my qualifications, experience, or personality. If my shoes are scuffed, Mr. Chunder-Head will disqualify me.
An, sure enough, when I met him, that’s one of the first things he looked at. My SHOES…
Silly me. Had I known this, I wouldn’t have spent all that time getting my PhD and accumulating all that job experience. I coulda saved all that aggravation, and just bought some black Kiwi Shoe Polish.
You shake hands the wrong Way
Too weak, and you’re a wuss. Too strong, and you’re aggressive. The handshake has to be juuuuuuust right.
Jesus Christ….can someone please do an experimental study with a strain-gauge? Help us determine the optimal pounds-per-square-inch of handshake pressure to apply, to save us from the Unemployment Line.
You order the wrong food
If the interview includes a lunch or dinner, don’t order anything too expensive, or you’ll look like you’re taking advantage of them. But if you’re too frugal, you’ll look like a tool, like you’re someone that can’t fit in with the group.
Whatever you order, remember: the price has to be juuuuuuuust right.
Oh, and God Forbid, do NOT spill any food or drink on your clothes. Or you’ll blow it right there.
Interview meals (Shudder). I’d rather play with live cobras.
Not being perfectly punctual.
Obviously, being late is a big no-no. But showing up too early isn’t good either. Now you get to sit in the lobby and wait for your interviewers to arrive, while you look too eager and desperate.
Remember…your timing has to be juuuuuuuust right.
Show up exactly on time, but still get burned for it.
Happened to me once. I met my interviewers at exactly 2:00 PM at a pub. (I think it was calle The Thrusting Pig or something, but that’s besides the point). Click and Clack were still eating, and apparently weren’t’ ready for me yet.
There was an awkward moment. These two bosons almost seemed annoyed, and didn’t invite me to sit down with them. They said to give them another 10 minutes or so, and went on talking among themselves.
(What?) I was almost ready to walk out at that point. But I decided to go to the bar for a pint of beer, and waited for them to come and get me.
When they did, they seemed pissed off: How how come I didn’t’ bring my beer over and join them?
Oh yeah. That was a GREAT start to a lousy interview.
Another interviewer blows your chances, and it’s not your fault
Once a junior engineer was assigned to take me out to lunch. I just followed his lead (after all, he was part of the Interview Team). But it turns out he brought me back late, which threw the whole afternoon interview schedule off.
Some of the senior managers were visibly annoyed. The one who might have been my future boss kept glaring at me. It was obviously MY fault.
Right then and there…GAME OVER.
You don’t solve their lame-ass brainstorming question.
Picture this: a man is in a boat, in a very small pond. There’s a large anchor in the boat, which he throws overboard. This will lighten his boat and make it float higher out of the water. But the anchor will also make the water level in the pond rise slightly.
So what happens to the level of the water in the pond? Does it go up and down?
This is how my interview started. The idiot woudln’t talk to me. He just gave me pencil and paper to solve the problem, and left me alone for 15 minutes.
For THIS, I took half a day off work and drove 120 miles? To play their cat-and-mouse game of “Let’s see how we can get this guy to work under pressure” ?
F**k. Right. Off.
Needless to say, I was annoyed enough, and didn’t remember my 1st year physics enough, that I didn’t’ solve the puzzle. (Oooh, that’s probably a black mark against me!)
But at that point, I didn’t care. I had already lost considerable interest in the company.
You have the nerve to ask about your travel expenses
Good companies will pay for your gas, meals, motels, etc. They’ll even arrange for your lodgings ahead of time, and cut you a check for your gas before you arrive.
BAD companies will expect you to drive 200 miles to be interviewed, out of the goodness of your heart. And if you ask about travel expenses, you get awkward looks: the cheap bastards try to make YOU out to be the bad guy.
Hmph. Just as well. Who’d want to work for a company like that, anyway?
(By the way, this was the SAME company that gave me the anchor-boat problem).
You Interview the Anti-Christ
Have you ever had this moment: You first meet your interviewer, you make eye-contact and shake hands…and in that first split second….it’s like a jolt of bad electricity?….it feels so WRONG?
Congratulations. What you got there is the Interview Anti-Christ. It takes on different shapes and forms. But regardless, It has decided It already hates you, and you don’t’ stand a chance.
Yet It will still go through the motions, for what turns out to be the nastiest, most disastrous interview of your life.
Next time that happens, when I feel that bad chemistry, I’ll take out the Holy Water, and splash them. If they hiss as it burns them, I’ll just turn around and leave.
You have a questionable reference
This has never happened to me. But I’ve heard annectodal stories from a hiring manager. If he’s interested in a candidate, he’ll phone one of the references, and will ask them to describe so-and-so.
If the other person waivers (“…well….“) that would be enough to turn him off. He’s told me that all it takes is that SPLIT SECOND of hesitation, and he wont’ hire that person.
Hol-Lee Crap. If that’s all it takes…..wow. It’s amazing any of us ever find jobs.
Be Born after 1960
Anybody today looking for work knows how much the whole process sucks. Getting a decent job can take months of planning, networking, cold-calls..and that’s just to get an interview.
Woudln’t it have been nice to have grown up as a Baby-Boomer? No c.v.’s, no pounding the pavement.
If you wanted work, you’d just show up to the Personnel Office, fill in the job application form (in PEN), and you’d get hired on the spot, for the next 35 years, with full benefits and pension.
No advanced education needed, either. You just needed your Grade 12 to apply, and company would train you.
And yet…these same baby boomers (now retired) expect Senior Discounts at McDonalds.