Job Interviews - The 10.5 Commandments

Interviews are hard work. Are you prepared? 


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This set of commandments, except for the .5 at the end, is found in the marvelous, long time, ongoing book What Color is Your Parachute, 2017 Ed., by Richard Nelson Bolles. (It's also found in other editions, but the latest one, as of today, August 29, 2016, is currently on the market.)

  1. Go after new small organizations with twenty-five or fewer employees at first, since they create two-thirds of all new jobs. Only if you turn up nothing should you broaden the search to slightly larger organizations, those with fifty employees. Then, if that doesn't prove to be a successful strategy, organizations with one hundred employees.
  2. Hunt for places to interview using the aid of, say, eighty friends and acquaintances--because a job-hunt requires eighty pairs of eyes and ears. But first do homework on yourself so you can tell them exactly what you are looking for.
  3. As for who to interview, once you've identified a place that interests you, you really need to find out who has the power to hire you there, for the position you want, and use 'bridge-people' (those who know you and also know them) to get an introduction to that person. Employ Linkedin.com and similar, to find these people.
  4. Do thorough homework on an organization before going there, using informational interviews plus the internet to find out as much about them as you possible can. If you have a public library in town, ask there, too.
  5. Then prepare for the interview with your own agenda, your own questions and curiosities about whether or not this job fits you. This will always impress employers.
  6. If you initiated the appointment, ask for just nineteen minutes of their time; and keep to your word strictly. Watch your watch.
  7. When answering a question of theirs, talk only between twenty seconds and two minutes at any time. Try to be succinct. Don't keep rattling on, out of nervousness.
  8. Basically approach them not as a 'job beggar' but humbly as a resource person, able to produce better work for that organization than any of the people who worked in the position previously.
  9. At the end of the interviewing process, ask for the job. "Given all that we have discussed, can you offer me this job?" Salary negotiation should only happen when they have definitely said they want you. Prior to that, it's pointless.
  10. Always write a thank-you note the same evening as the interview and mail it at the latest by early next morning. This, in addition to emailing it. the tendency these days is for the job hunters to only email a thank-you note. You will stand out from the others if you do both.
Richard's Addition

10.5: The job search is often if not usually a numbers game. You may get a lot of no's before you get the best yes. Keep at it; don't give up. If you've played your cards right, prepared and rehearsed, someone out there is itching to meet you. If you don't show up because you're upset about a previous no, how can they?

Best of wishes to you in your search.

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