My Biggest Weakness is that I am Super Awesome and it Intimidates People

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September 13, 2012 by jooshanoosh

Last week, Chris told you all how to audition for a play. I realized that my sparkly tube top and metallic pants were not doing me any favors when I sang “I Dreamed a Dream” (the Susan Boyle version) and just might be why I didn’t get cast.  The post garnered lots of comments and questions. Obviously A LOT of us are auditioning for plays and failing.

So, in that same spirit, I thought I would point out something else a lot of you are failing it (and if you are not failing, your 17 year old is): Job Interviews. You see, I work in retail. And I interview a lot of 16 and 17 year olds looking for a job. And I see a lot of bad interviews. And I want to help. Also, I don’t want to sit through your crappy interview, so if you are coming to work for me, read up!

  1. Don’t seem bored during the interview. This might seem obvious. But CLEARLY it isn’t. I’m busy. I have a lot of things to do in my store. Interviewing you is not my favorite part of my day. So do me the pleasure of at least acting like you want to be there. When I ask you why you want to work for my company, don’t say because you need a job. Or because you need money. Be excited about (and know something about) my company. Go to the company web page and read about us.
  2. Outside of the interview, don’t be too enthusiastic. I know you read some other interview article that said you should call and follow up after the interview, or call a few days after you turned your application in. Or that you should send a thank you card when the interview is done. Don’t. Do. Any. Of. These. If you turned your application in and I didn’t call you, its because I looked at your application and I don’t want to hire you. No amount of moxie and gumption is going to get you the job. If I interviewed you and then never called you, it is because I didn’t like you. And PS, your thank you card didn’t change my mind. Especially if you are applying for a minimum wage or entry level job. If you don’t hear from me, I’m just not that into you. 
  3. Don’t wear sweat pants. Do I need to elaborate?
  4. If I ask you what your weakness is, really tell me what your weakness is. This is sort of trick advice. I NEVER ask this question and I think it is super lame. If you are in an interview and they ask you this first, think about if you really want to work for this d-bag. But second, if you still want to work there, actually state a weakness! Saying you are a perfectionist or that you are chronically on-time is not a weakness and just makes you look arrogant and emotionally unintelligent. Don’t tell me that your weakness is murdering children, either. Come up with an honest, true weakness and then talk about how you are working on it and how you can fix it.
  5. Don’t show up late and then insist that I am wrong. This has happened to me. More than once.
  6. I know that you can’t work on Sunday because you are Mormon and your mom won’t let you.  You don’t have to beat around the bush or say that it is because of “religious convictions”. Just say you are not available on Sunday. If I’ve got enough people to cover Sundays and that works for me, great! You might get hired. If I specifically need people with Sunday availability, then you probably won’t get the job. It’s not personal. It’s not because I hate God or want to force you to stand up for your beliefs, like some inspirational Mormon Message. It’s just business. You can’t go to the ice cream stand and tell them you can’t work in the summertime and expect to get hired. 
And here is the major one. Don’t not have a personality. The biggest secret of job interviews is that I usually know if I am going to hire you within the first 30 seconds. All your fancy amazing answers about how your biggest weakness is motivating people too much don’t really matter. I can teach you to do what I need you to do. What I can’t teach you is to be exciting and interesting and have a personality. And if I am bored, then my customers will be bored and then you’ll be bad at your job and get fired. Don’t be a goofball or a cheerleader – just be authentic, outgoing, friendly and charming. If you can do that, show up on time and wear actual pants, you will probably get the job. Remember, don’t call and ask if we have made our decision yet. If you have to call me, we have, and it’s not you. 
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