Thursday, June 14, 2007

The 12 Minute Interview

A number of weeks ago I published a blog that dealt with informational interviews. There was a lot of traction on that subject, both on my blog and on others. Glad I was able to provide a “little” fodder to the blogosphere.

Now that we’ve all agreed that informational interviews will probably continue to happen, here’s a special note for all those ‘would be candidates’ conducting their information interview thing this summer. Guess what? While you are information gathering from a prospective employer, that employer has sized you up as a potential candidate in roughly 10 minutes.

That’s all it takes for an employer to form an opinion on a candidate despite the full hour you may have been allotted for an interview. A recent study conducted by Robert Half and Associates surveyed 100 senior Canadian executives who reported that it takes them just 12 minutes to form an opinion on a candidate. U.S. executives polled in a similar Robert Half study said they take just 10 minutes. That’s it! Not a full hour or weeks of deliberation. You are a “go or no-go” before you’ve even warmed the seat!

While I think the study is bang on, allow me to go one step further and add my personal five-second “employer turn-off” rule for potential employees. If you want to strike out completely with me on a job interview, it only takes about five seconds if you commit one of these infractions:

No bling-bling on the face, please! A piercing in the nose, mouth, lip or eyebrow is not only a major distraction but I won’t hear a word you say cuz I’ll be staring at that shiny thing instead. Face piercing is great if you want to work at Lee’s Palace. Remember John Candy’s Uncle Buck movie? Watch it, and then you’ll know what I mean.

Clammy hands. I’ll admit, I hate shaking hands. It’s a barbaric ritual and should be outlawed. It’s the Number One way to pass germs, but in our society we can’t avoid the handshake greeting. If your handshake is wet and wild, don’t expect a call back from me. If it’s limp and clammy to boot, that’s a complete turn-off. It’s a sign of weakness and nervousness. Bye bye.

Bad shoes mean bad karma. It’s a fact: you can tell so much about a person by their shoes. To me, tired-looking shoes signify carelessness. Quality, tidy and well-maintained shoes, on the other hand, mean you care. And if you care about yourself, I’ll be confident that you’ll take care of your clients.

Mind your table manners. If I am interviewing you over lunch or dinner, be forewarned. Don’t be rude or mean to the wait staff. Don’t add salt or pepper to your food before you taste it. Don’t smell your food on your fork (only psychopaths do that). Don’t order food not offered on the menu or make too many demands from the waiter. Why? Because to me, all of these signal a person either set in their ways or one who is very high maintenance. I need you to be a team player, not a Prima Donna (that’s my job!).

The bottom line? Make sure to take a stopwatch to your next interview because you may need it. Remember, you’ve got just 12 minutes to strutt your stuff. Make a good impression and the job is yours.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello there, just happened to drop by on your blog but I can't help but be surprised at the'list' of don't for interviewees.

I can't help but pity all the wealth of wonderful and talented young employees who have been turned away just because of clammy hands or the lack of budget to have spanking shining shoes (perhaps that is why they need the job in the first place?)

Other than that, these tips are helpful. Since I gather that image is what makes or breaks a PR newbie.