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Friday, July 8, 2011

The Fine (and Lost) Art of the Job Interview...

My Facebook friend Terri started my thoughts, as did some of her friends this morning, and I've decided to craft a little blog on a different "Art of the Deal."  Sorry to Donald Trump, but there's another one that Old Combover needs to remind himself of...at least when it comes to his lack of hair.


Anyway, Terri this morning made an entry on her Facebook, and here it is:  Just a suggestion... when interviewing, do us all a favor and DO NOT WEAR SHORTS!"

Yeah...I kind of think that's a fair guideline, don't you?

(Need music for this...Walkman time..."Under the Gun," Poco...very cool)

So I asked a few questions, and remembered some of the strange things that I saw in my time in the working world.  Apparently, some woman came into Terri's business wearing white jean shorts.

Okay...now shorts as casual wear is cool, but before I knew the above, I asked were they shorts of a material that you might find on more professional type clothing?  Some are quite fashionable, and look pretty good on women, and do convey a certain professionalism.

Others weighed in with some other pretty scary stories...the guy that showed up for an interview in spandex basketball shorts and flip-flops.  Yes.

(More Poco!  Alright!  "Good Feelin' to Know")

I have a few of my own...back in '94, I learned how times had changed.  I went to a radio station in VT, while convalescing from an accident to snag a quick voice-over job.  I didn't expect it to be more than an in and out job, so whatever, right?

Well...I was not in the best of shape.  I weighed about 130 pounds at the time, but I did my best.  I dressed as best I could; I may have borrowed one of my dad's collared shirts, and went down there.

I sit in the waiting room...a young lady comes bopping in...she's probably about 23, 5-2, 100 pounds, blonde.  Very pretty young lady, right?

She is wearing a t-shirt (clean one, I noted...more on this later), khaki shorts and these Doc Marten type shoes...she bops up to the receptionist and utters the immortal question:

"Is this, like, where I apply for the job (giggle)?"

I thought the receptionist would shit a brick.  So the bopping girl sits down; next in comes a young man and woman.  I don't remember the latter, because I think she was just along for the ride.  The man, probably 25 or a bit older, is about 6 feet tall, long haired, goatee...okay, I can ignore all that, considering I have long hair, too.

("Sheep" -- Pink Floyd...very nice)

BUT...this dude is wearing a t-shirt (dirty), baggy, cutoff shorts of an uncertain fabric (frayed), and looks like he just got off his landscaping job!  He was NOT showered, nor groomed in any fucking manner!

I don't know who got the job; sure wasn't me.

Now look...I have said here before and I will say it again, that clothes do not make a human being.  It is not to say that any one of those folks could not do the job and do it well; but it says a lot about your level of seriousness when applying, as it does about how you see yourself.

I am not the most fashion-conscious person in the world.  I could fucking care less.  All the same, I see the value in squaring yourself away just a little bit.  

You might wonder..."how does this maniac go for job interviews?"

Well, I'll tell you...it depends on the job, that is true.  It's easy enough to do, and any new clothes you buy for work (if you wear them there) can be written off...remember that, anti-tax legionnaires.

Now jeans are usually not a good thing to wear...blue jeans, never.  Black jeans you can get away with, as long as there's no holes.  Slacks if you got 'em, good.  

The shirt should have a real collar on it...you DO NOT NEED A TIE, FOLKS.  At least not in my business, anyway.

Got a sport coat?  Matches up good?  Okay, you're in!

Shoes...boots are okay, I wear them myself.  Loafers are probably okay, make sure you wear socks, though.  No combat boots, no open toes, got it?

AFTER YOU GET THE JOB, THEN YOU CAN ROCK YOUR DOCS!

Jewelry is okay; most are looking beyond piercings, and they're not gonna see your tats (nor hopefully ask to see them...I don't think that's legal anyway).  I would be careful to not display neck jewelry...my chains go inside the shirt for that...refer to the above paragraph.

I would NOT display religious symbols, like the cross or whatever openly...sure, my pentacle on my earring is there, but most don't see that.  You are not going to curry favor by flashing your big-ass cross to anyone, and you're not doing yourself any favors.

Now here's the thing...once you get the job, you can be you again, 100%, hopefully.

From my spot in the Office, I see it all.  On occasion, I do some across folks that are being interviewed for jobs, either at the Office or some other company.  For the most part, people really do know that the presentation, not just what you say or what is on the resume is bloody important.

Why do I say this?  Look, I've been in the radio biz 26 years; I'm back to jobbing at 2.5 jobs...not fun, but that's life.  I know so many who have it a lot worse.

("Pagan Baby," CCR...yeah...)

I'm helping YOU here.  Where I live is South Central PA, often referred to as Dumbekistan, Redneck Central, and other less flattering places.  The idea of being a pro is not lost on a lot of people, but believe me, a lot of folks just don't know.

Ignorance, possibly; could also be, that a lot of folks have only had grunt jobs where the look wasn't the big deal.  People were needed back then, and work was for the asking.

Not anymore.  You want a job...you have to fight for it.  Half the battle is presenting yourself like you are ready to kick ass and take names.

You don't need a three-piece suit, unless you like that rig or you're going for something high-powered.  Most of you probably aren't; look around you, look at how other people dress.  This is like acting...you are dressing up to (at this moment) give the performance of a lifetime.

The look is important.  Oh yeah, lay off the fucking Axe, and whatever it is women wear!  You do not need to smell like a third-world bathhouse or that place off I-83 that offers massages, 24/7.

You'll know from the moment your potential boss gives you the once-over, whether you're in or not.  Then we get to the good part:  

THE INTERVIEW.

Relax...you are talking to a person who will be a potential friend on a non-pro level one day.  Be clear, explain why you're there, give your track record, but BE CONCISE.

Answer the questions best you can, and if you don't know, BE FUCKING HONEST.  If you don't know something, that is no crime.

("Radio Free Europe," REM...now we're talking)

The Resume:  there is no right or wrong way to do one of these.  There are as many resumes styles as there are people looking for jobs.

Basically, your contact info up top, websites of interest connected to you...

...Education!  Where the fuck have you been?  You don't need your GPA or that you were in the Chess Club...the important stuff folks.

...Experience:  latest and current first, and roll with it.

The length of a resume varies, depending on age and breadth of experience.  Mine got to be about four pages, and then I realized, damn, that's too much.

One to two pages is okay.  DO NOT STAPLE THE PAGES; clip them.

GOOD RESUME PAPER, thicker than the standard white stuff.  White is okay, but a professional shade is cool, too.

Oh by the way:  PINK RESUME PAPER IS RIGHT OUT!  DO NOT SCENT IT, EITHER (that fucking "Legally Blonde" movie may have been funny in parts like that, but you DON'T DO THAT!)!

("Then Came the Last Days of May," Blue Oyster Cult...from their first album...Dan lent me this...interesting stuff)

I have been reminded of something...glasses.

I have seen so many interesting and different frames over the years.  Right now, I'm watching my friend Sarah rocking her screaming yellow plastic geek frames while talking to someone...her friend next to her is wearing them, too.

Um...if those are your frames, then I guess you gotta go with them.  The Geek Look is back in...Greg Proops once wrote that contacts and Lasik surgery are for pussies, and that glasses say something about you.

I would agree...my Ray Bans are cooler n' hell...heheheh.

I think most employers will overlook that...if you need 'em, you do.

Now...these guidelines are for the more established, actual businesses where you're gonna be working with a lot of people, and in contact with a lot.  Today's home businesses and the self-employed can pretty much go their own way and do their own thing, which is cool.

("Chorale No. 220," by the Turtle Island String Quartet...that was an intriguing segue)

NOW...BREAKING NEWS:  how NOT to comport yourself has just walked in!

LEISURE SUIT LARRY IS HERE...if I could snap a pic of this man, I'd show you how NOT TO DRESS!

("I'm Free," the Who, from the Imported Greatest Hits Live)

Fortysomething guy, obviously a self-employed boy.  Long hair tied back in a ponytail, gold-framed shades on his forehead, geek glasses...then it gets good.

SCREAMING ORANGE POLO SHIRT, WITH A GIGANTOR CROSS AROUND HIS NECK...SCREAMING ORANGE PLAID KNICKERS...AND WHITE LEATHER OPEN SANDAL SHOE THINGS...YUCK!!!

(Something by the Japanese rock band, B'z...it's all in Kanji, no idea what the title is)

You get my point?  If you are your own boss, or THE BOSS, then you can dress like a Nightmare on Jersey Shore.

Right now, though...jobs are scarce, and they are going to be for a long time.  This nation has become the nation that sends its jobs overseas, and we wonder why there aren't any left?

Of course, as an old friend once said, it may well be the time for you to remake yourself...find what you really want to do, head back to school (grant money is still out there), and/or take that step you want to take.

It's all up to you...this is just something that got me thinking, and I thought I'd help.  Hell, it's my day off, and I would rather not think about how on Earth I'm going to pay my property taxes.

Enjoy...






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