I shared with you before where to look for a job, now I want to share how to get to the job interview process. This information can be valuable to anyone whether you've had a job before or not. Some of these suggestions are common sense, and others are a look from a manager's point of view.
Applying for the Job
The first step in being considered for employment is, of course, applying for the job. Applications can be done either in person or online depending on where you apply. Some things to consider when filling out the application are:
- Making sure to provide accurate contact information. How do you expect a job to call you if you don't give a good phone number? I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a wrong or non-working number. Also, if you give a number that is meant to be used as a message line, please let the owner of that number know that you are using their number. I've called numbers and had people get very rude with me for calling for someone other than them.
- Answering every question asked on the application. This is especially important for paper applications. Sometimes, there are little checkboxes that can be easily overlooked. One thing I like about online applications is that if you miss a question, you're unable to continue on to the next question.
- Checking your spelling before submitting. This one is pretty self-explanatory.
- Listing references, if requested. Most jobs will specify what they're looking for when asking for references. At a previous job I had, the application called for references over the age of 21 who were not related to the applicant. Many people didn't follow those instructions, which brings me to my next tip;
- Reading all instructions on the application before completing each section. Again, self-explanatory, but so many people make this mistake! Part of the hiring process it to see how well you follow instructions. If you fail to follow instruction on the application, how well will you follow instruction on the job? Even if you've filled out thousands of applications in the past, still read all instructions!
- Signing and dating (for written applications). This issue got SO bad at a previous job that we would have to make the applicant wait while we skimmed over the application. If you don't sign your application, it's no good!
Checking on your application
Calling to check on your application is a great way to let employers know that you are interested in working for them. Consider these suggestions when calling:
- Wait at least ONE WEEK after you've completed the application to call. I can guarantee you that calling the very next day or within an hour of completion is not going to look good. Some managers have specific days that are dedicated to looking through applications. If you don't receive a call within a week, call and ask to speak with the hiring manager.
- Call during normal business hours (Monday- Friday 9 am-5 pm). Now, this doesn't mean start blowing up the phone right at 9 am. Let management get their work day started before you call. Consider busy times, like lunch, when calling restaurants. There's nothing worse than getting a call about an application in the middle of the lunch rush. Also, avoid calling on weekends.
- If you would rather check on your application in person, PLEASE look presentable! I personally wouldn't recommend checking on an application in person only because you never know how it would inconvenience the manager. However, if you choose this option, make sure you're not looking like you just rolled out of bed.
- Calling the same place every day to check on an application does not better your chances of being hired. I'm not sure how this became a thing, but it's annoying AF! Please don't be this person. If you call the first time and they say they will call you if they're interested, then wait for that phone call. If you never get that call, take the hint; they've probably gone with another applicant.
Landing the interview
So, you get that phone call from a potential employer asking you to come in for an interview. Congratulations! Here's how NOT to blow it:
- If you agree to show up for the interview, ACTUALLY SHOW UP FOR THE INTERVIEW! This is one of the most frustrating things to a hiring manager. If I've taken time out of my day to call and schedule an interview and you don't show up, you've wasted both of our time. If you can't make it at the scheduled time and you're still interested in employment, call no later than two hours before to reschedule. Management understands that things come up. Don't be that person to not show up for the interview then call the next week thinking that you still have a shot at the job.
- Make sure you look presentable. There's no need to show up in a suit and tie, but definitely not sweatpants and flip-flops. Check out this Pinterest board for inspiration.
- Show up to the interview between 10 to 15 minutes early. Never assume that you're the only interview that the manager has scheduled for the day. Give the interviewer time to prepare for their time with you.
- If you have to wait a minute before the interview begins, observe your surroundings. This tip is mainly for those who are possibly interviewing in the lobby or public area of the business. Watch the employees. Do they look happy to be working there? How are they interacting with the customers? Check out the customers. Does their body language indicate that they're relaxed, or do they seem to be pressed from waiting for a while? Keep an eye out for potential customer service or team member issues.
- Check out this Pinterest board for more interview tips!