August 27th, 1999

Last week, the Editorial dealt with the process of interviewing applicants for a job opening inside your company.  What about the flip side…when you’re the one seeking a job?

The volatile state of the record and radio industries assures just about all of us of one fact: Sooner or later, we’ll be looking for another job. It might be because you seek to improve your position.  Or you’ve been fired. The reality is that sooner or later you’ll lose your job and need employment.

Either way, a successful interview is the key to your employment future.

The first thing you need to do is give yourself an attitude adjustment.  If you’ve lost your job, get over it.  There are very few secrets in our business.  It is likely that the person who you are interviewing with is familiar with some of the circumstances surrounding your dismissal. You will probably be questioned about your former job in the interview and asked why you were dismissed.  Make your answers as positive as possible.  Lamenting how about how you “got screwed” is a waste of time and energy.  You must concentrate on your abilities, qualifications and interest in the new job, rather than dwell on the old.  If there were circumstances with your previous job that might cause your future employer concern, answer those concerns as quickly and concisely as possible.  Take time to go over this facet before the interview.  Knowing you will be asked about your previous position and the circumstances surrounding your leaving will give you time to prepare your answers before the interview.

Take comfort in the fact that you are getting an interview.  The fact that you’re in the door proves the company is interested in hiring you despite your previous situation.  The truth is, most employers are more interested in where you’re going than where you’ve been.

The same holds true if you’re trying to improve your position.  Don’t bad rap your present company.  Instead, sell your future employer on what you hope to bring to a new position.

No matter how seasoned the pro, everyone gets jitters before an interview.  Don’t panic.  Those feelings aren’t bad.  As a matter of fact, being a little nervous and excited can give you an energy boost for the interview.

Prepare in advance.  Although you can’t anticipate specific questions you will be asked, you can anticipate the general tone of the interview. Research the company.  Be ready to share your knowledge with the future employer.  If you have done your homework, there is little to fear.

Once in the interview, be yourself.  Relax.  Too many people try to be the person they think the future employer is looking for.  Don’t play this part.  You want to be hired for who you are, not for who you’ve pretended to be.  If you pretend to be someone you’re not and are hired,  you’ll probably be unhappy in the position.

Don’t think you have to agree with everything your future employer is saying.  Don’t feel the need to be a total “kiss-ass.”  If you feel the need to disagree, do so in a respectful manner.

Recognize the line between self confidence and arrogance.  Most employers want people who are self-confident.  By the same token, most don’t want arrogant employees.  State your case, make your impression, but be sure you’re not coming off as cocky.  Remember, you’re the one seeking the job.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that the person doing the interview will do a good job conducting it.  Most people aren’t good at interviewing.  Help your future employer bring out the best in you.  Don’t allow his/her inability to conduct an interview shut you out from sharing knowledge about you that might help you land the job.

Make sure to compliment the company and the job your future employer is doing.  Find a way to show how your hire will compliment his/her vision of the company.

Don’t drop names.  If there are people who will give you a good recommendation, list those in your resume.  Don’t make a pompous ass out of yourself by mentioning how tight you are with “whoever.”  If you’re so tight, why aren’t they hiring you?

Dress up for the interview.  No matter how “laid back” the company or your future is, don’t show up in jeans and a t-shirt.  There’ll be enough time for that after you’ve been hired.

Be on time.  If you’re late, you probably aren’t going to get hired for the job.

Before the interview ends, ask “Is there anything else you need to know?  Anything we haven’t covered?”  Make sure you’ve gone over over everything that will tip the interview in your favor.

After the interview,  make sure you follow up.  Don’t be a pest, but don’t get lost in the shuffle.  A short letter says it best.  Simply state that you enjoyed the oppurtunity and you’re looking forward to working for the company.

Good luck.

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