College Graduates and Job Interviews
by Alison Ringo
Seniors across the country are walking across the stage to accept their bachelors’ degrees, and in the process officially entering that terrifying place, the Real World.
With entry to the real world comes entry to the job interview gauntlet. Many college and university career centers offer career counseling and interview coaching, and most of these centers do right by the students who actually avail themselves of the services.
Unfortunately, some kids never get the gumption to check in at career services. At least, that’s one of the only reasonable explanations for some of the foibles entry-level job seekers commit while interviewing.
Some things that apparently need to be explicitly placed in the “Don’t Do This” category, because people have actually done them:
– Arriving reeking of cigarettes
– Wearing a sweater with mustard stains down the front (yes, they were bad enough stains to tell it was mustard)
– Mentioning that you can’t stay to meet another member of the team because you have travel plans in a few hours (this part is fine)… to an outlet mall (this part is not)
– Sporting a five o’clock shadow, uncombed hair, wet hair at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, etc
– Showing up to interviews without any idea of the position their interview(s) hold(s), the company’s main product/service, the company’s main competitors, or generally any basics that can be easily found on most corporate websites, or through a simple Google search.
On the positive side, some things more and more recent graduates seem to be getting right, and that we hope they tell their peers about:
– Bringing multiple copies of resume, on quality paper
– Over dressing, when in doubt
– Arriving at least five minutes early, but not earlier than 10 minutes
– Showing up to interviews with questions prepared based on pre-interview research on the company, the industry, the interviewer(s), and the position
– Follow-up thank you notes
Again, you would think these basic Do’s and Don’ts would be common knowledge, but every May without fail, recruiters and HR managers across the continent (and who knows, possibly across the world) are pleasantly and unpleasantly surprised on at least a weekly basis.
With the job market still pretty tough on the younger job seeker, an hour of research, some travel planning, and a careful look in the mirror before you hit the road (or the subway, or the sidewalk) will stand you in good stead toward landing a solid entry-level job.