We’re constantly honored and humbled by the steady stream of fantastic people that walk through our door and allow us the privilege of helping them find employment. Were it not for them, we wouldn’t be in business at all!
There are, however, a percentage of folks who come to us (and doubtless every other company as well) completely devoid of anything remotely resembling a clue. In their own minds, perhaps they think (if they are thinking at all) they are projecting themselves in the best possible way to potential employers. Sadly, they are eliminating themselves from the best jobs available, and they don’t even know why.
Therefore, one of the many hats a staffer should and often does wear that the typical HR person probably doesn’t is that of career counselor. It’s part of our job to coach these folks, to nudge them from the world of the clueless into something resembling a person an employer might imagine hiring to perform an actual, meaningful job.
It’s not easy, but it’s part of our job, albeit a part that many staffers, sadly, neglect.
Well, not here, not today!
The majority reading this will not be the people I am referring directly to, of course. But, you probably also know somebody who could use this sage advice. If so, kindly consider forwarding this to them. It could be the best thing you’ve done for them since you let them borrow that leaf blower they’ve never bothered to bring back.
So, without further ado, here are three items anyone looking for a job should watch very carefully. Following this advice will keep you from going APE (yeah it’s corny, but it’s a nice acronym to remember this by!) on a potential employer. 🙂
Here is where so many get it wrong. The rule of thumb is – wear clothing a notch above what you are applying for. While that certainly means no tank tops, spandex, PJs (yep, we’ve seen that!), or flip flops, it also means don’t wear a suit to interview for a light industrial position. For most of what we have, a polo or nice t-shirt and hole-free jeans, pulled all the way up, with a pair of decent tennis shoes is perfectly fine. Dress too ‘down’ and we see you as sloppy and uncaring. Dress too ‘up’ and we see you as overqualified and/or pretentious. Be somewhere in the middle so we can see you as the great applicant you are!
In any of your interactions with us, whether it’s calling available for work, interviewing, or discussing a possible job offer, don’t tell us how your landlord is about to kick you out, the utility company is about to turn off your electricity, your kids are about to starve, or Guido is about to bust your kneecaps if you don’t come up with $200 pronto… EVEN IF IT’S TRUE! We don’t want to hear it, we don’t care, and we probably won’t believe you anyway.
Maybe that sounds callous to you, but please realize that, although we do care about our associates and their needs, we probably don’t know you yet, and we’ve heard these stories a gazillion times (read this article for some insight on how and why desperation is perceived as insincerity). Despite your situation, you are far better off to calmly explain to us how you can make our clients happy by showing up for work every day and doing a great job.
Additionally, don’t act like we are under any obligation to find you a job. We aren’t, and any insinuation otherwise is likely to land you the opposite of your desired result. A spoonful of honey will go much farther than vinegar. Don’t be demanding. Rather, be friendly, polite, accommodating, and reasonable. And, for goodness sakes, don’t call over and over and leave a million messages on our voicemail. We do want to help you, and we do want you to contact us, but once a week is perfectly fine to let us know you are still looking for work.
Unless your mother, father, sibling, child, girlfriend, boyfriend, or screaming baby are going to be doing the work for you, you really don’t need an entourage to accompany you to interview with us or, for that matter, any other potential employer. This would seem obvious, but it literally happens at least every week. Trust me, leave your ‘peeps’ at home. When you don’t, it looks bad… really, really bad…
APE – learn it, love it, remember it next time you deal with someone you hope will land you a job. The worst thing you can do is remove yourself from contention before we even know what you have to offer!