Original article, published in the Tampa Bay Times
Recently, we had a candidate come in for an interview. Let’s call him Mr. Career.
Mr. Career had a box of cereal tucked under his arm. He said he saw on social media that we were participating in Feeding Tampa Bay’s Cereal for Summer food drive and wanted to contribute to the cause, creating an excellent first impression.
He also seemed to know quite a bit about our company, ranging from the industries we serve and the positions we staff to the unique aspects of our company culture, #davronlife.
In addition to obviously researching our company, he wrote a very specific cover letter addressing our Human Resources department, which is what prompted us to call him in the first place.
Mr. Career initially interviewed by phone and showed great knowledge about the position and what our company offers.
Along with the box of cereal, Mr. Career brought his A-game.
He was dressed in business professional attire, even though it was discussed in the phone interview that our atmosphere is casual, and we wear shorts and T-shirts every day. This proved that he wanted to show respect and impress us; and he did.
We made Mr. Career an offer because we want career-minded, thoughtful individuals on our team.
We also had an entirely different type of candidate come for an interview. Let’s call him Mr. Iwanna Job.
Mr. Iwanna Job entered our office dressed as casually as the rest of us. Even though I enjoy wearing Florida-appropriate clothing to work, I would like to see a potential candidate dress up a little bit. If anything, do so to show respect. Mr. Iwanna Job thought otherwise, sporting shorts, a polo, and boat shoes.
During the interview, we asked Mr. Iwanna if he could tell us anything about our company. He was clearly unprepared and had done little to no research because his response was not even entirely true. He said that we looked like a mid-size company (we are not) that was growing (we are), followed by a “good job, guys” (thanks?).
When asked whether he knew anything else, like what services we provide, he simply reiterated that we’re doing well (thanks?) and are growing (we are).
Mr. Iwanna Job had no questions, no insight, and no knowledge of what we do or where he was interviewing. In fact, he just wanted a job, not a place to call a career.
He didn’t get an offer.
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Take this simple story of Mr. Career and Mr. Iwanna Job as a lesson in your job search.
Arrive at the interview prepared. Go above and beyond to show that you did your search on your potential new employer. Mostly, show them that you are looking for a career, not just a job.