In this episode, Pete Newsome and Ricky Baez share tips that will set you up for success when interviewing. A little preparation will go a very long way, so please listen before your next interview!
Job interview preparation best practices
- Prepare your resume. Customize it to the job, bring several copies to the interview, and check it again and again for grammatical mistakes.
- Do your homework on the company. Find out who they are, where they excel, and where they stand in the market.
- Come prepared with questions. This shows interest and interest is what will ultimately set you apart from other candidates.
- Prepare the route. Get a feel for the traffic around the time of the interview, before the big day, and do not leave anything to chance in order to guarantee you make it on time.
- Get there on time. Plan to be in the area at least 30 minutes before the interview and then walk inside 10 minutes early. Always err on the side of caution.
- Plan your outfit ahead of time. Dress professionally and look presentable. Always ask in advance when you can, but you can’t go wrong in a suit. And if you don’t have that, wear the next best thing. If you feel that you cannot dress the part, communicate that.
- Assume anybody you interact with at the organization will be the ones you interview with. Your interview begins the second you walk into the building, so treat it as such. How you interact with your future coworkers is meaningful.
Ricky Baez 0:00
Hello, this is Ricky Baez and you’re listening to the Hire Calling Podcast.
Pete Newsome 0:16
Welcome, everyone. And thank you for listening to the Hire Calling Podcast, your source for all things hiring, staffing, and recruiting. I’m Pete Newsome, and I’m back with Ricky again today. How are you Ricky, it’s a Friday, we’re recording on a different day than we typically do.
Ricky Baez 0:29
Friday the 13th no less. So, I don’t know if you’ve noticed that. But as today is one of those days that we tend to forget what it means for people like you and me who grew up in that era, with the Jason movies. But yeah, it’s going good so far, Pete.
Pete Newsome 0:45
It’s good, little busy time today, right. But here we are, we had to not let this important topic pass us by right. Today, we’re going to talk about how to prepare for an interview. And that is something that I think being in the recruiting industry, we tend to take for granted at times that people are aware of what to do and all the things to consider.
Pete Newsome 1:09
But in reality, if you’re not used to interviewing with any regularity, you’re probably not. So today is all about giving some tips that will lead you from the point where the interview request happens until the day of and you arrive. So, let’s get into it. You ready?
Ricky Baez 1:25
Pete Newsome 1:26
Alright, man, what are we talking about first?
Ricky Baez 1:28
So once you get that exciting call, where they tell you you’re scheduled to interview on such and such date, you got to plan out what your time is going to look like, from the time that they invite you to interview until the day. So, the first thing you got to do, we got seven points.
Ricky Baez 1:47
And the first one is and some of these are going to be obvious, but some of these are not. But it’s a good reminder, prepare resumes for interviews. So, here’s what that means to me, Pete, what that means to me is you can’t just show up into an interview with just your resumes that you’ve had for years, right?
Ricky Baez 2:05
Things have changed. Obviously, you have modeled it in such a way that it got to the applicant tracking system that got you to connect with the hiring authorities or the interviewers, so you can go ahead and get an interview. So, you made it that far.
Pete Newsome 2:21
Ricky Baez 2:21
But now you got to make it look so it’s presentable. And it feels good in the hands of the people who are going to interview you. But more importantly, they’re going to make a decision about you whether you can go into the company. So how do you prep, to me, I am really particular about the paper. Is that something you pay attention to?
Pete Newsome 2:42
Not so much. No.
Ricky Baez 2:43
Really? So it could be a regular copy paper for you?
Pete Newsome 2:47
As opposed to what?
Ricky Baez 2:49
As opposed to a nice, heavy, different type of finish that feels different in somebody’s hands?
Pete Newsome 2:56
I see. I mean, I can picture what you’re referring to. I think a lot of resumes are printed on heavier stock if we want to use I think that’s the right term. But, you know, in the year 2021, I don’t know that that is as important as it was in years past, right. And the reason is, most interviews will take place virtually.
Pete Newsome 3:26
When you do meet in person, I don’t think that’s going to be a factor in what the outcome is going to be. But I will concede that if you know, all things being equal, it would be nicer to have heavier stock than not so yes, I would agree with that. I would stay away from scented resumes. I know you’re a fan of those at times.
Ricky Baez 3:47
I am so not.
Pete Newsome 3:48
Okay, all right.
Ricky Baez 3:49
I know we’ve talked about it in the past, but I use that as a joke, right? Because yeah, how do you stand out? You know, and then you see perfume or cologne and kind of takes me back to the 90s, cool water in your car? Yeah.
Pete Newsome 4:04
I just don’t know with you.
Ricky Baez 4:10
Keeping you on your toes, here.
Pete Newsome 4:12
But you know, what’s often a miss from people that’s easily avoided, if you think in advance is to make sure you bring the resumes. I mean that’s what’s most important. And because it does show that you care, that you were thoughtful, that you weren’t just showing up on the fly.
Pete Newsome 4:29
And that does send a good message and you want to make it an easy scenario for the interviewing team. So, bring multiple copies. If you can find out how many people you’re going to interview in advance, that’s part of it too. And make sure you bring more than enough copies, have them clean, no dog ears.
Ricky Baez 4:48
No coffee stains.
Pete Newsome 4:50
None of that right? So, you know, make everything you do is a representation of what can be expected from you as an employee going forward. So definitely bring the resumes, customize them for the job. We’ve already talked about that on a recent podcast. So, don’t leave anything to chance there.
Ricky Baez 5:10
And again, I know people have done this, but for the positions that they’re applying for, but still run those resumes, run it through a Word document, run it through a processor, make sure there are no grammatical errors, and make sure there are no misspellings.
Ricky Baez 5:26
Right, do not solely rely on spellcheck, right, because again, spellcheck everything, the example that I use, that one student I had years ago, who was talking about unions, and spell onions correctly on the paper. So her whole paper was all about onions. So, make sure you read it thoroughly. Make sure it makes sense and make sure it’s nicely uniformed, that really does make a difference.
Pete Newsome 5:51
Yeah, and before we move on from resumes, I’ll take it even one step further and have another human read it right. Because to your point, spellcheck may not be able to pick up onions if it’s spelled correctly, but it’s sure gonna miss the intention, right of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Pete Newsome 6:07
So great tip, glad you mentioned it, you know, on the topic of being prepared, because that’s really what we’re talking about is show your prospective employer that you’ve put in the time and effort ahead of time, you’re not just showing up on the fly.
Pete Newsome 6:21
And believe it or not, we see that a lot we do see disorganization, lack of planning, and it’s all easily avoided. And to me as much as anything else shows it, where this falls in your priority list, right? And I don’t want to go too far down that rabbit hole today. But everything you do does send a message. So, the next thing I’d want to, you know, recommend is doing homework on the company. And you know, tell us your thoughts on that.
Ricky Baez 6:49
So, the worst thing you can do is just to go into an interview and make the interviewers feel like they’re the second or third, or fifth priority in the day. Right? So, you want to go in there prepared, doing your homework, and fully understanding who the organization is, where they stand in the market, and where do they excel.
Ricky Baez 7:12
But more importantly, what areas of opportunities do they have? That way, you’ve got a really good picture of the organization, you know what you’re interviewing for, but more importantly, that tells the interviewers that you are somebody who goes into any situation, who does the homework, is prepared, and sometimes what you don’t say in an interview speaks louder than what you do say.
Ricky Baez 7:39
So, if they see that you’ve prepared the resume, they see that you come prepared with questions because that’s something you should come up with too is figure out what kind of genuine questions you may have about the organization and their status in the marketplace, that’s really going to send the message that you’re somebody who is well put together to be a great addition to the team. It will definitely help. So, research the company in the market.
Pete Newsome 8:02
And if you have internet access, which everyone does, you know, nearly everyone does, it’s inexcusable not to right, you don’t have to go to a library. You don’t have to, you know, you don’t have to dig that hard to find out information.
Pete Newsome 8:17
And you know, the other point, that is just as important is if you’re not willing to do that, if you’re not interested enough in the organization you’re interviewing with, to do that research to learn about them in advance, you should probably consider whether you should be interviewing with that company in the first place, right? I mean, and that just, whether conscious or not, that’s a pretty big indication of your level of interest.
Ricky Baez 8:43
Yeah, no, it does, and especially if they’re interviewing, I don’t know, 10-12 people in that day or for that position in a week, then yeah, if you come in unprepared from that perspective, you’d come in disinterested, that in itself could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and not to be considered. So, you got to make sure that you go in. But more importantly, Also, make sure you get some relevant questions if you have questions, right.
Ricky Baez 9:13
But be careful what kind of questions you ask because if you do some research, and you see that the company got sued, for whatever reason, don’t bring that up. Right? I know, we don’t get to tell you that. But don’t bring that piece up, whatever information you bring up, make sure it’s something positive.
Ricky Baez 9:28
And make sure if you’re gonna bring up an area of opportunity, bring it up in a way that you can showcase your skill set on how you can turn that area of opportunity for that organization as a strength that shows what value you bring to the table.
Pete Newsome 9:42
Absolutely. So, take your fate and destiny there into your own hands and proceed accordingly with what you choose to bring up.
Ricky Baez 9:49
Pete Newsome 9:50
That one’s good too. Shouldn’t be necessary, but yeah, since we’re talking about it, let’s cover all the bases right. So next point, preparing questions, right, this is really all about preparation is what we’re talking about today you’ve done, you know, your experience background, if you’ve had a phone screen everything up until this point has set you up for the opportunity and you know you what’s going to happen next is going to be determined by everything you do. So, in the interest of putting that best foot forward, come up with some questions in advance that you want to ask your prospective employer.
Pete Newsome 10:29
Again, it just shows interest, right? And if it has, if all things are equal, and they never really are. But if there are two or more equally attractive candidates or close to it in terms of background and experience, and similar personalities, even in the way they answer questions, all those things, one that’s more prepared, and shows that interest, I’ll tell you, I’m going to go in that direction every time right, as far as who I’m choosing.
Ricky Baez 10:57
Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. So, I would as well, right. And look, and sometimes when you ask those questions that maybe, what I’m about to say is something for the next episode, right? When we’re in the interview, what happens there? Sometimes the questions are answered. Right. And then you may not have to ask anymore, but we’ll talk about that in the next episode.
Pete Newsome 11:17
Ricky Baez 11:18
But moving right along. The next step, Pete, that I have is that if you’re going to be interviewing in person, which some people are doing today, right, with today’s current environment, that sometimes happens, sometimes it doesn’t.
Ricky Baez 11:31
Prepare the route. What does that mean? Do not show up to the interview, that being the first time you drive the route on how to get there, especially we’re in Central Florida, we all know how bad I-4 can get. And especially in the summertime, we all know that right around 4:35 pm, it starts thunderstorming.
Ricky Baez 11:51
And so, make sure that before the interview, you plan that route around the same time that you’re supposed to get there, that way you get a good feel of the traffic. And that way, you’re not running late. And that way you can plan for all those things that you may not be able to foresee. And you know, maybe there’s construction, you’ve got to be able to plan that route ahead of time. So, you can get there with plenty of time to go and do what you need to do. And you’re in the interview right on time.
Pete Newsome 12:21
So, there’s a perfect segue right into something that I am a big believer in, which is to define what is on time, right, you’re going to an interview. So, I’ll give you my answer. After we hear yours. What is on time? What does that mean?
Ricky Baez 12:38
To me, on time is when you walk in the door 10 minutes before. I’ve had people walk in the door 45 minutes before, an hour before, and they think they’re showing their potential employer initiative like, wow, this guy gets here early. I think it does the opposite effect when somebody comes, look, if the hiring authority has a schedule like I do, I am in back-to-back meetings.
Ricky Baez 13:07
And if somebody comes in that I’m supposed to be meeting with an hour later, the front desk is going to text and say, hey, so and so is here. Now I’m worried about that person who showed up early and finished this meeting. And it’s just throws me off, right? So, my suggestion is to come in, walk in 10 minutes early, show your ID, be nice to everybody, and just let them know you’re there. That’s perfect. So, to me 10 minutes, it’s a good, good buffer.
Pete Newsome 13:33
It’s a little tight. It’s a little tight for me, I have to say.
Ricky Baez 13:36
Yeah? Okay. Okay.
Pete Newsome 13:37
So, I agree with you about the 45. That’s too soon. You know, for all, maybe there’s a lobby that’s open, and you’re in an awkward situation where people are having to look at you and vice versa. You know, that does send sort of a strange message, right? I’m not sure how I can articulate that exactly. But you know, it’s not going to work in your favor, right, to show up that early. Let’s just concede that point.
Pete Newsome 14:08
But the reason I think 10 minutes is a little tight is that what if there’s a traffic accident? What if there’s a school bus that needed to stop? What if 100 different things and that 10 minutes, depending on how far your commute is, you know, could put you in a bad situation. So, what I always recommend is to plan to be 30 minutes early in the area, ahead of time in the area, but then walk in, you know, 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time. And I think 10 is probably the perfect number, right?
Ricky Baez 14:41
We are saying the same thing. Yeah, we are.
Pete Newsome 14:44
But you know, I wouldn’t want to give anyone the impression that they should plan you know their route and to arrive 10 minutes at you know, sometimes you go to a company, you know, for example, the parking garage, you know, may be tight, right? You may have to go up a couple floor’s if you’re in a downtown area, or with a company that has one. So, you know err on the side of being early, but don’t creep out your prospective employer by hanging out in their lobby all day either. So, I think that’s where we can land. Right?
Ricky Baez 15:12
Yeah, I think we are saying the same thing, so get there early. Like I don’t mind if people get to the parking lot area about a half-hour, 45 minutes early, unless you have an overzealous security guard that’s already writing down Vin numbers and license plates of unfamiliar cars. But no, yeah, you’re right, you’ve got to plan for those things that that will just pop up on you. So, get to the area really early, but just hang out in the car or go somewhere where you can just walk in, come back, walk in 10 minutes early. And that works beautifully. So, we’re saying the very same thing.
Pete Newsome 15:48
So, let’s see, I want to add to something that definitely needs to be addressed in our current state of virtual interviews. I don’t think that’s going away. We’ve talked about that already, we’ll continue to talk about the evolution of the remote workforce and what needs to be considered that wasn’t important or even relevant in days past where, by default, everything happened in an office. But so many interviews are going to be 100% virtual. And so now this idea of preparation, it needs to be considered there, too. So, what thoughts come to mind in that area?
Ricky Baez 16:31
So, if you have to prepare for an interview, like two years ago, you have to go there, we talked about that. But now when we’re talking about doing it from home, then you’ve got to take the same kind of precaution, the same planning. Because if you’re being interviewed via an iPhone, and the phone is shaky, you’re at the drive thru or Starbucks, that doesn’t send a good impression.
Ricky Baez 16:56
So, my advice is that part of your prepping process, if you’re going to be interviewing remotely, you set up your technology and you set up your area, what I call your go-live area, your studio per se, make sure that your laptop is working, make sure your cameras working.
Ricky Baez 17:13
If you have to reset the Wi-Fi router, go ahead and do that. The last thing you want, you got a great interview going, and then the Wi-Fi stars crapping out on right. So, you want to reset it and make sure everything works, your lighting is good. And most importantly, Pete, no distractions. None. Don’t have a parakeet flying in your pet parrot. So, you’ve got to make sure you get the lighting there, no distractions, and you have their 100% attention on you.
Pete Newsome 17:42
So how do you avoid those distractions though, right? Because I think in this day and age that, you know, everyone’s a little accommodating and understanding of those things. But you know, if you’re home with pets, if you have children, you know, yes, maybe you need to accommodate for daycare after you get the job. But while you don’t have one, you know, you may have a child at home. Any thoughts on how to avoid that? Or is it at some point is it just okay?
Ricky Baez 18:13
You know, I think communication is key here. Right? Because I think if the interviewer knows what they’re walking into, and they’re not surprised, whatever they see, they might take it in better. Here’s what I mean. If we have a single parent that’s interviewing, right and then this COVID situation is really ravaged that family, and then you’ve got some people that have a different type of an immune system that they can’t be with other people or leave their kids with other people.
Ricky Baez 18:40
I don’t see anything wrong with that single parent aka candidate telling the interviewer man, look, here’s my situation, I have a four-year-old right, I’m by myself, he or she may walk in I just want to you know, just let you know in advance, that’s not normal, but I’m just letting you know, I think that kind of a conversation that can have an initiative and a backbone to say look, here’s what’s going on. It really says a lot about you as a professional right? Because you’re letting them know ahead of time. This is the situation, is that okay with you? I don’t think if somebody was to ask me that, I wouldn’t have any issues, right?
Ricky Baez 19:19
Because they brought it up from the get-go. But if I don’t know anything about it, and next thing you know, somebody gets hit in the head with a Power Ranger from outside, right? Then I’m like what was that, did you not prep for this? I think communication is key there. And every organization is different. I will be okay with it.
Pete Newsome 19:38
So, if it was in 2002 when Power Rangers were a thing or is that what you’re saying?
Ricky Baez 19:43
I’m showing my age.
Pete Newsome 19:44
Or are you giving your son your old toys and pretending they’re new, which is it?
Ricky Baez 19:50
They’re my toys there, Pete. Not his. They’re mine. Yes, sir.
Pete Newsome 19:56
Well, what’s interesting is you were talking, I didn’t think of this in advance but how someone reacts in that situation, right? Do you apologize in advance for what may happen? How do you react, if and when it does happen? The Power Ranger comes flying in, a dog, you know, starts barking. How the individual who’s interviewing reacts is going to send a message.
Ricky Baez 20:23
Pete Newsome 20:23
Right? What to say upfront? Do they take it seriously? Or do they act dismissive of the whole thing, because how you behave in that interview, it’s going to be a pretty big indication of how you’re going to be as an employee. Conversely, how the interviewer acts is going to be a pretty good indication of what that work culture is going to be like if it’s going to remain virtual right.
Pete Newsome 20:50
So, it’s a whole new dynamic, and it’s one I hadn’t thought of previously. But if they’re visibly upset, annoyed, they laugh it off, whatever it might be, that’s gonna send a pretty good message of how that person is going to be to work with right?
Ricky Baez 21:10
That’s a very good point because it does Pete. Because look, not only is the interviewer looking for somebody to be a good fit for the organization, the interviewee is also looking to make sure that that’s a good organization to work for. But that’s a really good point that you said there, right?
Ricky Baez 21:27
Because how they react to that would really tell that interviewee, oh, I don’t know if I should work here. Because this is a possibility this can happen, right? I’m looking for a job because I don’t have one. So, I’m not going to be able to afford daycare. So, this is a really big possibility. So that really is a good point. I’m didn’t think about that one either, Pete.
Pete Newsome 21:46
Yeah. Well, we know that you know, there are children, which is something, there are pets, there’s who knows what else, you know, other factors. And I think, from company to company, you know, one relaxed reaction may be appropriate, where another company, it may not be appropriate, like if you’re interviewing as an attorney, for example. And most of your conversations are going to be serious in nature.
Pete Newsome 22:17
If someone has those distractions going on in the background, and they’re going to persist, they may not be a good fit in that environment. So, I think just because someone isn’t accepting of it, you know, the interviewer doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It doesn’t mean it’s the wrong thing for that situation. But it does make it real and you know, what you’re getting, you know what you can expect? Yes. If you do end up working together.
Ricky Baez 22:48
Yeah. And so yes, it is a two-way street as far as what kind of culture you are going to be walking into. But one thing that just hit me right now, Pete, because I know, a lot of parents do this, they use their kids’ computers to do the interview. And you got to be careful with that as well. Because you got to make sure that whatever program you’re using, doesn’t have any weird filters that your kids may have used to talk with their friends.
Ricky Baez 23:17
I’m sure you’ve seen that situation with the judge and the attorneys. They were having a court meeting online via zoom. And one of the attorneys had a filter of a cat. And I don’t know if you saw that, right. And he’s trying to turn it off. And the poor guy is telling the judge I swear I’m not a cat. It’s a filter. So yeah, make sure that you test it with somebody, call your friend, call your neighbor, and say, Hey, can I test this with you? Just to make sure everything is coming across the way you want to be represented in that interview.
Pete Newsome 23:54
I am not a cat.
Ricky Baez 23:57
I’m glad he verbalized it.
Pete Newsome 23:59
It never gets old. I’m gonna pull it up later today.
Ricky Baez 24:02
Me too. You know what? Go going along with that, Pete, as far as finding somebody else, to help you with checking your Zooms, checking technology. Another thing that I do recommend, and I want your opinion on this is, you know, if you’re doing all this research about the company, you’re doing all this research about what questions to ask with the organization and how you respond to those questions. One of the things that I love to do, and I give advice to people who are nervous going into an interview is to reach out to somebody via zoom and have a mock interview with them.
Ricky Baez 24:40
Have them ask you these questions, record that conversation, answer them as if you were in the interview and review the tape and ask for feedback. Because you in your head you know how you come across, you in your head you know how you formulate your thoughts, but the experts on how you come across are the people who receive your message. So, you should really listen to what they have to say and listen to that feedback. Because what they hear, that’s exactly what the interviewers is going to hear. And that more closely aligns than what you have in your head. What do you think about that?
Pete Newsome 25:14
So, there’s some merit to that for sure, and some benefit to doing it. But I’m conditioned to become uncomfortable. When an interviewee starts asking for too much feedback and information from their neighbor, friend, aunt, uncle, cousin, whoever it might be. Because being a staffing professional, we hear these things all the time from people that so and so told them x, and it’s often really bad advice. Really, really bad advice.
Ricky Baez 25:54
Pete Newsome 25:55
And you know one of the things that are, quite frankly, we see it, even from professionals who have a big presence on LinkedIn, for example, have written books and put themselves out as authorities on this kind of topic, will often give really bad advice. And often, in doing so, the bad advice that they’re giving us is what the employee or the interviewer wants to hear. But it’s terrible for what the actual employer prospective employer would want. You know, don’t worry about being on time, right?
Pete Newsome 26:32
If they really, if they’re the kind of company you want to work for then they shouldn’t care about stuff like that, they understand things happen. Okay, it is, it’s awful, but I don’t want to name names yet, you know, and you can probably figure out who I’m referring to, if you’re a regular LinkedIn user, for example, there are a couple of people that immediately come to mind.
Pete Newsome 26:53
And they put out these things, and they’re always anti-establishment, you know, the employee shouldn’t have to worry about impressing whoever they’re interviewing with, right like that, like, I don’t know that that’s literally the way they’ve put it, but it’s close. And it gets a million likes, and everyone’s for it, but it’s terrible advice.
Pete Newsome 27:18
And I’ve been tempted at times to reach back out or to reply or to, you know, challenge these people to, you know, a debate and, and, you know because they’re not there, they’re serving their audience very poorly in that, so that, so I’m off-topic, that’s just a hot button for me because it’s been going on a couple of years now.
Pete Newsome 27:37
And every time I see it, I’m like, oh, man, this is someone’s, there’s a lot of people who are gonna, you know, get passed over for a job because they don’t think that their appearance matters, that being on time matters, you know, what I consider to be just common courtesy respect for the situation at hand, is not going to end well.
Pete Newsome 27:58
And they’re probably just gonna end up bitter as a result of hate the establishment, whatever that is, you know, even more, and so it does bother me. But back to the relevant question of, do, I like the idea of recording yourself? I do. Do I think you should obsess about that? No, because I ultimately, being in, again, a staffing professional, you don’t want to be gimmicky, you don’t want to trick, you know, the employer into thinking you’re someone you’re not.
Pete Newsome 28:29
So, the more natural it can be, the better, just like the setting, right? If you can get your dog, you know, locked away for the interview, but know that the dog is going to be present every day. Well, that’s not going to end well. Right. If you know, you have a dog that barks constantly, may as well let him bark during the interview, because they’re gonna see what they’re gonna get right.
Ricky Baez 28:49
Pete Newsome 28:52
Now, I would recommend to an employee, and we’re not talking about that today is to make sure you set yourself up in an environment that’s conducive to what’s going to be effective in the job that you’re in. Right. So, don’t make commitments you can’t meet. And that’s certainly off-topic for today. But being who you are, and I think employers should let candidates know who they really are, not who they wish they were, or want to be in order to get someone hired. But it does go both ways. So yeah, I think you should record yourself. But you know, don’t be too wrapped up in that part of it.
Ricky Baez 29:31
That’s a good point. Because that can happen, right? Because you may bring up some anxiety that you just didn’t have before. And now you’re just adding to the bucket of anxiety you have already for the interview. So, don’t obsess over it. But feedback is good. It’s worked. I mean, I know the first time I heard my voice and my mannerisms being recorded, shown back to me. I was like, Oh my god.
Pete Newsome 29:55
But you are who you are.
Ricky Baez 29:56
Pete Newsome 29:56
You’re not going to become someone different. And now you’re just conscious, self-conscious, about something that you have no control over. And as you were saying that, I’m going, Yeah, I don’t really like hearing and seeing myself either. And if I obsess about it, I’m going to be focused on the wrong thing. You know, where you’re living in the moment. And a point that I just want to get back to quickly on that topic is, the idea of preparing questions in advance is not to suggest that you shouldn’t think of questions in the actual interview. So, you don’t want to be robotic. And it all goes back to just being natural and real.
Pete Newsome 30:35
Now that, prepare, take it seriously, you know, have respect for the situation that you’re in, and the opportunity, but be who you are. And so, you know, in an interview, I want to react genuinely, wherever possible, if you bring up a question or something that, you know, causes a question to pop up in my head, I want to be able to note that, write it down, you know, so I’m also going to bring something if we felt, since we didn’t mention this yet. Bring something to write with, bring something to jot down your questions on the fly during the interview. But be in the moment, right, be present in the moment.
Ricky Baez 31:15
Excellent. All right. So, we talked about doing your research, we talked about the route, how to prepare your area, if you’re going to do it remotely recording yourself. We’re missing one thing, Pete?
Pete Newsome 31:28
What are you wearing?
Ricky Baez 31:29
The outfit. Plan your outfit. The morning of, an hour before the interview, is not the time to figure out what you’re going to wear. Right?
Pete Newsome 31:40
Ricky Baez 31:40
Now, you don’t want to go too extravagant either. You want to be professional. But not too fancy. Don’t come to an interview wearing a tuxedo. Right?
Pete Newsome 31:54
I’ve seen that, we’ve had that happen. We met a candidate in a lobby wearing a tuxedo before.
Ricky Baez 31:59
Really? Wow. Yeah. They probably got it off of those LinkedIn personalities, you probably got it off of them.
Pete Newsome 32:05
No, they would say wear whatever you feel like and if it’s the right fit, they’re gonna choose you for you. I mean, don’t get me pulled into that.
Ricky Baez 32:15
I got you. I got you. So do’s and don’ts as far as your attire is concerned, right? Along with your homework, yes, take a look at the culture is of the organization. But always err on the side of caution, right? If you’re not sure, a suit and tie works best, right? And it’s got to be regular colors, you know, a black suit, dark blue suit.
Ricky Baez 32:38
But if you show up like, in a magenta fuchsia-looking suit with different weird, you know, patterns on it. That’s just, it’s not gonna work for you. Wanna know why? Because even if you get the best skill set in your interview, well, you want to know what the superstar of the interview was, the suit. Right? And nobody’s gonna pay attention to what you bring to the table other than your fashion sense.
Pete Newsome 33:04
I’m gonna put you on the spot here.
Ricky Baez 33:06
Pete Newsome 33:07
So, two questions. One, what if you don’t have a suit? Or whatever, you know, for a woman, whatever, you know, the applicable business dress would be, what if you’re not equipped for that? You don’t have it? What do you recommend? This comes up a lot for us, yeah, by the way, with our candidates.
Ricky Baez 33:29
So, if there’s no suit there, I mean, at the very least, a nice collared shirt, you know, simple colors with a tie, dress slacks, nice, neat, pressed, taken care of, put together, right? I’m not going to lay out you know how to iron or do all these things. But it’s got to look good. It’s got to look presentable. Right.
Ricky Baez 33:51
So, if you don’t have a suit, that’s fine. But are you going to show up in a short-sleeve shirt and a tie? I don’t know about that. Shorts? Absolutely not. Flip flops? Absolutely not. But you know, you’ve got to at very least look presentable. The problem these days Pete, is that presentable, that term could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, right?
Pete Newsome 34:13
True, very true.
Ricky Baez 34:14
It does because you know what, sometimes it’s their fault. Sometimes it’s not right, because it depends on where they come from, it depends on how they grew up, what kind of coaching or what kind of guidance they’ve had, right? But even if you don’t have a suit, a nice button-down collared shirt with a tie always works best.
Pete Newsome 34:32
So, I would say, if you’re working with a recruiter at the company, or even a third-party recruiter, you know, like one of ours at 4 Corner then you should ask them what’s appropriate. We have some clients were, and I’ve seen this happen, if the suit and tie you know, isn’t there, then there’s a good chance the candidate is not going to get hired. There are other clients that we have where a suit and tie are way overkill. It’s going to make everyone uncomfortable because they dress casually.
Pete Newsome 35:02
And so, you want to ask in advance where you can, but if you don’t have that opportunity, err on the side of wearing a suit, if you don’t have a suit, wear the best thing you have, right, wear the next best thing, and I think that’s the point you’re making, but what always, you know is important is if you feel like you’re not able to dress for the part that you should just communicate that.
Ricky Baez 35:27
Pete Newsome 35:27
And that’s a very meaningful thing in this situation. Because, like everything we’re talking about, it shows that you care, it shows that you’re conscious of it, you’ve thought about it in advance, and that you genuinely want the job. And some of our best candidate experiences have been those where the candidate has called the recruiter, prior to the interview concerned that they weren’t able to wear what they thought would be appropriate.
Pete Newsome 35:55
And we’ve had some cool things happen where our recruiters have brought clothes, their own clothes, you know ties. There was a point in our office, where we had a lot of ties just hanging around for that situation, just in case.
Pete Newsome 36:10
We keep talking about how men dress, but you know, I think it’s because that’s how we dress. And you know, of course, we acknowledge that, you know, women’s business dresses are its own concern. And so, don’t want to get too distracted by that. But express, if you’re a candidate, and you feel like you’re not, you know, equipped because you don’t have the means, you don’t have the clothes that you think you should have, just express that concern and, it all takes care of itself.
Pete Newsome 36:39
So, I never want anyone to hesitate or be afraid to go to an interview because they didn’t feel like they were prepared, and take it from someone who knows this intimately and does it for a living, is been doing for a long time. It’s all about what you express in terms of interest in the role and motivation and everything else is forgivable, it really is in that situation.
Ricky Baez 37:06
So, thank you for bringing that piece. Because I’m thinking also, right, so we got to think about jewelry, we got to think about, you know, just wearable watches, you know, for men, and for ladies as well, you got to keep those to the minimum, right, because you know, especially if you show up with a lot of jewelry on your hands, and it’s just distracting, and exactly how you said, we just got to make sure that you represent yourself in a way that it sends that message, that yes, if this is their best foot forward, this would be a great addition to the organization and don’t give them any ammunition to kind of check that box and push you back.
Pete Newsome 37:40
So, I’m gonna challenge that too a little bit right where I’m going to say, if you don’t show up to an interview with a ring on every finger, or a flashy, big ring, for example. But that’s something you intend to wear every day. You know, you may as well wear to the interview, right? Because if I show you back to what we were talking about a minute ago if I show you one side of me, but that’s not the side, you’re going to get day in and day out, I’m not doing anyone any favors, right?
Pete Newsome 38:13
So, it’s never about getting the job. It’s about staying in the job, because it’s the right fit, right. That’s what the employer wants, they don’t want to hire someone who, you know, isn’t what they appear to be, who they appear in the interview. And you don’t want to work for someone where you have to.
Pete Newsome 38:31
If you like wearing, you know, having a certain appearance on the weekend, right, that would be not appropriate in that business setting. That’s one thing. And there’s a lot of examples, we could give of that. But you have to be willing to play that part. Whatever is expected from that company, and every company has its own culture in this regard.
Pete Newsome 38:53
But just make sure if they wear a suit and tie every day, you’re going to be happy wearing a suit and tie every day, or you’re just fooling yourself, which isn’t going to end well. And fooling the employer and that shouldn’t be the objective. So, I know it sounds a little contradictory. But there’s definitely a balance there in my mind. And I keep phrasing it this way because I don’t know of a better way to put it. You want to show the appropriate respect for the situation. But you also don’t want to be disingenuous. In my mind it’s clear. I don’t know if I’m articulating it well enough, but.
Ricky Baez 39:27
No, there it is. Yeah, I think you hit the nail right on the head there. It’s sure respect for the situation. Right? And you want to come across within it. So, I get what you’re saying right as far as to show who you really are, right. But the way I’m looking at it is that that interview is your only time to make the impression on the people who make a decision and whether you can come on board or not. And if there are other things taking the attention away from what they really should be paying attention to. At the end of the interview, the only thing they’re going to remember is like wow that must have been Mr. T’s cousin. Right? With all that jewelry they had.
Pete Newsome 40:05
100% but if you’re only going to be. Look, I’m a seventh-generation Floridian, I never wear socks, I hate putting socks on, they feel unnatural. I don’t and you know, it’s one of the few good things that’s come out of COVID is I don’t have to wear socks most days anymore. But I would, you know, for years, I was willing to for years because the job was more important than my, you know, my preference of footwear, right? And I wore a tie for over a decade, so you have to know your tolerance, right?
Pete Newsome 40:36
Just because I don’t want to wear socks and a tie, doesn’t mean I’m not willing to either. And I’m not gonna let that get in the way of the job I otherwise want. So, I think we’re kind of saying the same thing. I think you definitely want to think ahead, in an interview situation, to what life is going to be like if you get the job. And so, it’s never just about getting the offer. It’s about what happens next, ultimately, and so those are conversations we’ll get into in later podcasts for sure.
Ricky Baez 41:06
We are. So now we just finished planning out the attire. Now we’re ready. We’re ready to get there. We planned out the route. We’re hanging out in the parking lot, a half-hour before because we want to get there on time. 10 minutes before it’s time to get out of the car. Step right in. Yeah, so now it’s game time. It’s game time, Pete. So, my next tip is when you interact with anybody in the organization, assume they’re the ones you’re interviewing with. Right?
Ricky Baez 41:39
Because I’ve seen too many situations where people walk in, and they’re just being really disrespectful to the front desk personnel, being really disrespectful to the person at the vending machine. And then they completely switch it up in the interview panel, not knowing that maybe the people who you’re interviewing with, they’re going to ask those folks that you interacted with for feedback about what happened. So always assume everybody is going to interview you, even though you know, they’re not because you never know what kind of feedback they’re going to be asked of about you.
Pete Newsome 42:15
You’re 100% right, I believe in this from so many different angles. But you know, we’ve seen it happen for internal hires at 4 Corner, whoever our receptionist was at the time if they got a bad impression for someone, that was meaningful to us. And you know, we would see that happen because it shows character, who they really are. But also, in large companies that receptionist knows and sees all.
Ricky Baez 42:40
Pete Newsome 42:41
Yeah, they’re the gatekeeper. They see every employee pass by each day. And they typically have, you know, the scoop. So, I’ll go even further and say, pick that person’s brain, if you can write, you will learn more from speaking with a receptionist than you may in some interviews, right. So, you know, but look, I mean, it’s a shame that to some degree that we’re talking about the need to be courteous and decent and friendly. So, if this tip is necessary for you, you’re probably not our target audience anyway. Right.
Ricky Baez 43:21
Good point. You know, you’re right. It’s a good reminder right, now, I think if this was a shocker for you, maybe. Yeah, because you know, here’s what happens, people have a bad day, right? And you got to keep your emotions in check, right? So, people can have a bad day. And you just got to get mentally ready. And I don’t want to say put on the face right because that may come across as very disingenuous, but just get in focus and make sure why you’re there. And yeah.
Pete Newsome 43:54
I’ll change that a little bit to say that, don’t be so concerned and focused on what happens when you walk in the interview. And I think this is really the point you were trying to make is the interview begins from the second you walk in the door lobby, right? So, they are assessing you, they’re judging you, they’re considering how you’re going to be and so even though that may not be that receptionist, may not be the person you’re there to interview with, make no mistake they are considering whether you’re going to be the type of person that company wants. So, I think that’s a great point. And I think it’s a great point to wrap up with.
Ricky Baez 44:31
Yes, yes, it is.
Pete Newsome 44:32
Now you’re in. Now you’re ready to go and we’re not talking about that today. I know you want to keep going but we’re gonna stop.
Ricky Baez 44:38
I’m chomping at the bits there, Pete. No, so look, so we’ve prepped for the interview. A couple of episodes ago, actually last episode, we talked about those tips that you need for the interview, but now we prep for the interview with the resumes, what you need to do, the next episode next week we are going to talk about what to do in the interview and afterward. So that’s coming up in the next episode. Hirecalling@dev.4cornerresources.com, that is the email address.
Ricky Baez 45:09
If you have any questions or show ideas, go ahead and just send us an email, give us some feedback firstname.lastname@example.org or just give us a call, talk to any of our recruiters especially if you need staffing services, you might as well come to the best, you’re listening to it. So, you just might as well give us a call on and forget everything else and we’ll start that relationship there. Right, Pete?
Pete Newsome 45:32
Absolutely. 4cornerresources.com, we’d love to hear from you on the show. But if you’re on the market or you’re looking to hire, that is what we do. We’d love to connect. So, thanks, Ricky. Have a great weekend. Friday 13th, are you watching any scary movies?
Ricky Baez 45:46
Oh, yes sir. Yes, I rented one through four. Those are my favorite CSS at this year rent amazon prime, there on there. So, my family and I are going to be watching those tonight.
Pete Newsome 45:58
All right, good. Well, I’m sure my 13-year-old who loves scary movies will have something planned in advance. And so, we’ll look forward to talking about that next week. Have a good weekend.
Ricky Baez 46:08
Have a good one folks, drive safe. Have a good night.
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