Things Interviewers Look For

{ Dear Cookbook, I interview really well. I dress nicely, communicate effectively and am genuinely pleasing in appearance. So why in the world can I not find a job!!! Frustrated Frank from Freeport }

Dear Frustrated Frank from Freeport. . . . if that is your real name, which I find highly unlikely. Unless, of course, your parents were village idiots or you were named because of some whacked family tradition. Have you considered that your name might be the reason why you’re not finding work? Because I’m almost 100% sure that prospective employers are disqualifying you based solely on your terrible name.

Think I’m being more than a little harsh here? Well, perhaps you are not considering the bigger picture. Employers can choose from a smörgåsbord of applicants these days. In fact, most of the time they don’t even choose one based on their qualifications. Think I’m wrong? Well, think again! I’ve spent a ‘great deal of time’ researching why interviewers choose seemingly random individuals, instead of those who might actually be qualified for the position. Considering your personal experiences, I’m willing to bet that the results of my findings will surprise you.

Here are the top five things that will cause an employer to choose you over a more qualified candidate.

1.) You have a normal OR exotic name.  This one is difficult to predict, but it seems like if you have an exotic sounding name and your interviewer has a normal sounding name, then you are a shoe in for the job. The reason for this is people with normal sounding names ( i.e. Jim, Bob, Jane, or Sue) wish that their parents had given them an exotic name at birth. Because quite frankly, they are tired of having the same name as everyone else. For this reason, these interviewers are more apt to hire someone with an exotic sounding name (i.e. Finnegan, Mercedes, or Moonbeam).

On the flip side, interviewers with exotic names wish that their parents had named them with a ‘normal’ name, so they are more apt to hire someone with a normal sounding name. You’ll never see a person named Moonbeam hiring someone named Finnegan. As such an event, would cause a collapse of time and space as we know it.

(So, Frustrated Frank From Freeport, you may be wondering why people with a normal name aren’t hiring you. The answer is because your name is so weird, even “the normals” don’t like it. Perhaps instead, you could try for something like Ferdinan Frazzleworth?)

2.) You look just like the interviewer’s mom. Don’t worry guys, you aren’t necessarily cancelled out of this one. After all, there are handsome women out there. Unfortunately though, unless you know the interviewer personally or they haven’t locked their Facebook account down as private, you probably won’t know what their mom looks like. So the best thing you can do is try to guess the age of the interviewer, guesstimate the age of their mother and then try to dress like a woman of that age range. If you succeed in either having a striking resemblance to their mother or simply manage to dress like them, odds are you’re going to be hired in the long run. Because even if they don’t have a good relationship with their mother, all mothers are good at guilt trips and guilt trips are great at getting you hired!

(FYI – the mother-in-law look does not work. If anything, it will get you shooed from the office lickety-split.)

3.) You eat your Wheaties. Obviously this one is a no-brainer. Champions eat their Wheaties and employers want to hire champions. So put down your whiny, crybaby granola and pick up something with a heroic aftertaste.

4.) Your tattoos have tattoos.  Once again, this one is a no-brainer. If you can withstand the pain of being tattooed, then you will be more than willing to work long hours with minimal breaks. Each one of your tattoos will only serve to remind the interviewer just how patient you can be. They will imagine the long hours you sat at the tattoo parlor getting inked and relate it to how many extra hours they will get you to work. After all, you like pain right? If you are afraid that others might one up you on this, why not get a tattoo right before the interview of the company logo on your forehead. This will help show you are ready to commit and work hard.

(On a side note: Try to keep the number of logos on your forehead to a minimum, you’d hate to look like a sponsored race car.)

5.) Bring your dog to the interview. To be honest, I was surprised at this last discovery. But apparently, bringing your pooch to the interview is an excellent ice breaker. And in some instances, this will even keep the interviewer distracted long enough to overlook your obvious flaws. Even better, this works great with interviewers who are afraid of dogs. It turns out that if you can incite a panic attack, there’s a good chance they will hire you just to get the dog out of their office.

If you are worried you are not the only applicant who has brought their dog in, why not go the extra mile? Get your dog to “accidentally” pee or poop in the interviewers office! Then clean it up immediately. This will instantly show the interviewer just how responsible and responsive you are as a potential employee. After all, you could have just left it on the floor or pretended like you didn’t see it, but you didn’t. You cleaned up the mess, quickly and effectively! Make sure you throw away the dirty items or poop in the waste bin by the interviewer’s desk. This will serve as a reminder of your dedication that will keep them thinking about you long after you’ve left the interview.

Are you thinking about using some of this advice on your next interview? Before you do, let’s take a gander at Jobless Johnny and Hireable Hank’s results:

Jobless Johnny has switched to only accepting interviews from people who have exotic sounding names. And just cashed out his 401K on not one, but two purebred dogs.

Hireable Hank agreed with tip #3. And, while he doesn’t necessarily eat Wheaties for breakfast, he does make sure to eat an appropriate meal before each interview.



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