Several weeks ago a close friend of mine who is also a small business owner set out to hire a new employee. After posting the position, she screened the resumes and selected two candidates to receive an interview. After calling the first job seeker (let’s call him John) to confirm the interview, the first question he asked was “How much is the pay?” That was his first mistake. From the perspective of the hiring manager, he was more concerned with what he stood to get out of the job rather than showing what value the employer stood to gain from hiring him. His second mistake was that he did not know which job it was that he applied to. She promptly cancelled his interview.
John lost the race to find a job before the starting gun was ever fired. Not only did he mention pay way too early in the process, but his attention to detail (a critical job skill) left much to be desired. The pay range was listed in the job description. And yes, I get it, when you’re in the middle of a job search it’s not inconceivable that you would lose track of the positions to which you have applied. But, your credibility depends on being able to keep them straight. Make use of a spreadsheet or document of some sort to stay organized.
Let’s be clear, I don’t blame him for this job search faux pas. He simply didn’t know. However, when you need a job, you can’t afford to make these types of seemingly harmless mistakes. The most unfortunate thing about this situation is John missed out on an opportunity that he very well could have been qualified for simply because he threw up a red flag for the employer before the hiring process even started.
Instead of asking about pay right from the start, John should have expressed excitement about the opportunity and thanked the hiring manager for the chance to interview. Once he receives an offer, then a serious conversation about pay can begin.
The hiring manager then placed a call to the second job seeker (let’s call her Ashley) to schedule an interview. Ashley then abruptly asked for the job responsibilities (all of which were included in the job description) because she is “…so busy working and she didn’t want to waste her time coming in to interview if the job is not going to be what she thinks it is”. What a turn off for the hiring manager! That’s like going on a first dinner date and opening the conversation with “Are you open to getting married in the next 6 months? Let me know now, so that I don’t waste my time in a relationship that’s not going anywhere.” Can we order the appetizer first before we plan our life together??? There is something called “finesse” that this candidate failed to deploy. Her interview was also…..Cancelled.
No employer would want to hire someone with the attitude that Ashley demonstrated before ever interviewing for the position. Ashley should have graciously accepted the interview, which, I might add is where you and the employer can determine mutual “fit”. What I mean by that is Ashley would’ve been able to tell if the company and the role was right for her after she had the chance to meet the hiring manager and the other people with whom she would be working. Most, if not all of her questions would’ve been answered during the interview process. The key is to ask questions intelligently while also demonstrating your knowledge of the company and its operations. By doing this, you are selling yourself to the employer while also getting the information that you need to make a decision on whether the job is for you.
Any person can make mistakes like these, but they can be prevented. The bottom line is that your interview starts from the very first interaction. Don’t take for granted every opportunity that you have to make a great impression! You just may get the job in the end.