Interview Breakers

The experts tell us the economy’s up. Let’s hope so. For starters, all those resumes and letters you’ve been sending may actually land you an interview. Whether it’s your first time out in years or your first time out ever, honest, professional presentation is crucial.

And so is avoiding errors in judgment. In over 30 years of business, I’ve seen probably every misstep a person can make when applying to Epoch 5 Public Relations. Sometimes it’s the small stuff that derails an otherwise good candidate.

Recently, a colleague told me about an applicant who liberally doused herself in perfume prior to the interview. As the interview progressed and the cloud of sickly sweet odor hung in the air, the interviewer could only think of one thing: “I’ll never last in the same office with her every day!”

Then there was the applicant who came into my office, took off his backpack and put his ice-cold water bottle on my wooden desk. As the water ran down the side of the bottle and pooled, he leaned back in his chair and told me that he was “a big picture guy,” not a detail person. Since a 22-year-old “big picture guy” wasn’t what we needed, I escorted him to the door—and quickly wiped off my desk.

Just this week, I received an email that stated, “In college I have gained vast knowledge within the communications domain.” OK, starting with the fact that no one in college gains “vast” knowledge, what the heck is the “communications domain?” Don’t overstate your experience, particularly if you are applying for your first job.

From Sue Fredericks, President of One Purpose Performance, came dozens more experiences. One that she offered up: “My chair was across from the applicant. He moved his chair very close to mine…so our knees were almost touching. I moved my chair back…he moved his chair forward…again. Unsure of his motives, I confronted him. He then told me he had read in a ‘how to’ interview book that open body language and closeness were particularly important.”

Our latest hire? Megan. She applied online with a letter that was intelligent, grammatically correct and demonstrated that she took the time to learn about our agency. It was an A+ effort and she’s been an A+ hire for Epoch 5.