Hello, and welcome back to “Gracie Meets…”! I’ve invited Mr. Chris Solomon back onto the show today. Last time he was on the show, he and I talked about applying for a job. But this week, we’re going to be talking about interviews. Take a listen to learn all about preparing for an interview!
Cover Art: Kyleigh Kinsey. Instagram: @ato._.noodle
Gracie Solomon 00:11
Hello, and welcome back to Gracie Meets… I’ve invited Mr. Chris Solomon back onto the show today. Last time he was on the show, he and I talked about applying for a job. But this week, we’re going to be talking about interviews.
Chris Solomon 00:23
Hi, everyone. Thanks for having me back, Gracie.
Gracie Solomon 00:25
So let’s jump right into this. Is there anything a teenager can do to make themselves the in quotes “better hire”?
Chris Solomon 00:32
That’s an awesome question, Gracie. I’m glad you asked that. So we’re gonna look a little bit at marketing. So when a company has a product to sell, how does it generate buzz for that product?
Gracie Solomon 00:46
Chris Solomon 00:48
You got it. So when you’re applying for a job, though, you’re the product. I hope that makes sense.
Gracie Solomon 00:56
Chris Solomon 00:57
Well, not exactly. In other words, from the moment you begin looking for a job you’re working, your product is you. So just like any company, you have to market your product. But how do you market or advertise yourself to generate buzz? I like to call this the attractive traits model. Now, I’m not an expert, but I have held quite a few jobs in my day, as well as being a manager in the military. So I’ve seen examples of people who have done the right things, and unfortunately, the wrong things. We want to do the right things, and make the manager take a chance on you, especially when you are a total unknown. In fact, we want the manager to take the chance on you over all other people who may be applying for that same job. So we have to market ourselves to make us the more attractive hire. We can do that by following the attractive traits model.
Gracie Solomon 01:52
Oh, I see. So what kind of attractive traits would a manager want to see?
Chris Solomon 01:57
All right when a manager is looking for someone to hire You want to appeal to some of the traits that are demonstrated by successful employees? Right? There are five traits that everyone, I don’t care who you are, everyone can demonstrate, to help make themselves stand out. And they are punctuality and dependability, pride in yourself and your work, professionalism, confidence. And lastly, attentiveness. I listed all these in this order for a reason. They flow with a sort of timeline of the interview process.
Gracie Solomon 02:29
Those seem like some great traits that I feel would get anyone’s attention, like, especially at school as well, because these things all like have some great things that people like. So and you also mentioned them in an order so why don’t we start with punctuality and dependability?
Chris Solomon 02:49
Okay, so this one is such a hot topic with employers. If they hire someone, they’re depending on you to be there to fulfill your role in the workplace during your scheduled shifts. How can they be sure you’re going to fulfill your end of the agreement? Well, the easiest way is to show them from the very beginning. There was a saying in the Air Force, if you if you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time you’re late. So this is basically saying leave early to arrive before your interview time. 10 minutes is a good goal here. If you arrive 10 minutes early, the manager will see that you’re punctual and it shows that they can depend on you to be there for your shifts. Now, could a person who is less than punctual or dependable show up early? Sure, and it happens more than employers would like to admit, unfortunately, but you’re not one of those people right?
Gracie Solomon 03:38
Right. So what about pride? I’ve heard of pride before but not really in a good way. So how would this be a good trait?
Chris Solomon 03:47
Alright, so with pride, there are two areas and they’re both super easy to show to a prospective employer, pride in yourself and pride in your work. This is as simple as dressing for success. You represent yourself and your family the second you walk out your front door. If you dress and baggy pants and a ripped t shirt while it may be trendy, it’s not the image that companies want to portray to their customers. Just as when you strap on that iconic chick fil a red Polo and oval name tag, you represent that manager, that store, and in fact that whole corporation. Don’t get me wrong the dress code for example, Hot Topic versus the dress code of Walmart versus the dress code for the US Air Force are miles apart in nearly every aspect. Again, like I told you on our last few visit, the old saying here is dressed for the job you want, not the one you’ve got. If you want to work at Hot Topic, you may dress a little different for that interview than you would if you were interviewing for a position at Walmart. A good rule of thumb though, is with all of them remove any multiple piercings guys should remove all piercings all together, cover any tattoos, maybe do your hair so it doesn’t look like he just rolled out of bed, etc. Again, I must stress that while these things may be trendy and socially acceptable at school, they don’t always translate to an employment world. Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure. The same goes for pride in your work too. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. If you’re proud of something, you don’t want to hide it right. So far your work has been limited to school or sports or your musical instruments. All these things can be used to show that you have pride in your work. Player of the Week, outstanding ratings in solo competition, straight A students, all these things you should be very proud of. And hey, they may actually help you land a job.
Gracie Solomon 05:41
So we should put ourselves out there but not boastfully.
Chris Solomon 05:43
Gracie Solomon 05:44
How do you explain professionalism?
Chris Solomon 05:48
Okay, so we can say that all these traits discussed so far makeup professionalism, honestly, but to me, there’s one extra thing here and it’s insanely simple too. One thing that anyone can do to show someone they are professional, make eye contact. If you can make eye contact with a manager during your job interview, arguably, one of the most stressful situations that a high schooler could be in, the manager can reasonably assume that you will do the same for their customers. You can put aside any fears or stressors you have to make that eye contact. Remember, you represent the manager, the store, and the corporation when you’re wearing their uniform. You don’t want to lock into a death stare and awkward gaze but making eye contact shows you are there and listening and ready to respond when needed. It’s pretty easy, right?
Gracie Solomon 06:40
Yeah, I have trouble making eye contact with people because, like, I just, it’s awkward and but I’ve learned not to look straight into the person’s eyes, but instead of looking at their nose or their forehead to help ease some of that anxiety and I feel like confidence also has a lot to do with that, too.
Chris Solomon 07:02
So what do you need to do to build confidence? It’s one word. And it’s really simple. And that’s practice. That’s right, just as you gain competence and multiplication by drilling math facts, and you gain confidence in you, you can gain confidence in interviewing by practicing with a mock interview. And the cool thing about this is anyone can help you, your friends, your siblings, whoever, honestly, even yourself in a mirror is good here. They taught us that in the military, look in the mirror and give a speech, look in the mirror and do a presentation that you have to do; it’s practice. Just know though you will never be 100% ready for an interview. Even being 36 years old interviewing with the current company that I’m with, I was nervous. The cool thing about this though, the manager knows you’re nervous too. So don’t stress out about being nervous.
Gracie Solomon 07:51
I remember I had to interview to get into the athletic training program at school. And it was my first real interview for something that I wanted to do. So it was very nerve wracking. But after practicing for a couple of days, I felt pretty prepared. One of the things I knew the coach was looking for was attended this and I know that that’s one of your attractive traits that you mentioned. So if you want to explain that.
Chris Solomon 08:17
Okay, Gracie, this is the last one. That’s attentiveness. Again, super simple thing here. Ask questions. If you have a question, ask it. Now don’t just ask a question to fill time. I’m sure most of us probably heard from our parents at one time or another you talk just to hear yourself speak. Well, okay, I did anyway. Any question you ask in an interview should be purposeful and on topic. So in our case here, about the job you’re interviewing for, it’s never wrong to ask questions for clarification. Say for example, you don’t fully understand a question that was asked. For me. I recall I was asked when I had to work out a problem between coworkers. I had to stop and clarify if they meant between me and a coworker or if they were actually how I handled helping to coworkers work through a problem they were having. I had done both but I wanted to make sure I was giving the answer they wanted to hear. I didn’t want to waste my time or theirs, simply because I didn’t understand a question they were asking me. A lot of interviews, even end with a manager asking, do you have any questions for me? This is a great time to ask something on topic, again, on topic. And a lot of experts say you should have a question ready to ask here. Things like what’s the work environment like? Does the company offer upward mobility? Things like those show you’re interested, and the second actually shows you’re looking to stick around. Can you say dependability? Asking something like So when do I start isn’t what they’re looking for here though? You want to be confident but you don’t want to be cocky.
Gracie Solomon 09:52
I see. How about an example for the listeners to better understand?
Chris Solomon 09:56
Alright, let me preface this. I am in no way affiliated with this place, I just want to milkshake and I learned something about this place that I didn’t know. So I’m going to use them in this completely fictitious account. So let’s say you’re your manager, right? You have a position at the best milkshake shop in Texas, apparently is I just found out this is Chill… The Milkshake Bar in Spring, Texas. Congratulations. If you’re listening. And you have two applicants. It’s a high stress being the manager at chill since you know it’s the best in Texas, which is a pretty big deal. So you look over the applications and the two applicants are alike and seemingly every way on paper. What do you do?
Gracie Solomon 10:37
I would ask them in for an interview.
Chris Solomon 10:40
That’s right time to separate the wheat from the chaff as they say. So the day of the interview arrives, you walk out of your corner office and see one of the two people sitting there. And as you’re walking out the other comes running in nearly out of breath. So while we’re doing this, I want you to remember to remember the attractive traits model. What’s the first thing you see, Gracie?
Gracie Solomon 11:00
Well, one of the people was there early and the other person came in right as the interview was supposed to start.
Chris Solomon 11:05
That’s right. Candidate one was on time, candidate two technically wasn’t. Yeah, they got there right at the buzzer, but, could there be a valid reason? Sure. Maybe he had a flat tire and needed to change it maybe stopped and revived a baby seal who got hit crossing the street. The manager will ask and we’ll judge candidates based on their response. So right now, it’s one to nothing in favor of candidate one. So next is the manager you start to compare both candidates since they’re both in front of you. Candidate one is dressed in blue jeans and a polo shirt hair nicely done, and all the clothes are wrinkle free. Candidate two is dressed in pajama bottoms, a T shirt and a beanie. Who made the best impression?
Gracie Solomon 11:47
I would say probably candidate one because they’re wearing nice clothes and look presentable.
Chris Solomon 11:52
Okay, so two to nothing in favor candidate one. And honestly candidate two would be lucky to even be invited in the interview room at this point. For the sake of the example though, let’s continue. So as you interview both candidates you notice candidate one gave you a firm handshake upon being greeted well-spoken makes eye contact with you, while candidate to try to give you an awkward high five on the way by you enter the room slouched in his chair and is looking out the window looking down at the carpet drawing circles with their foot, you know, just it’s not your normal nervous movement, and he almost seems disinterested. So how do you score it?
Gracie Solomon 12:28
Candidate one seems to be doing much better in this race.
Chris Solomon 12:31
Yep. Unfortunately, it isn’t going well for candidate two. Honestly, I’d be asking candidate two other questions like if they’re okay if they needed something, maybe even trying to get to the bottom of an underlying issue they have, but that’s a topic for another day. The candidates are just so far apart right now, to be so comparable on a paper application. As the interview went on, you notice the candidate one was eager and asking questions about making milkshakes normal duties on the shift he might be asked to work, what she’ll did to become even the best in Texas. Meanwhile, candidate two’s interview lasted about 3.2 minutes and consisted of him giving straight yes or no answers even to the question, what’s your favorite ice cream topping? He simply said, Yes. He really is in a downward spiral here. Should I even ask what the score is?
Gracie Solomon 13:18
No, but it seems like candidate two lost his chance since the second scenario
Chris Solomon 13:22
Poor guy has done himself in. You almost feel bad for him in a way. He is tragically lost at this point. Finally, as the interview is concluding, you ask the candidates if they have any questions, candidate one asks, so if hired What’s one thing you think I’ll enjoy most about working here? Candidate to finally asks, you have a phone so I can call an Uber? I have a job interview across town and my cell battery died. You know, I couldn’t I couldn’t end it without one more hopeless example of a guy that just can’t get out of his own way. It’s obvious that this is probably the most extreme example of a good versus a bad interview performance that could possibly ever happen, but it’s fun to illustrate in a sort of comical way. See, all these things are so simple to do. And each one helps you to market the product that is you two perspective managers will following the attractive traits model alone ace your interview? Not at all. But what it will do is help you feel a bit more at ease going into an interview room. I mean, some of you might never have been there before. So anything is going to help. So why not take these five things these five simple things just take them totally off your mind. So as you can see, the attractive traits model follows that timeline. You’re asked to interview you arrive early dressed well you make eye contact and answer some questions. Then you pay attention and ask questions if needed. Nice and logical flow from start to finish.
Gracie Solomon 14:50
Those five tips were definitely helpful. Up until now, I didn’t even really know that there were attractive traits that a manager would look for other than overall hard work and present ability. Thanks for helping.
Chris Solomon 15:02
Thanks for having me again. I hope you all gained a little bit of an idea on how to market yourself to a prospective employer. I look forward to coming back and talking to you again sometime. Now let me get a milkshake!
Gracie Solomon 15:13
Mr. Chris gave great tips about what interviewers look for when you interview for a job. He talked about five different things managers look for which were punctuality and dependability, pride, professionalism, confidence and attentiveness. He also mentioned the age old phrase, dress for the job you want not the job you have. Your future boss wants to portray the best image possible for their business. So if you follow these simple tips, you will most likely be the best applicant on both paper and in person. No normal person could be confident and attentive. But then again, show me a normal teenager. Thanks for listening.
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