Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Applying for Jobs {Part 2}

This is the second post in my uber mini-series about applying and interviewing for jobs. I've hired a fair amount of staff {and interviewed more}, and I've noticed some common mistakes that I want you to avoid. You can read my first post here.

In this post I'm continuing on my original list:
5. Asking too many questions: Don't get me wrong. I love questions, and I love asking them myself. However, in an interview, I give a LOT of information about the position, our organization, pay, time-off, qualifications, facilities, etc. In a phone interview situation like that, take notes. If you miss something and want to ask about it, preface with "I know you mentioned this, but I missed it or I wasn't clear on something." Don't stick to your pre-made list of questions of which the answers were already covered. And, after you're hired, I send out an information packet. Read. It.

6. Being unprofessional: Yes, it's camp. Yes, it's super casual and you get to wear your swimsuit around all day and depending on the camp flip flops/sandals/etc. Yeah, you don't have to always brush your hair or shower and you'll make a fool of yourself singing ridiculous songs all summer. But, I'm still your potential boss. Be professional. One word e-mails, messages which don't leave your name {I call a LOT of people}, etc. are not helpful, and will put another candidate above you.

7. Not selling yourself: A good portion of my interviews are surprises for people. I generally call and say "Hi, I'm the camp director at that camp you applied for, do you have a few minutes?" So, I know people don't have a whole lot of time to prepare/practice {something I highly recommend if you have time}. But, I ask questions designed to make you think fast on your feet. There really aren't any wrong answers. What's important when you apply for any job is to know yourself, your experiences, and know a little bit about the organization you're applying for {do some digging when you apply}. Also, have an "elevator speech" ready-to-go when you start filling out applications. This is doubly important if your interview is NOT a surprise. If you know you have an interview coming up, do your research and practice.

8. Making Demands: In some ways, working for me is flexible. Because I hire temporary summer staff I have a lot of power to work around schedules, family reunions, etc. However, the time to ask about those things is NOT in the initial e-mail or phone call we have. You should wait until I'm discussing dates, availability, etc. in the interview. By starting an e-mail with "I need to know this, because I won't work at this time" does not make me want to even set up an interview with you, let alone offer you a position.

9. Not using spell check/grammar check:  Kind of a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at how many typos I see on resumes and misspelled words I see on applications. Unprofessional.

Well, that was a long list! Feel free to leave your thoughts/observations in the comment section!


  1. Great tips! I think it's really important to interview well, despite the formality of the job!

  2. Definitely agree about the typos. We had to make up a resume for a class recently and I was looking at some past student's assignments to get an idea for a layout and I was shocked to see how many typos there were! Hopefully these were not sent in to an employer in that condition.