With this year’s college graduations in full swing, there are now thousands of kids joining the work force across the country. For many, this will be their first real, career-oriented job ever. Of course, times are still rough. This is not a surprise and has been covered in almost every publication for the past few years.
I graduated in 2011 and times were rough then too. It can take months to find a job these days. There are thousands of companies looking for “entry-level” jobs that need years of experience. This is because we are in a buyer’s market. The buyers, who are the employers, have their choice of hundreds of kids in their early 20s who need some way to start paying off an average of $29,400 in debt. The sellers, aka job seekers, are competing against an ever-growing crop of talent. Even the most basic jobs now have straight-A students competing for them.
So this is where we are, gentlemen. That’s the boring, hard truth. We are in an undesirable place. However, all hope isn’t lost. There are definitely things you can do to help your situation. In honor of an upcoming job opportunity your main man Erdi is going to knock out of the park, I decided to write up a little article to help some brothers out. Today, I want to focus on the one aspect of job hunting that dudes need to nail and have an opportunity to do so with just a few simple steps. That aspect is the interview.
I know, I know. You’re thinking this is unnecessary. You’re thinking you know everything there is to know about how to describe your five-year plan and how diplomatic to sound when asked about your three biggest weaknesses. That’s not what we’re here for. Believe it or not, there are men among us who don’t understand the basics. The basic basics. There are gentlemen among us who show up to an interview in cargo pants and a polo. This isn’t your summer job at the country club hombre. This is the real thing. Some people just don’t get it. They are unfortunate scrubs. Maybe you’re a scrub and you just don’t know it. Maybe you know some scrubs in which case, be a benevolent bro and share this with them. Don’t blame them though; they just weren’t schooled on the subject. Take colleges for example. If mine was any indication, only the business school ever made an effort to include lessons on how to act and how to prepare for these things. My department, English, didn’t try. God help the art kids and the STEM kids. I’m just saying don’t blame them. We all needed help one time or another and that’s what I’m here for.
Here are five basic tips nay, requirements for the modern man facing a job interview.
Wear a Suit, Everytime
I don’t understand the hesitation here. The job doesn’t matter. Whether you’re applying to a chemical engineering position at ConAgra or an entry-level IT position at Dunkin’ Donuts, it doesn’t matter. Wear a suit, specifically one that fits. Khakis and a button up are not enough. This isn’t GQ though, so I’m not going to talk about suit styles and three-buttons and cuts. I’m also not going to recommend you buy some thousand dollar suit from Emenegildo Zigna. I mean I am because that shit is fly but we’re poor graduates here so I get it. Wear a basic, grey pinstripe suit with a white button up shirt and a tasteful, quiet tie. Wear a belt and some leather shoes, preferably brown for both. That’s it. It doesn’t get any easier. I don’t want to hear any whining.
“But Erdi, even cheap suits are expensive!”
NO! Go to Goodwill bro. Unless you’re on one extreme end or the other of a sizing chart, there are suits for you. You can get a used suit that will fit you for 13 dollars at Goodwill. Don’t go out drinking the night before (which we will get to later,) save that money and buy yourself a goddamn suit. Get it dry cleaned and you’re done. Presto. Once you nail the interview using my tips, buy yourself two or three more suits! Go to Men’s Warehouse during their buy one get one sales. You can get 2 suits for $100. Do it.
Groom, for Pete’s Sake, Groom!
Look guys, I get it. I have been there. There is nothing sweeter than a spring beard and a shaggy (lack of) haircut. Boat shoes, scraggly beards, a tank and some wayfarers are the life. I know, I miss it too. But you can’t go talk to a real adult with your neck scruff and your just-got-out-of-bed look. It doesn’t work. Your professors didn’t give a shit but your boss will. Just do it and don’t whine about it. The grooming experience is becoming easier and easier for us. There are barbers devoted to making you get through it as easily as possible. Whether you’re looking for some cookie-cutter in and out experience like Supercuts or something local, cool and suave, go for it. Spend $30 bucks and get your hair cut, get a nice straight razor shave and tip your goddamn barber.
These little things are called investments. No, investments aren’t just those things your dads make when they go to Merrill Lynch. Investments are small sacrifices and costs you eat in the hopes that it will pay much more in the future. The clean look you achieve from a $30 session at the barber will help net you a job that pays a hell of a lot more than minimum wage. That shit is called paying dividends. Look it up.
Google Yourself (Because They Sure Will)
Ok, I know I’m veering into PSA territory over here but this needs to be said. Google yourself. Do it right now. Do it before your job interview and do it at least every three months after that. This isn’t some exercise in vanity. It certainly isn’t some attempt to “check yourself out in the mirror.” I’m sure you have great digital Pecs bro but that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to find out whether Steve’s hilarious Snapchat junior year when you had three blunts in your mouth isn’t in your Google Images results. We’re here to find out whether that picture from when you were passed out naked on your frat’s front lawn really did get deleted off Brittany’s phone or not.
Your employers are going to do the same thing. It’s not going to be cute. People are still super concerned with this stuff. Yeah yeah, I don’t agree with it either. Believe me, I’m a big fan of “my time is my time” but this is all a part of the image you’re trying to sell about yourself. Unfortunately, your sense of humor and brotitude won’t translate when Mortimer Duke finds you with your dick out with two bottles of Malt Liquor duct taped to your hands playing Edward Fourtyhands on page 2 of your Facebook images. Lock your profiles down.
Go through your shit and delete the really bad pictures. Depending on where you’re applying, delete the not so bad pictures. Sure yeah, if you’re working for a major company these days a picture of you calmly holding a Bud Light isn’t going to be a big deal. But that one where you’re ripping a sweet bong hit and blowing smoke? Get it the fuck out.
So ok, you’ve done the basics. You’ve come into the interview with undeniable proof that you are an upstanding, average member of society with no glaring faults. You look clean, you look good and you’re ready to sell yourself to these people so you can finally understand just how good Office Space was as a parody of American, white collar jobs and why Milton really was justified in torching the place at the end.
This next step is what will separate you from the aforementioned scrubs. Google your potential employer. Find out as much as you can about them. If you are lucky enough to know who will be interviewing you, find out about that person specifically. Google them and find out interesting details of their lives, a portfolio of their work, etc. I know you have a particular set of skills; skills that would make you an asset for people like them. But that’s not what you’re selling. You’re selling yourself. You need to show that you are a learner, a communicator, someone that can grow. You need to show that you can research, analyze and solve problems. You do that by relating to the people you will work with and learning things.
Imagine it as an exercise in picking up a girl you’re crushing on. You ask her friends, you ask your friends, you test the waters then you use your new-found knowledge of her desperate love for Kenny Chesney to your advantage by taking her to his concert. There is a similar approach here. If John Doe’s Google results include his research paper on the evolution of the market economy in the Southern Colonies and that somehow relates to what you’re trying to do, then mention it! Bring it up in conversation. People eat that shit up! Think about it this way. If anyone has ever found something out about you and used it to talk to you or flirt with you, remember how that feels. Remember how good it feels. That’s what we want here. That’s what will separate you from the boys.
It is imperative these days that you know what you’re getting into. It’s not unheard of for a third of your interview to be about them and who they are and what they do and whether you want into that. If you don’t know what you’re talking about it will be obvious. Don’t do it. Be prepared scout.
Be prepared, scout!
In fact, that’s my last piece of advice. Prepare yourself. Don’t stroll in five minutes before after a night out where you’re mildly hung over and hoping you can hold your beer farts in for two hours. Get a good night’s sleep. Look over your resume, letters and references one last time. Iron your shirt. Don’t drink. If you smoke cigarettes which, ew, then stop. Stop for the previous 24 hours. Do not get that shit in your suit. Take it from me (former smoker); people that don’t like smokers irrationally don’t like smokers. They hate smokers. They discriminate against smokers. No one wants to give you 15 minute breaks every two hours so you can smoke up outside and then come back and reek up the place. Quit. If you can’t, quit for the day before your interview. Many employers would much rather have someone who drinks after work a little more than they should rather than someone who smokes during work. That smell is everywhere and it is disgusting. Same for eCigs. This isn’t a Reel Big Fish show. Put your new-age bullshit eCig away. You look like a scrub.
Eat something before, but not immediately before. Don’t eat onions that day or garlic for that matter. Don’t eat a monster burrito right before so you’re struggling with gas and burp while talking about your excellent graduate independent study on Brain Computer – BRAAAAAAAAP – Interfaces. See how annoying that is? They’ll think so too, especially if they can smell the egg on your breath. Just don’t go in on an empty, rumbling stomach either.
Read over literature about the company one last time. Prepare to talk about yourself. Be pleasant, but not overly gushy. Be talkative but with brevity. Go with the flow and ask questions.
With these things done, you’re going to be in a much better place than you were before. You won’t be a scrub. You will impress whomever you’re talking to and convince them you are the right man for the job. Now, if you don’t have the social skills to actually be interviewed then you’re shit out of luck, at least for this article. We’ll cover that later.
For now, good luck and remember: you can do it bro.