Just as the digital world is constantly changing, so are the players, which means that many of us are always on the lookout for talent. While running several offices as a sales exec, I have interviewed everyone from sales reps, marketers, and account managers to planners, designers, and assistants. Through the years, it is still surprising to see how some people conduct themselves in a job interview. So, if you don't want to be hired, here are a few recommendations:
Know nothing about the company for which you are interviewing
Yes, there are similarly named companies in the digital space with comparable offerings, which may cause confusion, but that is no excuse for not doing your homework.
With many online sources available, it isn't complicated to obtain basic background information about the company for which you are hoping to work. It astounds me when I am sitting across from someone and they don't know the company's business model. For example, one ill-prepared candidate told me that she has used the PointRoll video player for years and that it is really easy to download. As PointRoll is a cross-channel digital ad server specializing in interactive, rich creative, DCO, and advanced analytics, we don't have a proprietary video player -- we work with several providers and seamlessly integrate with many based on our clients' needs.
Bottom line: If you don't bother to spend time prepping for the most critical interview of your professional life, how ready are you going to be to meet a client?
Complain bitterly about your last employer
No matter how many times people are told never to disparage any place they have worked, they still do it. Collaborating and working well with all types of people is a necessary skill to being a good team player and highly successful. Having a problem with a previous employer is not a success metric. If you didn't like or get along with a past manager, how do I know you aren't the problem? As soon as a candidate admits he or she had issues with management, a siren goes off in my head and I am on to the next person.
Treat the job interview as a confessional
"Are you going to check my credit? Cuz it is really bad;" "I was dating my boss, but he cheated on me;" "I don't want to work that hard;" "I am used to people kissing my ass, and I like it;" "My mother doesn't get why I make so much money." These are just a few statements I've heard during interviews that have left me wondering if I am being "Punk'd."
- Flirt: It is hard to fathom, but I have actually had people flirt with me during an interview. Flirting does not endear you to a potential employer unless you are meeting with Larry Flynt. It's a creepy and audacious tactic; but ambition sometimes knows no boundaries.
Once, I was sitting across from a male candidate when suddenly he paused, looked deeply into my eyes, and mustered up a twinkle that reminded me of Ted Bundy during his "dating" years. He is thinking, "I am going to kill her with charm," and I am thinking, "He is going to kill me."
- Wear something inappropriate or look like you just rolled out of bed (or better yet, both!): Even though I am in LA, showing off too much cleavage and too much leg doesn't work unless you are auditioning for the role of a sales director on the new version of "Dallas."
I met with a male candidate whose white shirt was so wrinkled that it looked like he had bunched it up into a ball and stomped on it 15 minutes before coming into the room. Then there was the candidate who looked like she'd just come in from a bender on Hollywood Boulevard.
Presentation is incredibly important in sales, so be presentable -- and clean. Or, if you don't want the gig, opt for sloppy, and if you really don't want the gig, go as a sexy slob.