A young man entered the studio reception this week, looking for a job. Sadly since the pandemic, we are struggling to keep the 7 staff we still have occupied, so I was unable to offer him anything. However I spent half an hour advising him on what he should do if he wants to work in the music industry. I hope that the advice was useful. I thought it might be useful to share the advice I gave. I applauded his efforts, if we had been looking, I probably would have seriously considered employing him. Here are some tips for interviews and job hunting.
1. Do your homework. If you want to work for someone, you need to sell yourself. If employers have multiple candidates, they will pick the best one. If you want the job, the best one has to be you. So work out what the company requires from their staff and make sure that you tick all the boxes. My company is a music services company. Ideally we want people who are musicians and knowledgeable about the equipment and the industry. We also employ young people and students and train them up, so we look for people who show a degree of initiative. We would always choose a candidate who will be producive immediately and demonstrates potential to develop.
2. Be early for the interview. I would not suggest arriving an hour early., but I'd always ensure I arrive ten minutes early. That should allow you to observe the operation and prepare yourself for the interview. If you get held up by transport issues, ring and explain that you will be late and why. Just turning up late will almost certainly put off an employer.
3. Make sure you are well presented. We are not an environment where our staff are required to wear suits or business attire, but if candidates are well presented, it says to me that they are making an effort and that ticks a box. If it is a professional environment, dress accordingly.
4. Check out the person who is interviewing you on Linkedin. Most professional people are on Linkedin. If you have a look at someones profile, you can get some idea of their skills and interests. This will give you some idea of how to build a rapport.
5. Never bad mouth your previous employers. Most employers ask why you are looking to move jobs or why you left your last job. If it was because it was an awful company, it does not reflect well on you to say "It was terrible and I hated my boss". It is far better to say "The opportunities to progress were a bit limited and I wanted a new challenge".
6. If you are asked about your previous role, give real life examples of where you made a positive difference. If you are looking to step up the ladder and are moving to a more senior position, give examples of where you covered for your boss or assisted them. If you are new to the world of employment, give examples of where you have demonstrated initiative, leadership or innovation. That could be in a sports team, club, scouts etc.
7. Prepare your responses. Most employers ask the same questions. Why do you want to work here, what did you do previously, what are your interests, have you done similar roles. Work out how you will answer these to portray yourself in the best possible light.
8. Be honest with your employer. Never tell porkies to make yourself look better. You will get caught out and that will not work out well.
9. Be honest with yourself. No one is perfect. An employer will not expect perfection. If you get asked a difficult question that you weren't expecting and can't give a positive answer, such as if they say there is a required skill that you don't have, or if they say they are looking for someone with more experience, which wasn't mentioned in the resume, don't get flustered. Just state that you were unaware that these were requirements and that you would be more than happy to get training or to be mentored to improve.
10. Check your social media history. Most astute employers will have a look at your online profile for all but the most menial jobs. If you've spent your life ranting on Twitter, they will see this and it may put them off. I'd be very tempted to delete any posts that you think may put an employer off. Of course for some jobs a strong social media profile is a very postive thing, so going back to point 1. Do your homework!