The other day, Gawker ran an article entitled, “Millennial Guidebook: 11 Things Not To Do In Your Job Interview.” When you read the tips — which include such gems as “Don’t bring a cat or any other animal unless it can be discreetly concealed in your pocket or purse for the duration of the interview” — it’s hard not to assume these are just another sarcastic dose of humor from the quirky pop culture site.
Unfortunately for both job seekers and employers, these tips are not some kind of sick joke — at least as far as the cat goes. According to USA Today, some of today’s 21st Century twentysomethings really are bringing their cats to interviews.
Said the American Eagle recruiter who interviewed the girl with the cat, “It hit me like, why would you think that’s OK? She cut herself off before she had a chance.”
And that’s not all. Our recent college grads are also answering their smartphones during interviews, bring their parents to interviews and just plain acting unprofessionally during interviews. Whether it’s texting during a meeting with an employer (a big no-no) or showing up in casual clothes (another big no-can-do), recruiters say the Millennial generation has lost the art of the job interview. And the lack of business smarts during the job application process is an indication of an even larger problem: about half of HR executives say most recent college grads aren’t professional during their first year on the job.
To be fair, knowing how to act at a job interview isn’t easy. The definition of “professionalism” can vary greatly among fields and employers. One company’s business casual, for instance, can mean a collared dress shirt and tie without the suit jacket. Another’s can be yoga pants. That’s why it’s crucial to get a true feel for your potential employer before going in for the interview (and ideally, before submitting your resume and cover letter). Get to know the workplace culture as much as you can, and if you’re still not sure how to dress or act during an interview, always err on the side of professional. Take it from our career consultants: it’s better to be a little overdressed and overprepared than to show up with jeans and an informal attitude.
Not sure how to act at your big interview? We’re here to help. Whether we’re creating your resume or offering guidance on your career goals, we’ll help you fine-tune how you interact with potential employers so that the best version of you shines through. (Notice we didn’t say the best version of you and your cat!) Whether you’re in Los Angeles like us or in another time zone, Write In Color will ensure you’ve got a resume, cover letter and interview strategy that knock an employer’s socks off.
Just for fun, here are some of the other tips from Gawker: Don’t sit in your interviewer’s lap and put her necklace in your mouth. Don’t steal your interviewer’s wallet; this is but a temporary solution to your money problems. And then there’s our personal favorite: Don’t attack your interviewer.