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Interview Insider

Those of you who have been keeping score know that I recently wrote about a very revealing self-help book titled, “Congratulations…You’re Hired.” What set this tome apart was that the authors were self-confessed “Human Resources Professionals.”

If the thrill of a HR Director tell-all sets your heart a flutter, you’ll be happy to hear a companion volume is available; it’s a prequel, really, titled “Congratulations…You Aced the Interview.”

Once again, we have to thank Patricia D. Sadar, Senior Professional in Human Resources; Certified Human Resources Executive; Masters in Business Administration; for exposing what life is like on the other side of the interviewer’s desk. Interestingly, she has a new collaborator for this volume, Pete Drolet. Drolet has no letters after his name, which suggests to me that he is not a joiner. Or, maybe, he tried to be a SPHR, CHRE, MBA, but failed to ace his interview.


No matter. According the book cover, this slim volume is the “must read interview guide to land the job of your dreams.” Once again, the authors adopt an autobahn analogy, offering “five roads to your destination,” complete with traffic signs, parking areas and the “Fast Lane to the Truth.” (Given our current economy, I’m surprised there is no “car-pool lane to the unemployment office.” Perhaps that will be in their next book, “Congratulations…Your Job is Moving to Moldavia.”)

Based on the insider information provided, it is instantly clear that the tiny brains of HR professionals are focused on the minutia of the interview process. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong when you “ensure that your hair-style and jewelry are conservative and non-distracting,” but it certainly suggests that for all his smarts, ain’t nobody going to hire Albert Einstein.

“Clean and polish your shoes,” is another insider tip. “The shoes you select should be business-like and in a solid, neutral color that complements your suit.” I suppose this means you won’t be wearing your lavender, leopard-skin Louboutins with the five-inch heels, despite being the first guy in the department to score a pair.

Frankly, the idea of spending hours navigating the thorny problems of shoe selection is so daunting that I suggest you don’t wear any shoes at all. Of course, you should feel free to clean and polish your feet.

HR maven Sadar is adamant about the need to “know the company’s mission, vision, values and products or services.” I think this is a mistake. You’ll definitely stand out when you announce you have no idea what the company does and really don’t care. “I’m all about getting a paycheck,” you can say with complete integrity. “If I have to pollute the environment, or create massive health risks, or do something completely illegal, it’s OK by me.”

That kind of can-do attitude will not only get you hired, it will definitely get you promoted.

To help you shape your interview persona, the authors provide a list of the “Top 10 Qualities Employers Seek in Job Candidates.” The top three qualities are: communication skills, strong work ethic and teamwork skills. Since you are a lazy, loner zombie, a successful interview outcome may require you to go directly to quality No. 11 — the willingness to work for very low wages.

Hey, you may not be qualified, but you are cheap.

The book concludes with a summary of the various types of interviews and how to ace them. For example, there’s the telephone interview. The authors list 10 tips for handling this kind of interview, but I think there’s really only one requirement of any importance — make sure you have a telephone.

A face-to-face interview requires that you “listen fully, maintain eye contact and build rapport.” Forget about the listening and rapport parts, but maintaining eye contact is not difficult. Before the interview, visit an optometrist and have your eyes dilated. Stare unblinkingly throughout the interview, and chances are, the HR person will give you the job just to get you out of their office.

For a “meal interview” you want to be careful that your order “is conservative in price,” and to “drink only non-alcoholic beverages regardless of what they may drink.” I recommend you bring your food with you. Pulling a leg of lamb out of your coat pocket will show that you’re thrifty. I do agree with the prohibition against drinking. Get hammered before the interview. That way you’ll be more interesting and the HR professional will be less dull.

Just remember to excuse yourself before you yak on the interviewer. No doubt they’ve spent hours cleaning and polishing their business-like shoes.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at


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