Securing Favorable Attention
Suppose that you succeed in securing an interview. What will you do? The first thing you should attempt is the same thing a salesman should attempt in a sales interview, namely, to secure favorable attention. You cannot be too careful of your personal appearance when you are applying for a position. Unpressed clothing, unpolished shoes, dirty fingernails, soiled linen, poor posture - any one of these may result in your being dropped from the consideration of an employer. Many employers are opposed to girls smoking, and a few dislike to see young men smoking. Be careful, therefore, that you do not approach the interview with tobacco-stained fingers or with your clothing and breath smelling of tobacco. Above everything else, never smoke while in the employer's office; and if you chew gum, get rid of it before entering the office.
Care in personal appearance does not mean going to extremes. Many employers object very much to extremes in dress. neither sport clothes nor party clothes, however, neat or becoming they may be, are suitable for business wear. You should avoid them when applying for a position. If you expect to be considered for a business position, you should have a business-like appearance.
Apperance, however is not the only factor in securing favorable or unfavorable attention. Your voice, your opening remarks, the correctness of your English - all these will result in favorable or unfavorable attention. Much will also depend upon your manner of approach. You should be confident in your bearing, with no outward signs of being afraid; you should have a pleasant expression on your face; and, above all, you should be courteous in your manner.
Upon entering the office of the employer, stand erect until he has asked you to be seated. If he is busy when you first enter, wait patiently for him to recognize you; while waiting, do not lean on a chair, on a desk or against the wall. Do not offer to shake hands; let the employer make the first move. Do not greet him with a free-and-easy remark; and above all, do not try to be funny. Making "wisecracks" is a certain way to kill your chances to get a position.
Use Correct English.We have learned of the importance of good English. It is perhaps even more important to the person applying for a position. If an applicant makes mistakes in grammar, either a letter of application or in a personal interview, a business official will hesitate to employ him as a stenographer, a correspondent, or a salesperson or in any other capacity in which he must use English extensively in his daily work.
Avoid slang. Even though some employers do not object to slang, and may even use it themselves, the fact remains that others do object to it. Since you do not know, when applying for a position, what an employer's attitude may be regarding slang, there is only one safe thing to do - avoid it.
Interesting the Employer
A plan should be followed in applying for a position. The self-analysis that you make will familiarize you with your most desirable qualities. Of course, not all these qualities will be of interest to any one employer. One employer will be interested in some of your educational qualifications and some of your working or personal experiences; other employers will be interested in quite different experiences and qualifications.
You should emphasize your qualifications that particularly fill the needs of the employer who is interviewing you, and show how they can be an asset to his business. If, for example, the employer is in need of a stenographer you should stress your ability to write shorthand, to operate the typewritter, and to use correct English; and you should indicate that you can get work done quickly and efficiently. You may have studied a great deal of mathematics while in school, but there would be no advantage in stressing this fact, since mathematics will not fill the needs of the employer in this case. You may have had a little experience in selling; this will be appreciated because your selling experience will prepare you to meet those who call at the office. On the other hand, you may also have worked one summer in a factory, but this experience may not interest the employer, for it will have no direct bearing on your work as a stenographer.
Or, let us suppose that the employer is in need of a bookkeeper. In this case, even though you are especially proficient in shorthand, there would be no reason for stressing your shorhand skill. Instead, you should emphasize the amount of work you have had in bookkeeping and, perhaps, even the amount of work you have had in mathematics, since mathematics is related to bookkeeping. Possibly neither your selling experience nor your factory experience would be of much help in a bookkeeping position, so you may mention them only casually. Remember that the important thing is to discover the needs of the employer, and then to prove to him that you have the qualifications that fill his needs.
On the other hand, do not withhold information simply because you think it unimportant. Many employers want reasonably complete history of all the applicant's experiences. The employer of a stenographer may want someone that has had a breadth of experience. He may feel that the summer in the factory taught some valuable lessons. So while you stress what you feel is important, talk frankly of other experiences if the employer shows an interest in them.
Creating A Desire For Your Services
It was also pointed out on some Sales and Marketing books that a desire for a particular product may be created by appealing to the prospect's reason. Several ways of appealing to reason were discussed; these same ways may be used in applying for a position. For example it was suggested that a salesman may use facts and figures in creating a desire for merchandise. Facts and figures may also be used in creating a desire for your services. Thus, you may give figures regarding your speed in shorthand or typewriting, or facts regarding the amount of experience you have had at various kinds of work. In case you are applying for a sales position and have had selling experience, you may give figures regarding the value of the goods you have sold.
Another way in which the salesman can appeal to the prospect's reason is by presenting testimony of those who have used the salesman's goods. Testimony may likewise be given by applicants for positions. A letter of recommendation from a former employer is a form of testimony, corresponding to a testimonial letter written by one who has used an article.
Letters of recommendation carried by applicants and addressed "To Whom It May Concern" have little value. Most employers prefer to have applicants gives the names of references to whom they can write or telephone. Hence, it is desirable, before going for an interview, to secure permission from four or five people to use their names as references.
Ordinarily former employers and teachers are the best references you can give. If you have had no business experience and therefore, cannot give the names of former employers, you should give the names of businessmen who know you. Always indicate the occupation of anyone whom you use as a reference. Do not give the names of relatives or of ordinary workmen, or they are of little value as references.