Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Sweating the Small Stuff

  Sweating the Small Stuff, Executive Summary:

  • Be early for interview.
  • Network.
  • Dress up.
  • Do homework on company.

Sweating the Small Stuff: Avoiding Job Hunting Mistakes

Unless you like getting doors slammed in your face, it's often difficult to find work in today's sputtering economy. The good news is that most experts believe that there are more jobs available right now than since the beginning of the recession. The bad news? Far too many job seekers blow the opportunity by making dumb mistakes. Which reminds me of Mitch Faber who was arrested in Burnsville, MN. His crime? He failed to finish the re-siding project on his house. Yep, he was arrested, had to pay bail and was fitted for an electronic tracking bracelet over siding on his home. He thought he could be fined, but never imagined the lengths that authorities would go.
Mr. Faber discovered that the little things can get you in big trouble. It's no different in a job hunt. Two recent studies by Pace University and York College of hiring managers found the top four mistakes that young job hunters made that prevents them from being hired. But the lessons apply to all of us. The top four were: relying too much on job boards, 55%. Not dressing properly for the interview, 39%. Being late for the interview, 29%. And not preparing for the interview, 25%. Imagine that, one quarter of job seekers didn't take the time before the interview to figure out what the company did. Here are four strategies to improve your odds of getting hired.

Network. Job boards should be a part of every job search. But every study that I've seen says that for every person who gets a job through a job board, many more get hired through their personal contacts. Two great, and often overlooked, resources, college alumni offices and former coworkers. Networking remains the best way to find a job.

Dress up. Go to the location of the interview a few days before to watch how people dress and interact. Then on the day of your interview dress one notch above. For example, if they're in T-shirts, wear a dress shirt or nice blouse. Sure it's a bit of extra work, but it is a step that should give you an advantage over almost 40% of your competition.

Be early for interview. Not only is it rude to be late, often interviews are scheduled back-to-back-to-back, so if you're late you can through off the entire day for the interviewer. Plus when you arrive early it allows you to get a sense of the place and how formal, or informal, it is.

Do homework on company. Everyone should know by now to check out their website. But go deeper. Research the company in the business press and, if possible, visit one of their locations. Caring enough to prepare in advance will make you a lot more comfortable in the interview and tell them a lot about your character.

You know the phrase, "don't sweat the small stuff"? It applies great in life, but when it comes to job interviews, the little stuff often has a huge impact on getting hired.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

–Yogi Berra

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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