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Interview WTFs: Observations & Tips

A growing business is a blessing and a challenge. Hiring is one of the hardest endeavors, regardless of business size. When you have an entry-level position you are hiring for, you are most likely dealing with new grads or those with a year experience.

I have found these roles the most challenging to fill. The rule with the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) is to hire slow, fire fast. We definitely have the first one down. Culture is such a fickle thing, that is incredibly important to find someone that will integrate well into your team, as well as do an exceptional job. Maybe I am biased but I want anyone I hire to stay with 8THIRTYFOUR for a long period of time, if not forever. I realize this is not realistic, but a business owner can dream.

Some of the scenarios I have encountered along our hiring journeys are listed below along with recommendations.


When drafting your cover letter, be sure to address it to someone within the organization. If you are not sure who (try Google and their website), call the company and ask for a name.  Never, ever address a cover letter “Dear hiring manager.” We are a small team, I am the hiring manager.

Other “mishaps” that will automatically drop you out of the running:

  • Grammatical errors in your cover letter or resume. Seriously? Have someone proofread it or just run spellcheck.
  • Addressing the cover letter to the wrong person. I have no words for this one.
  • Having the name of the company you applied to previously…in the cover letter. Yeah, that’ll be a no for us.
  • Misspelling the name of my company. This shows me you really did your research.
  • Applying for the wrong position. Did you even read the job posting?
  • Taking several days to respond to an interview request. Clearly, you are ready for the hustle and bustle of agency life. Don’t use the spam excuse, you can check that daily.
  • Responding with salary requirements well outside the position range (when it is listed in the job posting). Thanks for wasting my time, also Google “cost of living in Grand Rapids vs. Chicago.”

The Interview

It can be nerve-wracking walking into a company and being cross-examined. Some of the scenarios we have encountered leave me completely baffled. Avoid these missteps.

  • Showing up excessively early, be there 5 to 7 minutes early. Do not show up 15 to 20 minutes early.
  • A limp handshake. Gross. A handshake should be firm, brief and strong.
  • Dressing too casually. Even if you are applying for a company that has a laidback dress code, show up looking polished in a blazer or other appropriate office wear.
  • Acting entitled. I have had interviewees request, in the interview, to work a 4 day week. Seriously?
  • Negotiating raises and a higher salary in the interview, after already giving us your salary requirements. This should go without saying, do not bring up money in an interview. There is plenty of time to discuss compensation, raise structure, holidays, vacation time….after the offer.
  • Preparing properly with research into the company should be a given. When asked why you are interested in working for us, have an answer prepared. Read recent blogs, review LinkedIn profiles, do a simple Google search and be prepared to ask questions on the company.

After The Interview

  • Follow-up is encouraged, to a certain extent. Calling the office every day, then cell phones, sending emails, thank you notes, etc. is a little over the top. We will let you know when a decision has been made.
  • Questioning the hiring process. Every candidate is different, meaning there are different interactions required prior to making a decision. Asking if “this is typical of your hiring process,” sends the entitlement vibe. Be thankful a company is investing in ensuring you are the right fit, so both parties don’t end up hoodwinked.
  • Reaching out to all current employees. To a certain extent, this is encouraged, however when asking intrusive and somewhat combative questions…just don’t.
  • If you are offered the job, congrats, don’t ask for a week to think it over. Don’t apply for the position, if your end goal is to not actually take the job.

I could go into more “what not to do” scenarios, but then this would turn into a novel. In my next blog, I’ll share stories of interviews that blew me away.

Have horror stories of your own? Share them in the comments below, please don’t let me be alone.

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2 Responses

  1. Don’t apply for a service job where you will be in close proximity with clients while you are reeking of cigarette smoke!

  2. Keep your junk in the trunk. I don’t want to see your bra or your underwear or anything they’re designed to cover up. I had a candidate drop her portfolio and bend over to pick it up, giving the interview panel a full thong view. Thank you, next!

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Hi, I'm Kim!
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