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10 Tips to Impress HR

Tips for Interviewing with HRThe interview process nearly always includes a sit down with human resources as well as your potential future boss and colleagues. The folks in HR don't know the most about the day-to-day requirements of the position being filled and they're unlikely to have to deal with whoever gets the gig on a daily basis, so what exactly are they looking for and how do they determine whether you've made the cut?
Recently, opinionated blogger and experienced HR pro Laurie Ruettimann gives us job-hunting schmoes a break and offers a peak inside the mind of HR on her blog Punk Rock HR. Her ten tips are a must read for any job-hunter looking to wow human resources in an interview, and is particularly valuable for those new to the interview game.

  • Never badmouth anything or anyone. This applies to your former employer, coworkers, or Osama bin Laden. We're trying to screen out whiners and troublemakers. I don't care if your last supervisor was a tyrant. Be kind and magnanimous about everything and everyone.
  • Make sure your appearance is in order. Fair or not, you are judged based you based on how you look. Check your fly and make sure your eyebrows are smooth.
  • Don't smoke on the day of the interview. We can smell it. We don't like it. There is an unconscious bias against smokers, and let's face it, you have a reputation for being lazy. Smokers are more expensive to insure, too. Why would we want you on the payroll? Help me help you. Don't smoke.
  • Don't be too aggressive and tell us how awesome you are. You're here, aren't you? A little humility, and some self-deprecating comments, will go along way with HR professionals. Trust me.
  • Don't tell us your life story. We hate it when you confuse HR with your mother, your therapist, or your best friend.
  • Don't expect us to have a timeline for the interview process. We have no idea how long it will take to fill the position. Ideally, we want to fill the opening tomorrow so we can get back to online shopping. Realistically, it will probably take a few months.
  • Be prepared to talk about your strengths and weaknesses. Don't ever tell us that you struggle to delegate. You care too much. You take on too much responsibility. An interview is a conversation, not a bad eHarmony profile. Show some self-awareness.
  • When you take us through your resume, don't gloss over the mistakes. We like it when you stop and tell us about an experience that taught you something. It shows character. Address your flaws outright and tell us how you learned something.
  • Compliment us. Seriously. We are human beings, too. Scan our offices and look for awards, photos, or something noteworthy. Make a connection. This is what salespeople do, and it works. We will remember your praise.
  • Make it easy for us to hire you. When you give us examples during the interview process, frame those examples in a way that relates to the job description, the issues in the industry, or the company's mission. Be relevant and you will be remembered.
My personal favorite is the warning against speaking like a bad personal ad incarnated. What's yours?

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(Advice stand image by laughlin, CC 2.0)
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