If reading any of the previous posts hasn’t scared you out of working forever, congratulations! You’ve decided to go to the local mall, fast food place, or local store to put in applications to start work. In my time as a hiring manager at various retail places, I’ve seen all types.
If you are going to pick up applications to work, do yourself a favor and dress appropriately. Some people will be at a mall, hanging with their friends and pick up applications from stores as they travel along. The official jury hasn’t come back on whether that is a good strategy or not, but it doesn’t guarantee success, which is my goal. When I used to be a hiring manager, I had a little routine I would follow when someone came in looking for work. I would never say that I was the hiring person to someone just picking up an application. I would ask the applicant some insignificant questions about experience, and when I gave them the application, I would put one of three marks on the application, either a star symbol, a check mark, or the letters “TNT”. If they got a star symbol, I would tell the applicant that meant they were a ‘super star’, and should be looked at closely. If they got a check mark, I would say that meant the hiring managers should ‘check this person out’, and if they got TNT, that meant they were ‘dynamite’!
Once the applicant turned in their applications, I had three trays on my desk: Check mark applications meant that this person was a good prospect, and would need to have an interview shceduled ASAP. Star applications meant this person had the confidence I was looking for, but may be more trouble than they were worth to hire. I would interview them if I ran out of checked applications. TNT applications got a letter thanking the applicant for their interest, but we were going in a different direction. TNT really meant, “Thanks, No Thanks.” I based my decisions on the ‘meaningless conversation’ that I had with each applicant as well as my first impression of how they presented themselves.
When I “pre-interviewed” each applicant, I didn’t care so much about what they answered, so much as I cared about how they answered. If they looked like they were ready to start working for me, could look me directly in the eyes when speaking to me, and could string a sentence together without saying, ‘um’, ‘ah’, or stuttering over simple things, I was interested. If they were enthusiastic and happy about being wherever they were, I was really interested. If they were not dressed to work with me, couldn’t speak, brought friends with them, or gave me any other reason to say, No Thanks, I would. This practice has allowed me to hire some of the best employees from a very broad pool of applicants.
- Dress like you already work at the place you are applying to work at. This may mean wearing a tie, or it may not. If you are in doubt, dress up rather than down.
- If you see a place is hiring and you are not ready to interview immediately, come back when you are.
- Be friendly and speak clearly to whomever approaches you. You don’t know if they make the decisions to hire you, (or not!)
- Act like you want to work for the company. Don’t drag yourself in like you are being punished.