March 1, 2000
The last year and a half I was at BPI I was pretty much in charge of our department's hiring process. The task was not department-wide -- because, for example, what do I know about advertising sales personnel? -- but most anything involving assistants, designers, production staff, and interns made its way past me.
I already had a decent idea of the do's and don'ts of the job-interview process, but after a year of dealing with it on the other side of the desk, I have gotten to know all the terrible habits and shortcomings people have as they look for a job. I'm a bit of a stickler when it comes to personnel, and I am most impressed by the traditionalists who work by the book. Yet it amazes me how poorly most people treat their opportunities.
Personally, I am not as hard-core as my own ideal candidate: I never wear a suit, even to a first interview, and I don't carry my resume with me. (If I were interviewing me, I'd drive myself nuts.) But whatever I'm doing, it works -- I went on just one interview for the job I started in January. I staffed my old employer with three new hires in two weeks to keep my team running as I left, and several of my former hires have moved onto lucrative jobs elsewhere in the web industry.
So if you're looking for a job, pay attention, since a little due diligence could greatly improve your chances. While while I write this from a new-media perspective, I have a decidedly old-world attitude about the job hunt, so my tips may help people in almost any field.
The Cover Letter
Two Things You Can't Do Wrong, No Matter How Poorly You Do Them