I'm trying to fill a number of positions in my department at the moment. Since my company is both cheap and in the sticks, however, pickings are slim. But if you're one of the, say, three remotely qualified candidates on paper out of the 8,000 resumes I've received, I'd like to offer up a few pointers before you head on in. Because I'm desperate, but not that desperate...*
1.) When asked a question, DON'T stop, clasp your hands, then close your eyes during the entirety of your answer. For every question. No matter how long the answer. I don't know what's running through your head during these exchanges, but here's my thought: "OPENOPENOPENOPENOPENDOITDOITSTOPFREAKINGMEOUT." Your answers could be comprehensive, insightful, they could be frigging brillliant, but I don't have a damn clue.
2.) DO notice my Chanel birks (circa 1999. They're more like Tevas, actually, and the soles are almost gone, but they kick ass). This was cause for an automatic hire during the last round (that plus the fact that she was a marketing genius, but her impeccable taste in shoes gave me the first clue).
3.) DON'T be my father's doppelgänger. Dude, I'm sorry, but a.) you look JUST like him and b.) I haven't spoken to him in 15 years, so this meeting is like an after school special that I want NO part of. I know there's really nothing you can do about it, so just accept my apology and heartfelt wish that your job search goes well. Elsewhere.
4.) DON'T try to make the six month gap between now and your last job appear more palatable by pretending that you've been a consultant since then. Or at least get your story straight before you use it as the headliner on your resume.
5.) When summarizing your past experience, DON'T start with a very long-winded explanation of your job straight out of college--when you graduated in 1985. In fact, it was at a record store, so you may just want to go ahead and delete that altogether.
6.) When I ask if you have any questions, DON'T pull out the sheet that says "Practice Interview Questions" in the header and read them, one by one, even if they've already been answered or they make no sense at all within the context of this interview.
Thanks--I'll see you in there.
*All of the above have happened in the past week. It's been a good time in HRville.