These two didn’t practice their interview skills
Missed opportunity for job interview practice
I have a few close friends with little crumb snatchers. Watching them go through another holiday season forces me to question the future of corporate America. There are plenty who feel I am insensitive and that I don’t believe in humanity. They might be correct, but my hypothesis is based on simple observations. I see young minds trying to enter the workforce every day. Graduates are failing because they lack the interview common courtesies they should have learned from their parents during the holiday seasons.
I believe that universities fail to teach interview and resume-building skills. After walking the local mall the past few holiday seasons, it’s not just the schools that are falling short. The parents are also failing to teach resume and job interview skills. There is an obvious lack of job interview practice.
Infants who can operate iPads and cell phones become good at video games and computers. Should we be surprised when we see interview failures at a young age result in rejection emails after a job interview?
Case Study 1: The Cover Letter
I just saw a munchkin write a wish list letter to Santa. To HRNasty, this wish list is the equivalent of a cover letter and resume. This letter wasn’t going to get our candidate a meeting with the CEO of the Holidays, AKA Santa. If that letter had come to me, it would have gone straight to the recycle bin. There were misspelled words, and the “thing” was written with Mr. Sketch’s scented markers. Why didn’t the parents help little Boo with the formatting of this simplest of business letters? At least munchkin had the wits to address the letter to “Santa” vs. “To whom this may concern.”
Accomplishments and Qualifications
The “wishlist,” AKA, cover letter/resume, did not list any qualifications. There was no mention of good behavior or what was done to deserve a visit from Santa. In typical Gen (whatever letter we are on this year) fashion, the cover letter went straight to their selfish little point. “Dear Santa, I want a Barbie, I want a Nintendo Switch, and I really need an iPhone 15 Max Pro.” Oy Veyyyyy!
When interviewing, always treat the front desk and executive assistants respectfully!
Case Study #2: Face-to-Face Interview Skills
I watch the same train wreck year after year. Parents allow their little Precious to believe their smelly pen and failure of a cover letter worked. Kids begin to believe it is a piece of cake to land a face-to-face with the Big Boss. Getting a meet and greet with the CEO of Christmas is easy. We are talking about Santa—the big man himself, sitting in his big executive chair. The picture is complete with a gatekeeper/executive assistant in the colored hose and a short green skirt. This might be Pee Wee level, but this is the Super Bowl of interviews.
Helicopter mom and dad see a traditional visit with Santa. Because the line moves slowly, parents treat the Elf assistants with impatience. HRNasty sees a face-to-face with the CEO of Christmas and an Executive Assistant who has the CEO’s ear. Never take an assistant for granted! I saw failure after failure as the applicants were hoisted onto Santa’s lap. Like clockwork, they broke under pressure, bawling. They were unable to answer the simplest interview questions. There is no excuse for being unprepared. Practice, people practice!
Start em young
The helicopter parent comes to the rescue when the little candidate starts crying in Santa’s lap. A trophy is awarded to the bawling babe in the form of a candy cane (for trying so hard). Parents then have the audacity to give the CEO the evil eye as they scurry away with their sobbing little brat.
Don’t coddle that kid! That was a FAIL Biatches! A “Get back in the saddle” life lesson would pay dividends when they meet HRNasty for a job interview. I could picture this parent showing up to the job interview with their college graduate. Later, they will call me directly to say their kid should have received a job offer. Next time I have an opening for a Helicopter Parent, Karen, you will find me at the mall, trolling the Santa line with business cards.
Practice people, PRACTICE!
No job interview practice or research was done to prepare for this interview with CEO Santa. If it were my kid (as an expert on child raising), I would have made sure there were some mock interviews. I ask a Sumo wrestler friend to don a white beard and have that kid jump in his lap. This pitch needs reps, man, reps! Haven’t you heard of 10,000 hours??? Kids should have had answers to the CEO’s expected questions. If they had received some job interview practice, they would know Santa’s top interview questions.
How old are you little Johnny? AKA: Tell me about yourself.
Have you been naughty or nice? AKA: Are you qualified?
What do you want Santa to bring you? AKA What are you looking for financially?
Our candidate stumbled over questions 1 and 2. Question 3 made our candidate sound like they only cared about the annual salary and how much they would be paid. We wonder why kids these days don’t have interview skills later.
Case Study #3: Thank you Letter
Did I see a thank you letter after this in-person interview? NOOOOOOO, . . . All I heard was, “When is Santa going to show up to fill my stocking?”
Unsurprisingly, job candidates get mad when they don’t hear back from their recruiter after two days. Parents reinforce unrealistic expectations by telling their special snowflakes they are winners and will receive the prize (in the form of a job offer).
Gift wrap is strewn everywhere. Short attention spans result in presents separated from gift tags. No thank-you letters will go out this year because we don’t know who gifted what. Maybe it is better. Nobody wants to receive the same cut-and-pasted thank you email forwarded to every other gift giver.
I have finally connected the dots. If I am lucky while recruiting, I might receive a generic text/email after I interview the job candidate. The hiring managers who receive these same emails are ecstatic with these meager scraps of a “Thank you.” Then, they discover the other four interviewers on the panel received the same exact copy.
It’s never too early to teach skills that can pay dividends through retirement. Reinforce the wrong behavior, and that wrong behavior will continue. Maybe it isn’t the candidate’s fault they don’t know any better.
Have a Buddah-mas Holiday, and see you at the after-party,
HRNasty is an HR Exec and the first-born son of Asian Tiger Parents. He was enrolled in music performance lessons at the age of 4, martial arts by 6, and foreign language classes shortly after. His parents insisted on practicing everything for hours at a stretch and didn’t let him quit any activity untill he was in college. He went to school on a music scholarship and like his parents, a stickler for common courtesy.