Common Job Search Misconceptions

Posted by The Editors on June 15, 2011
Contrary to what you may think as you mop the sweat from your brow while contemplating your upcoming interviews, the recruiter who'll be sitting across the table from you wasn't born in a pinstriped suit with the keys to a Beamer in one hand and an iPhone in the other.

In fact, at one point she was probably in the same position that you're in right now as you begin your search: Sitting in a one-room apartment eating ramen noodles and wondering if she'd ever find a job. Thinking that interviewers are genetically superior beings is one of the misconceptions that many job seekers seem to have as they prepare themselves for the interviews that will pull them out of their MSG-saturated college days and into the lightning pace of the business world.

Quite a few misconceptions seem to be floating around out there; WetFeet would like to explode some of them and, we hope, ease your pain.

Misconception Number One: My Resume Is a Comedy Routine
A lot of job seekers try to add panache to their resume by making them unconventional. Take it from us: Your resume is not the best forum for your dry wit.

It might seem like a great idea at the time to paste macaroni to your resume or describe your work experience in iambic pentameter. You're trying to prove your creativity and individuality, as well as give the recruiter a little taste of who you are. Trust us when we tell you that this isn't the information you the recruiter wants to know. The information you the recruiter wants to know would not create and submit a document called "The Resume Rap" that tries to rhyme the phrases "job experience" and "I think you'll dig this."

Truth: The Recruiters' Point of View
Recruiters want resumes that let them know what you will bring to the company and how you'll be a good addition to the team. They want this information in a format that is easily comparable to other resumes, a format that won't give them a headache. Your job is to make the recruiter's job easier so that he or she will want to hire you. Your job is not to show off your origami skills by folding your resume into a swan.

Misconception Number Two: The Recruiter Is Out to Get Me
One of the most popular fallacies among inexperienced job hunters is that the recruiter is out to get them. The fresh-faced grads coming out of college and heading to their first real job interviews seem to have a mental picture of the recruiter as a mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash (from the "Dudley Do-Right" segments of Rocky and Bullwinkle) whose only goal is to mystify, humiliate, befuddle, and ding prospective job seekers, or at least tie them to some train tracks somewhere.

Truth: Bad Recruiters Don't Last
In fact, the interviewer isn't going to be hiding behind the door with a baseball bat waiting to ambush you when you show up in your freshly pressed new suit. Recruiters who dismiss everyone they interview probably aren't going to be recruiting for very long. They're supposed to be separating the wheat from the chaff, not just whacking everything they see with their scythe.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't be on top of your game when you're sitting across the table from your interviewer. Even though it isn't a recruiter's job to Shaq everybody who tries to get to the hoop, they do have to make sure that you've got game. The recruiter's job is to put you through your paces, making sure that you have the proper skills, education, and attitude to make it in the business world.

Even if it seems like malice when he puts the pressure on, he's just doing it to make sure that you can take the heat once he signs you on. If you've got your game with you, don't sweat it; your antiperspirant will hold up just fine-so will you, kid.

Misconception Number Three: I'll Fit in Anywhere
Say it's your first day at your new job. You made it past the interviews and won a cubicle of your very own. You arrive at 8:58 a.m. with the required first-day-on-the-job gear: A picture of your significant other or your cat, a couple of knickknacks to ensure that your desk has character, and the W-2 forms from the guys in HR.

You lay out your bric-a-brac, check your breath by blowing into your hand, and start asking around if there's any free coffee in the office. Suddenly, everyone around you stands up and gives a three-count. At three, your coworkers break into an a cappella version of "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls. There is dancing and high kicks, and Larry from accounting flips the lights on and off to simulate a strobe. You look around for Allen Funt but realize to your horror that you're not on Candid Camera. Even though the guy over by the copy machine looks like he phoned in that split, for the most part your fellow employees are getting into it.

Truths: Do Your Homework
If you'd done a little research on the company before you signed on, you would have found out that it's a subsidiary of Sporty Spice Enterprises and that the dance routine is a mandatory morning icebreaking exercise. You'll be expected to participate in full tomorrow and for the rest of your life at the company.

So, when you're sitting in front of your computer at three a.m. trying to get your resume to print after you spilled coffee on the keyboard, corporate culture might not rate high on your list of concerns. But once you get the job, it can become priority number one no matter how many times you tell yourself that you'll make do. If you don't fit in with the culture of your company, it will affect your happiness, your ability to work, and possibly your long-term health. Find out a little about what you're getting into before you sign on. If you don't, you might regret it in the morning. Oh, and look-here comes Larry with a Scary Spice wig and a tube top for you!

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