Some Things Never Change

In going through some old papers (very old!), I came across the following handout that was given to me by the career advising office when I was in my undergraduate senior year. As I looked at the yellowed and somewhat crumpled paper, it struck me that so much has changed since my college days. There were no web sites offering career advice, company research was conducted by visiting the library and referring to reference books (which incidentally were always at least 12 – 18 months out of date) and relying on someone somewhere to hand deliver your resume to the right desk so that it would be looked at by a hiring manager was standard routine. You typically only had 50 paper copies of your resume printed at the local typesetter because having more was costly. Once your resumes were printed, they had to be mailed to prospective employers through the United States Postal Service – think envelope, stamp and a trip to the Post Office (Pony Express would be an exaggeration, but it was close!).

As I reflected on all of the changes that have occurred over the past 30 years, it struck me even more profoundly that many things had remained exactly the same. The “mechanisms” had changed, but the “substance” is relatively timeless.

The 15 bits of advice outlined below still hold true today; the biggest difference is that now you are reading them on a blog – then it was a crumpled piece of paper!

Negative Factors Evaluated by an Interview (1983)

During the course of the interview, the employer will be evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive factors. Listed below are negative factors frequently evaluated during the course of the interview and those which most often lead to rejection of the applicant.

  1. Poor personal appearance.
  2. Overbearing – overaggressive – conceited “superiority complex” – “know-it-all.”
  3. Inability to express thoughts clearly – poor poise, diction, or grammar.
  4. Lack of planning for career – no purpose or goals.
  5. Lack of interest and enthusiasm – passive and indifferent.
  6. Lack of confidence and poise – nervousness.
  7. Overemphasis on money – interested only in best dollar offered.
  8. Evasive – makes excuses for unfavorable factors in record.
  9. Lack of tact – maturity – courtesy.
  10. Condemnation of past employers.
  11. Failure to look interviewer in the eye.
  12. Limp, fishy handshake.
  13. Lack of appreciation of the value of the experience.
  14. Failure to ask questions about the job.
  15. Persistent attitude of “What can you do for me?”
  16. Lack of preparation for interview – failure to get information about the company, resulting in inability to ask intelligent questions.

Photo Credit:

By Jim Lowe
Jim Lowe Assistant Vice Provost, Executive Director Jim Lowe