People applying to jobs often go through the string of questions: Did I go to the right school? Did I pick the right major? Did I do the right internships? Does my resume have enough details of what I do? Is my resume too long/too short? Does my cover letter summarize how I can do the job?
In my opinion, there isn’t a right answer to these questions because there is no such thing as the perfect applicant.
Many companies or organizations go down a checklist for candidates:
Bachelors degree – check
Proficiency in office applications – check
3-5 years of experience – check
1-2 years of experience in relevant field – double check
I am happy to say that at The Fool, our checklist is bit different. Here at The Fool, people come to us from all walks of life. We have former bartenders and biology teachers turned investors and MMA fighter (Mixed Martial Arts) turned techie. We’ve hired Fools ranging from baristas to Tigger and Goofy from Disneyworld to NASA rocket scientists. We do things different in all of our business aspects, so why not recruiting?
When you apply to our positions you see that we want cover letters that don’t bore us and we ask questions that aren’t the norm. Other recruiters might ask how this helps us find the right candidates. To us, the ideal, not perfect, candidate embodies what we call Foolishness (with a capital F) and these questions let Foolishness shine through!
So how do you prepare to be an ideal candidate?
Some might say that filling out an application or preparing for an interview was a lot easier ten years ago. The hardest, and most asked, question to prepare for used to be, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Today, this question doesn’t carry the relevance it once did. We’ve become a culture of change; change in what we want to learn and when we want to learn it all the time. Our passions and dreams change and therefore so do our career paths.
The other day I received an email about the 25 strangest interview questions. The subject said it all…strangest. There were questions on the more bizarre side of how many cows there are in Canada or estimate how many windows there are in New York to tell us your favorite song and perform it for us. I often think that the people asking these types of questions are abusing the system. I can tell you I’m an extrovert and I would not get up and perform a song in an interview!
In our applications and interviews, we aren’t trying to embarrass you or make you feel uncomfortable but rather we want to know what makes you…well YOU! Letting us in, even just a little bit, to see different sides of you is all we want. How will we know if we want to sit next to you everyday? Or if you might participate in our office banter?
I recently had a friend tell me that she would hate to sit through one of my interviews because she wouldn’t like being put on the spot with some of my questions. I thought a lot about her comment when I went into my next interview and realized that it really isn’t about what the answer is but more the insight it gives me into the person. Answering with one word doesn’t provide much to me but answering with something that starts a conversation and shows your interest in something…that is what we want to see!
So next time you’re applying to a job, writing a cover letter, or preparing for interview, think about what makes you you and let that come out!