The Job Application and Interview Process

The times they are a changing... Today you can actually apply to a lot of jobs on-line, especially to retail stores and for management positions. Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Dollar General, Family Dollar are among the many companies who not only accept applications but actual respond. In the case of the two video stores, Blockbuster and Hollywood Video one person we talked will was contacted by them after filling out an on-line application within 4 days!

Some stores, like J.C. Pennyís and Wal-Mart are now doing electronic applications at the store. You go in and do the job application process on their internal intra-net.

Almost every employer and job applicant we talked with is using virtually the same ďstandardĒ job application form, which includes:

Three most recent jobs, with phone numbers.

Three friends or supervisors to contact as a reference (not a relative) with phone numbers.

Three schools (high school, college and trade school).

So have this information with you when you apply on-line or in person as it can go against you if you donít have all this information, unless of course you are applying for a first job!

Most companies are also administering psychological tests, which vary from place to place, but those given by both Blockbuster and Hollywood Video were similar in nature. J.C. Pennyís and Wal-Mart were different. Pennyís was interested in your dedication to a given job area. If you were looking to be in sales they wanted to make sure you wanted to stay in sales and stay with Pennyís. Wal-Mart was interested in finding out about your feelings on drugs, missing work, being late and stealing.

All the tests have similar parameters. You either must Agree very strongly, Agree somewhat strongly, Disagree somewhat strongly or Disagree very strongly. There is no middle ground.

The wrong answer sends up a flag and a member of management talks to you about the answer you gave to clarify your position.

Pennyís was also interested in seeing if you could handle simple math without pencil, paper or a calculator. You were given several money questions and asked to provide an answer from several choices. Believe it or not, todayís average high school graduate would fail this part of the exam!

The best time to get a full-time regular job in retail is between the months of March and April or in August as they lay-off workers in January and hire only seasonal workers in both June and October. Seasonal workers are often laid off after the season, which comes in September (summer season) and January (holiday season). The worst time to get a job is in January, June and September. June is when all the students graduate from school so employers have their pick of the litter.

While in todayís era almost any neat hair style and clothing will suffice for a job interview, many experts still stress putting your best foot forward. Getting a haircut or trim before the interview is a good idea. Trimming or removing beards before interviews is a good idea. Wearing a shirt and tie or even a suit to most larger company interviews is a good idea, especially for a management or executive position.

During the interview process be polite, friendly and donít over talk. Being too talkative or giddy can work against you in some interviews. Donít overstay at the interview either. When youíve talked enough about what you can do see if they have anything further and if not, stand, thank them and make an exit.

Cover only the important aspects of your experience in the verbal interview. Donít small talk with the interviewer. Donít say anything negative. As an example, if the job is Macintosh oriented donít say you have no Mac experience. Stress how much computer work you have done, donít say it was just on a PC. Moving to a Mac will only take a few days of learning curve for anyone experienced with a PC.

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