This past week, I spoke with three employers checking references, and I realized after the third call, the questions they asked come down to my knowing three things about you:
Do you show up for class on time?
Are you prepared to the best of your ability?
Do you embrace opportunities to build your resume?
Here are some of the questions they have been asking, and every single one of these questions has to do with showing up and doing the work.
- Is this person punctual?
- Can you describe their work habits?
- Do they get along with others?
- Can they follow directions?
- What are this person’s strengths?
- What is a weakness you think this person needs to work on?
I was a bit stunned when one employer never asked about skills, but asked instead, “We liked how positive this candidate was. Is this her typical demeanor?”
For this person, I could say, Yes, every time I saw her, even when I knew she was under stress, this person is always positive. I didn’t add, but could have, “If you don’t believe me, check out her Twitter feed.” My guess is that the employer had already been there. Sure, this student had bad days, too, and I knew about some of them, but we all have those. What’s important here is that almost always, this student knew how to have a fully annoying day and smile.
The last question employers seem to ask is tossed out breezily, almost off the cuff, “Is there anything you would like to add?”
Here’s how you want me to answer that question: You want me to say that you are hungry for this job, that you work hard, and that I would hire you, if I were an employer.
How do you express to me that you are hungry for good work and that you work hard and that I would want to hire you?
You show up to class on time, prepared, and with your work completed to the best of your ability—in between finding ways to build your resume, of course.