15 Job Snagging INTERVIEW TIPS
Discuss how to improve the company along the lines of what your interviewer is looking for — it’ll illustrate what you can bring to the table that other people can’t, and show him/her that you’re bursting with ideas.
1. Find out if you know anyone who works at the company and get tips about the interview process, intel on the appropriate dress code, et cetera. Milk any and all of your contacts like cows with udders that spray professional leverage. (I just grossed myself out.)
2. Print out (multiple copies of!) your résumé the night before. “But Anna, I don’t have a printer at home and there is a Fed Ex Kinko’s on the way!” No. Fed Ex Kinko’s is on the Hellmouth. If you are spending the 15 minutes just before your interview standing in a long, vaguely weird-smelling line while a bored employee bangs on the black and white printer like those monkeys in 2001: A Space Odyssey, you are not in the bathroom at the coffee shop calmly applying a final layer of finishing powder and putting your Game Face on. Also: A one-page résumé. For the love of God. Please.
3. Give yourself a big old cushion of time to get there.Running around in high heels, cursing at yourself and spilling coffee on your suit isn’t cute. Not in the opening credits of a romantic comedy under a K.T. Tunstall song, and not in real life.
4. But if it’s in an office building, don’t show up like 30 minutes early. Otherwise you’ll be sitting in the waiting room nervously, and your interviewer will feel rushed, and everything will be an Explosion of Awkward.
5. Make sure your phone is charged. I know. It’s so basic it is stupid. But I can’t tell you how many times my phone has died on me, I’ve copied an address down wrong, and ended up standing confused in front of a gay sex shop on 6th Avenue two minutes before I am supposed to meet him/her, screaming “This is not Panera Bread!” to the sky.
6. No matter how informal and non-corporate the job is, the interviewer is not A Pal. Yes, we may be applying for a job in the Age of Start-Ups, where co-workers sit around in bean bag chairs and flip flops and sip on Brooklyn Lagers at 5 PM on Fridays. And yes, the interviewer may be around your age. The office could literally be inside Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie, but that does not mean you are allowed to roll up and giggle about the tongue ring guy you hooked up with last week. This isn’t brunch.
7. Do your research on the company and the interviewer beforehand. You should know next to everything about the place you’re applying for, except maybe the social security numbers of the construction workers who built the office. And if you know who’s going to interview you, definitely LinkedIn stalk them (without adding them to your network). You might know people in common, which would help you out, unless they are Mortal Enemies or something.
8. Make sure you’re following the company’s Twitter. Or any other social media presence they have. They’ll notice if you follow them the moment you leave the interview.
9. Ask him/her as many questions as he/she asks you. It is a best practice to grill the shit out of him/her. “In what direction do you see the company going in the next few years? How do you see this job position playing a part in that? Are there free bagels? Can I have a free bagel?”
10. You love this company more than anything you’ve ever loved, including (but not limited to) cheese, season 4 of The Wire, and having your earlobe nibbled. Remember college admissions? If the University of Northern Appalachia did not think think you were pooping yourself with eagerness to get in, you didn’t get in. You are SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW.
11. Treat the interview sort of like a brainstorming meeting you’d have after you’ve been hired. Discuss how to improve the company along the lines of what your interviewer is looking for — it’ll illustrate what you can bring to the table that other people can’t, and show him/her that you’re bursting with ideas.
12. Don’t ramble. If the interviewer asks you an open-ended question (for instance, the dreaded “So tell me about yourself!”) he/she is aiming to discover how you operate in an unstructured environment. Here, you can refer to a popular interview hack called the STAR Technique.
Situation: Open with a brief description of the Situation and context of the story (who, what, where, when, how).
Task: Explain the Task you had to complete highlighting any specific challenges or constraint (eg deadlines, costs, other issues).
Action: Describe the specific Actions that you took to complete the task. These should highlight desirable traits without needing to state them (initiative, intelligence, dedication, leadership, understanding, etc.)
Result: Close with the result of your efforts. Include figures to quantify the result if possible
13. Don’t bulls__t. When you cut around to “What’s your biggest weakness?” or “What’s an example of an issue you’ve had with a co-worker,” answers like “I’m a perfectionist!” or “I’ve never had an issue with a co-worker!” simply SMACK of bullshit, not to mention an ambivalence about the job. (It takes passion about a job to have an issue with a co-worker over a company-related issue.) Bringing it back to college — remember how every single kid wrote their essay about their $5,000-tuition summer “charity” trip to Cambodia and how it changed their lives? You’re more original than puking up some generic hairball of an answer that everyone else pukes up too. Don’t be that kid.
14. Be careful with your body language. While, say, hair-twirling or suggestively dragging a finger along your décolleté is obviously out, there are smaller nervous tics that you should be avoiding too. Leg-jiggling, for one thing. Even nodding too much as he/she is speaking — which is more common for women than men — should be avoided. It’s irritating, and it shows that you are nervous.
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