Interviews suck. Plain and simple. They’re awkward, uncomfortable, sometimes insincere and in extreme cases make you feel like crying because you’re clearly underqualified and over-confident. Not all of this is from personal experience (ahemyesitis) but in most cases everyone’s felt one or more of these things on at least one occasion. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been on numerous interviews for various companies and have picked up some tricks that make the interviewing process a little easier on the job seeker. Again, all this should come with a disclaimer seeing as I am still funemployed, but at least I’m getting a range of experience with character types and figure out the places I DON’T want to be in 25 years… Here are some notes on things to be aware of and keep in mind when faced with the prospect of an interview.
1) Always keep your personality or at least parts of your personality visible. Don’t hide who you are to fit the needs of the job, the employer in that case isn’t hiring you, just your stodgy alter ego who will probably end up dreading work every morning. The perfect job will embrace your personality and use your energy as an advantage, or so I’d like to think.
2) Always do your research and ask questions! There’s nothing like entering an interview and having absolutely NO idea what it’s for and more importantly what the company does. It makes you look like an ass and you’ll probably end up leaving with your head hung low, which is not good for the jobless self-esteem. Always come with some questions in mind, even if you don’t really have any burning desire to actually know the answer. If it’s a job you really want (even if it’s not, the employer may know someone - refer to post 1 about Connections…) have some questions in mind to ask the employer when it’s that time during the interview. A former boss of mine actually turned the tables during my interview, forcing me to think of questions to ask him about his business, the company etc… for a full 7 minutes. In situations like these, if you don’t know a damn thing about the business, you’re pretty much screwed, that is unless you’re a drama student and are used to improv.
3) Don’t arrive more then 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Sounds like a stupid tip, but if you get to your destination a full 15 minutes before your due, in my humble opinion you look ridiculously eager AND run the risk of pressuring the employer to see you before they’re ready. You really don’t want to meet a flustered interviewer who’s not interested in your answers because they’re still thinking of what they could have done in that 15 minutes before they were due to meet you. Bad for you in the long run.
4) Confidence is key. Even if you’re completely wrong for the job and you know it, never let that confidence waver (however, there IS such a thing as TOO confident). Or on the flip side if you’re not really a confident person, fake it till you make it. I’d like to think employers are more attracted to someone who’s proud of their accomplishments and is more then happy to share everything they’ve done (that’s sort of relevant of course) and why they’re a great addition to the team. I always like to take some things that may not be on my resume or entirely relevant and spin it to make it work with the questions the interviewer is asking. The fact that I come from a big family can show that I can deal with multiple different types of personalities and embrace chaos in a good way, for example. This little tidbit is not on my resume, but can be of use during an interview.
Interviews really are stressful and scary at times, but if you look at it as a way to show yourself as a real 3D person and not just a piece of paper, they’re pretty important for you and the employer.