Acing the Interview

The Interview.

So you picked the job you wanted, now the job is considering picking you. This is often the moment when the pressure builds and panic sets in. Will they ask you to speak 4 of the 6 languages you claimed fluency in on your resume? Will you have pissed off the hiring manager you worked side by side with you in a previous job? (don’t scoff – it happened to me!) Will you know the answers to their questions, even the trick ones? The only way to beat near all of your fears and concerns is to be prepared.

1.      1. Do your homework. Stalk for a good cause instead of a creepy one.

Chances are you applied at lots of different places, so from about a week to three after you’ve submitted applications you’ll start getting call backs for interviews. Logically you should be editing your resume for every job you put out in for. With that in mind you should do your homework immediately upon getting the call back. Look up the company online, stalk the boss on social media, find out anything and everything you can (without getting noticed, obviously). Make sure to note certain words or phrases that are repeated on the company website, research job expectations for the position you’re applying for (ideally you would have done this while editing your resume), keep these terms and concepts in mind for your interview, try to use them in your responses.

  facebook stalking

Oh and just assume someone in the office is facebook stalking YOU too. Directions to set your profile to private can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuMScXx2HVo

2.Smile and the world smiles with you, frown and the toolbag picking his nose in the hall  gets your job.

 Always be eager and positive with a completely free schedule (unless you have to pick up your 6 year old at 3pm every day, he might make it across 6 lanes of interstate, but those last 5 miles under neighborhood watch are iffy), so if you’ve got permanent, immoveable responsibilities, be honest. The trick here is to come across “just won a $50 Chilis gift card” excited and not “12 year old girl that just won Justin Beiber tickets” excited.

 crying justin bieber fan

 You don’t get to sniff the fertilizer Suzy, you’re just loading it and throwing it down the trash chute.

To achieve this particular goal, try to clear your schedule the day before your interview (you’re unemployed, put down the Cheetos and turn off Breaking Bad reruns). Go over your resume, especially if you . . . “enhanced” a few parts,  run through the stereotypical questions employers ask and make sure you’re confident with your answers. Here’s a very in depth list, pick the link for the topics that scare you most. http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewquestionsanswers/a/interviewquest.htm

PRACTICE! Your cat won’t care, he’s happy when you’re uncomfortable.

3. Pick out what you’re wearing more than 5 min before you leave for the interview.

Maybe wash it too. Ironing always helps. If you’ve picked something that can’t be ironed, throw the polyester track suit away and go buy some grown up clothes. Aim for neutral colors, nothing baggy or too tight (unless you’re applying at Hooters), no hats, and minimal jewelry. When in doubt: (cleavage, tattoos, piercings) cover up. Ladies: stay away from spaghetti straps, anything sheer, low cut blouses, skirts always knee length or longer, and do the bend and reach test, when you bend over (sitting or standing) you shouldn’t expose underwear or flesh, same goes when reaching. The underwear peeking out over the top of your pants is, despite your super cute Victoria Secret thong, NOT professional. Gentlemen: Bend and reach test applies to you too, nobody wants to see your cute thong or your butt crack. If you’re in an office setting wear undershirts – surprise – under your dress shirts, regardless make sure your clothes are free of tears, graphics and stains. This one might seem like a no brainer but you’d be amazed at the footwear criteria in most dress codes; nothing open toed, no tennis shoes or extreme heels, be industry appropriate always!! (for strippers, lucite platforms with an ankle strap are awesome, for nurses, tennis shoes are the obvious, smart choice)

crocs at work

Crocs are not okay. Not ever. Just don’t, consider it your gift to society.

4. Perfect your travel plans.

 Know how to get to the office you’re interviewing at. I don’t mean the general area, know the streets, the building and the office or suite number. Siri can only get you so far. Doing a practice run is a great idea, it will give you the opportunity to time the drive too. Knowing where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there is important. Showing late or too early for your apt can kill your chances at the job before you even answer a question – which in that instance will probably be something like; Do you own a watch?

Im-late-anyways-Watch