So your dream job is just an interview away and already you can feel the butterflies fluttering right down in your butt. Fear not! This guide is here to walk you through the DOs and DON’Ts of job interviews, so when the time comes, you’re ready to take that job like it’s your god-given right.
First Things First
Take everything you thought you knew about job interviews and write it down in a concise, bullet-point list. Finished? Okay, now scrunch it up and toss it in the wastepaper basket – *swish*: let the learning begin.
It’s a Battle
The first and most important thing to remember is that an interview is a battle of wills between you and your interviewer. Each of you wants to conquer the other to be known as the king (or queen (come on guys, it’s 2k16)) of interviews, but there can only be one, and you’ve got to be willing to do to whatever it takes to be that one.
There’s nothing worse than a limp, slippery, dead fish of a handshake. Literally nothing. So make sure yours has a firm, tight grip, like you’re clutching a salmon that you’ve just snatched, bare hands, from the bosom of a raging Colorado river. You can practice this technique by going to a Colorado river and… Just kidding! For people who don’t have a river nearby, clutching an apple at home is just as good; just place it in a bucket of water and get to snatching. An important note is to make sure you hold the handshake for no less than five seconds and no more than seven seconds. The best way to achieve this is counting “Mississippis” (in your head).
Never Sit Down First
Think of it as a game of chicken: neither you nor the interviewer wants to lose face by sitting down first, but as time passes it’s going to become dangerously awkward if neither gives in. The best course of action here is inaction – just think of yourself as a rock and let the awkwardness wash over you like a wave of insignificance. Now he’ll (or she’ll (come on guys)) do everything in his (or her (really??)) power to trick you into sitting; using subtle gestures or maybe even asking you to take a seat – do not take a seat – stand for the whole interview if that’s what it takes.
Never Break Eye Contact
Every staring match you’ve ever had has been leading up to this one moment. Keep staring. Even if you really need to blink. Even if your eyes start to water. Even if you’re having the interview in the middle of a sandstorm. Don’t. Blink. It’s a sign of weakness. You can practice this technique at home by staring at an apple.
Saying sorry is another sign of weakness, and interviewers can smell weakness like a shark smells blood (i.e. really well). Even if you were to accidentally knock your coffee over his (or her (guys… come on…)) new white shirt. Even if you’ve recently hit their elderly mother with your car – don’t apologize. You have to own your actions; like you made an executive decision to knock the coffee over/kill their mother. It sounds risky but trust me, they’ll respect you more for it.
Exaggerate Your Experience
Everyone does it. Maybe in your last job you were packing boxes. Well is it that much of a stretch to say instead of packing you were performing an operation? And instead of performing an operation on boxes it was human hearts? The answer is no. It’s not.
Business? Casual? Business-casual? Casual-business? Military-casual? Business-astronaut? Sexy-astronaut? Cowboy? Pirate? Cowboy-pirate? You’ll have to decide this for yourself based on the job you’re going for. A good rule of thumb is to do a quick Google image search of the job title followed by a few different key words like, “casual”, “business”, “costume”, etc. This should give you a general idea of what to go for.
The Golden Question
There comes a time in every interview when the interviewer asks what your biggest weakness is. This is literally the oldest trick in the book yet many still fall for it, dithering off an answer about how they want to improve some skill or other. Even though the obvious answer here is to say that you have no weaknesses, some might see that as arrogant (even if it’s 100% true). The best course of action is to say something that sounds like a weakness but is actually an undeniable strength, for example: sometimes you miss your son’s softball game because you’re too focused on work. Or that your penchant for working late has destroyed your marriage. Something like that is bound to impress any prospective employer.
Be Prepared for Anything
Depending on how much you’re winning by, the interviewer may get desperate and start playing wild cards. This could be anything from asking how you’ve dealt with a past customer complaint, to asking where you see yourself in ten years. Just relax and remember that you’re a boss-ass-bitch and it’s 2k16 and no one’s going to tell you otherwise.
Great work! Now that you’ve mastered all of the interview techniques that job is as good as yours, just believe in yourself and anything is possible! If however it doesn’t work out you may want to significantly lower your job expectations. Good luck!