Ok, I know this is seriously weird, but I love going for job interviews…
I actually thinking they’re kind of … fun.
Maybe it’s a telling sign of how little I socialise, but, instead of seeing a job interview as a shit-scary situation where I’m going to be grilled by some evil CEO until I drown in my own nervous sweat, I see it as a chance to dress up, have a chat with someone, talk about myself and show off for 15 or 20 minutes.
Nevertheless, I’m fully aware that I’m absolutely in the minority here and, for most people, the very notion of doing a job interview is the stuff of actual nightmares.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post on the topic because not only is it something that I like doing, but it’s also something I get asked about a lot. Every week I get emails asking for interview advice; from what to wear, to how to create an effective presentation. So, instead of continuing to write lengthy responses to each and every query, I thought it would be most helpful to pack everything I know into one kick-ass, informative post.
11 Job Interview Tips You Haven’t Heard Before
1. Be ok with being shit scared.
Being shit scared is a normal response when going for a job interview. The problem is; if you feel nervous, you’ll look nervous and if you look nervous, you’re going to create a nervous atmosphere which will infect everyone in the room. So, if job interviews terrify the bejeesus out of you and nerves tend to be your downfall, it’s time to deal with that fear in the RIGHT way.
Instead of focusing your energy on overcoming fear, embrace the embrace it and walk with it. Excitement and anxiety are similar experiences, except one is positive and the other is negative. So, if you can channel your anxiety into excitement, you’ll feel much calmer and more controlled. The interviewer will notice the enthusiasm in your body language and it will create a much more positive energy.
2. Don’t prepare on the day of your interview.
All job interviews will require different levels of preparation. In some, you’ll be asked to give a presentation and others will be a short informal chat. Regardless of how much work you have to do in advance of the interview, avoid preparation or last minute reading on the day. Doing this will only cause unnecessary anxiety. Adrenaline will be pumping through your body, making it nearly impossible to concentrate or cram anything else into your brain. And if, one hour before the interview, you come across a piece of information which potentially ruins all your prep, you’ll just panic and flop. Instead, have a nice, relaxing, chilled morning and give your brain a break so it can work its magic when you’re in the room.
3. Don’t wear clothes that will show your sweat patches.
Wearing clothes that show potential sweat patches will distract you, it will distract the interviewer and will be nothing but a clear cut sign that you are shitting it. Don’t wear anything that will make you feel uncomfortable or distract from what’s coming out of your mouth. Unless your job is fashion related, the interviewer won’t give a flying fuck what you’re wearing anyway.
4. Name drop like f**k.
You’ve heard it before but getting ahead is as much about who you know, as what you know. Being able to talk confidently about other important figures and influencers within the industry will show your potential employer that you’re dedicated and passionate about this line of work. HOWEVER, never drop names for the sake of it. Be knowledgeable about these people – what they’ve done, how their work has impacted the industry and why you like them. If you’re just doing it to appear like you’re ‘in the know’ the employer will smell it a mile off.
5. Bring a totem.
If you’re feeling particularly nervous and can’t shift it to excitement, carry a little totem to bring you back to the present moment. A bit like Leo in Inception – but less confusing. It could be a lucky penny, or a piece of jewellery or a button on your sleeve. Whatever it may be; often, having something to physically touch and remind you to be calm can be incredibly helpful.
6. Work on the resting bitch face.
When in a job interview, your body language will speak louder than the words coming out of your mouth. And a genuine friendly smile is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal. Know that the interviewer is as human as you are, and they will always be more favourable to a candidate that puts them at ease. A friendly demeanour is memorable. And remember, that you’re not just trying to show that you are capable of the job, but that you will be pleasant to work alongside too.
7. Don’t bullshit… too much.
When asked if I can do something in a job interview, I’m a big believer in just saying ‘yes’ and figuring it out later. However, there is a line. I only ever say ‘yes’ if it’s something that I really think I can teach myself if I get the job. And as long as it’s not a crucial part of the job. For example, I won’t turn up to a job interview to be a pilot and just say ‘yes, I’m awesome at flying planes.’* But if I’m asked can I use Photoshop, I always say yes, because although my skills aren’t great, they’re basic and can be bettered if necessary.
*And yes, I’m aware that’s probably not how pilots are recruited.
8. No dead air.
If you view a job interview like a chat, your feelings towards the situation will change. Try your best to keep the conversation flowing and natural. Again, it’s all about making everyone in the room feel comfortable.
If you’re asked a question and don’t know the answer, don’t become paralysed and sit silent. Just be honest and say you don’t know and move onto the next question. It’s much worse to show that you can’t cope with pressure than to answer one question incorrectly.
9. Ask the right questions.
As important as it is to impress in the interview, remember that this is a two way situation and you need to find out if this job is right for you too. Before going into the interview, make a list of things that matter to you in a job. Maybe you’re focused on career progression opportunities, or maybe you really want a job with a one hour lunch break. Whatever your priorities are, keep them in mind and at the end of the interview, when asked if you have any questions, politely address them.
10. Show off without being a braggy twat.
As mentioned, my favourite part of going for a job interview is the chance to show off all my knowledge of the industry I’m passionate about. Many women have a really hard time talking confidently about their accomplishments but this is not the time to be humble.
If you’ve done something really cool in a previous job and you think it would be relevant to this new role, there’s a way to talk about it without coming across as a braggy arrogant asshole. If you don’t think you’re the most suitable person for the job, you’ll have a hard time genuinely convincing anyone else.
11. Have an answer to the ‘what’s your weakness?’ question.
I have done quite a few job interviews and I have always been asked THAT question. You know it’s coming and it always throws you. Should you be honest and show that you have flaws or should you go with the ‘I think I’m maybe too much of a perfectionist’ line and see how it flies?
No matter what, NEVER, EVER drop that ‘too much of perfectionist’ line. Every employer in the history of the world has heard it 25 million times.
There’s no perfect answer to this question, as it will differ depending on your job, but what I like to do is give an honest weakness (one which isn’t too bad) and give examples of how I’m working on it. For example, when I was going for digital marketing jobs, I would say: “At the moment, I’m trying to learn more about coding. I only have very basic knowledge and although it’s not required for this job, I personally see it as a weakness and think it would enhance my skills if I were better at it.”
By doing that, I kind of brush off the question, whilst still giving somewhat of an honest answer that satisfies.
So there you have it; my top job interview tips. I’ve tried to cover everything I can think of, but if you have any questions, you can get in touch any time.
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