There are some great blogs and websites out there that give you lots of tips to help you land a job. All the advice is basically the same, and that’s good. Consistent advice means many people agree. But most of the advice is common sense and that’s not the kind of stuff we care about right?
I’ve been to a number of interviews in my relatively short career. Some of the interviews have been for practice, while others have been for jobs I had no intention of taking. Others have been for jobs I wanted and bombed. While some have been for jobs I wanted, and GOT. I’m about as qualified to give advice as anyone else that writes a blog (read: not at all). But I have some advice that might actually help you.
Go to the bathroom before you go in: You don’t know how long you’re going to be in there. Best to drain the pipes before you go tell them how awesome you are.
Freshen up your breath: Chew some gum on your way to the interview, pop in a tic tac in the waiting room. Just don’t have bad breath, because that’s all they’ll remember.
Get a drink of water: You’re going to be talking a lot. Some interviewers will actually provide you with water, take advantage of it. But don’t drink too much, see the point above.
Don’t be yourself: When are you yourself? When you don’t care what people think about you. When are you not yourself? When you want to make a good impression: first dates, meeting your girlfriend’s parents, and… job interviews. Be that version of yourself that makes good impressions. But be honest with yourself, you wouldn’t hire the “real you” just not no one would date the real you and no one else would either.
Ask questions: beyond the typical stuff, always have a good question that leaves an impression. My go to is to ask about the interviewer. Ask how they got to where they are, and what they did right or wrong in their career.
Don’t just know the employer: beyond reading up about the employer, read up about competitors, and the industry. I bombed an interview with a well known investment firm because I didn’t know what distinguished them from their competitors (the truth is, not much).
Don’t ramble: I have this problem in interviews. Rambling shows you’re not certain, and if you ramble long enough you forget the question (guilty). The only way you can avoid chronic rambling is to practice. There are lots of sites with hundreds of interview questions. Use them.
Make a memory: Have something (a skill, an experience, a story) that blows the mind of the interviewer. Or do something that leaves a lasting impression. It doesn’t need to be anything that pertains to the job, but when that interviewers goes back to review you, they need to remember you. I got one job because the interviewer had some technical skills I wanted to learn, I asked him to email me some resources he used when he was learning these skills. He had to remember me in order to send them. He was only one of four people that interviewed me, but my interest in him and his skillset made him say he’d hire me for his group if I wasn’t hired for the one I interviewed for.
Here’s the truth with job interviews. If you make it to the interview, they already assume you have the skills necessary to do the job without screwing it up. What they’re looking for in the interview is a good fit.
You can make sure you’re a good fit by turning the interview into a conversation. Make them have a good time. The less it feels like an interview, the better things are probably going. Impressions and personality matter almost more than anything else by the time you get to the interview. Studies have shown (I don’t have the proof handy) that the interviewer knows within the first 5 minutes, and even 30 seconds, if you’re going to make the cut.
You need to be memorable, and likable. Being likable isn’t enough, because almost everyone’s “first date persona” is somewhat likable.
Follow my tips of course at your own risk. I take no responsibility if it blows up in your face, but all the responsibility if you get a job.