How to Nail Job Interviews*

Jade Szymanski | Contributor

Summer hiring season is upon us, and whether you’re applying to work at Cobs Bread or as a ziplining guide, you will have to go through the horrible process of sending out dozens of resumes and (hopefully) scheduling job interviews either via Skype, phone, or in person. Personally, I always find this taxing process to be very stressful each year, and boy can I tell you that it never gets better. There’s the huge pressure of deciding which city you’ll want to spend your alluring summer in, finding a job that aligns with your specific interests, making sure the job pays decently well, being able to plan time off (even though it’s a seasonal position) so that you can also have time for that trip down the Oregon Coast you’ve always wanted to do… my list goes on and on, and if I’m not absolutely alone in my crazy overthinking, you probably have similar anxieties as well.

Once you get over the daunting task of sending out your resumes to companies that match your capabilities and are realistic enough in helping you attain your personal goals at the same time, the emails should come rolling in with their managers and directors wanting to meet you! Now this is where the true agony sets in; you are no longer able to hide your monstrous looks and hideous personality behind your glamourous resume that is honestly just all smoke and mirrors. My first tip is to be quick to respond to all communications with the company and be professional in your emails. This establishes a good first impression before the interview in order to demonstrate positive work ethics such as punctuality and competent communication skills.

After both parties have agreed on a date, time, and method of interview, it is time to pull yourself together and start formulating beauty pageant-worthy answers to some predictable questions pertaining to the realm of the job you are applying to. While it may seem a little obvious and redundant, never underestimate the effectiveness of prepping some answers to basic questions, such as your personal and professional goals for the summer, strengths, weaknesses, why you’re interested in the job, why you’re the best candidate for the job, where you hope to be in five years… blah blah blah. You can never be too prepared for an interview, so consistently run through your answers in your head until you can recite your answers without hesitation. How well you speak will have a bigger impact than what you say.

Be sure to show up 15-30 minutes early for your interview if it is in person, as punctuality is a subtle clue about attitude and behaviour. Tardiness, no matter the excuse, is a major faux pas. Research in advance what your parking options are and allow plenty of time. If your interview is over Skype, allow yourself to have 15 minutes before your scheduled interview as well in order to account for any technological problems such as needing to update the app or making sure your camera and microphone is working.

Fashion time! Whether over in person or even over Skype, your appearance is a large part of what makes a successful interview, as it will be the first thing your interviewer notices when they first meet you. Formal attire such as a collared shirt and dress pants or a modest skirt can give off the image of the classiness you desire without the arrogance of a broach or monocle. While you’re at it, run a comb through your hair and splash on a touch of rouge as well. As an optional piece of advice: while wearing no pants during your Skype interview is extremely thrilling and makes a great story to tell once you’ve snagged the job, I would also consider the odds of you requiring to stand up at any point during the interview and accidentally flashing your possible employer the snow white cheeks of an amateur gym-obsessed squatter.

When it comes to answering all of the interviewer’s questions, aim to take 1-2 minutes per question, as this demonstrates your intellect, a strong ability to reflect on oneself, and shows your contentions. To bulk up your answers, you can provide examples of real life situations you’ve been in. By supporting statements about yourself with specific examples, you can provide legitimacy to your claims. Without them, the interviewer won’t accept them as valid.

Lastly, composure is the final element that is necessary for that picture perfect interview. The key is to be confident but not cocky, and to be enthusiastic but not forceful. Balance is the key in this, and if you are doubtful in yourself at any moment, fake it ‘til you make it babe!