May Contain Blueberries

the sometimes journal of Jeremy Beker

In the same theme as yesterday’s post, I thought I would expand by adding my suggestions for those people who are in the job market looking for work based on the hundreds of people I have interviewed over the years. I won’t go over the standard type of stuff like researching the company you are interviewing with, being on time, bathing, etc. which you can find many other places.

Know how to shake hands

I always feel a little shallow talking about this topic, but it really is something that makes an impression. The first impression I get from a candidate that has what my father referred to as the “dead fish handshake” is really hard to overcome during an interview. It immediately puts me in the mind of a person who is not self-confident. And when I interview I am looking for personality far more than I am specific “resume” skills.

Look comfortable in your clothes

This is an area where I will amend the traditional wisdom on what to wear to an interview. The overly simplistic rule is “dress up for an interview, preferably a suit (or equivalent).” This is silly as it is based upon a standard 60’s office culture. Modern wisdom has shifted that you should wear one notch higher on the formality for the office you are going into. This is a good general rule, but I will add a corollary to that. If you aren’t comfortable in your clothes, wear something else. Even if the “rules” would state that you should wear a suit to an interview, if you never wear suits, you have a badly fitting one you got for a wedding 5 years ago, and you will spend the entire interview fidgeting with it, don’t wear the damn suit. Find something close that you will look comfortable in.

As an interviewer, I will happily overlook a slightly less formal dressing style if you seem comfortable and relaxed. While if you look like you would like to claw your tie off and are uncomfortable, I will notice and it will make me wonder if you always act like that.

Keep Talking

Don’t give one word answers. If you are asked a question, obviously you need to answer the question. But look for the openings that will allow you to tell a good (appropriate) story that exemplifies why you are the right candidate. Make me want to hear you keep talking. Remember that beyond the work that a company needs you to do, they also have to spend 8 hours a day with you. If you appear boring and uninteresting, you are at a disadvantage.

Know what you want to do

Have an idea what you would like to do in a perfect world. And be willing to talk about it even if the current job you are interviewing for isn’t exactly that thing. Displaying a sense of vision and imagination is what shows you can think for yourself. If, when asked that question, you say that you have always wanted to do is exactly what my job description says, I will not be impressed. I will assume you are either very boring or trying to suck up.

In the end, the interview is the potential start to a long term relationship. You are trying to impress the interviewers with you as a person. Keep that in mind and you should do fine.