Help me not suck at job interviews
April 17, 2011 3:31 AM Subscribe
I have an interview for my dream position this week. Help me ace it/not ruin my chances.
posted by nerdfish to Work & Money (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I recently found out I've made it to the final round for a killer position with my dream company in the industry I want to work in. Yay! Only problem is I haven't interviewed for a job since I was 20, and I'm nervous. I've worked in the university sector for my entire career as a PhD student (and now I can say I'm officially a doctor of philosophy), so, even though I'm deeply committed to my this new step in my career, I feel a bit uninformed about the way hiring and firing works in the 'outside' world.
They were a bit vague about when the interview is. I can expect a call on Monday, basically, and I'll either go into the office or speak to them over the phone. The interview is for a creative role. This weekend I'm focusing on learning as much as I can about the company and writing down all of my concerns and questions about the position, and also managing my expectations.
Here are my anxiety points:
- I have a strong tendency to speak very quickly and apologise for myself when I'm nervous. I'm trying to prepare now by keeping up with mindfulness meditation, biking and running, things that help keep my anxiety in check, but I'm really concerned that in the heat of the moment I'll start talking a mile a minute. How do you keep your cool in these situations?
- I'm working on moving between two very, very different industries, and I'm not sure how to respond to the inevitable question of why I want to work in this industry and not in research/academia. The honest answer is a combination of burnout and an almost gut instinct that I'd be great in New Industry, but I'm not sure if that's what this company wants to hear.
- In addition, my research was highly theoretical/philosophical, and I still struggle to explain it to people outside my discipline. I'm proud of my dissertation and my work, but I still cringe when someone asks me about my PhD. What do I say when this comes up? I'm very concerned about appearing rigid and pretentious.
- Last but not least, holy cats, what do I WEAR?? I skew rather feminine in my style, ie I have long hair and regularly wear skirts/dresses/makeup. I know a number of people who work for this company, and they seem permanently dressed in jeans and Cons. I also have a tattoo on the inside of my upper arm. Do I aim for 'professional' or do I am for 'casual'? What do grownup women wear, anyway??
- Snowflake concerns aside, if you've been in the position to hire people I'd really love to know what an interviewee absolutely shouldn't do/say, and what they should, bearing in mind that I'm kind of an idiot at job interviews.
Thank you, hive mind!