Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
INTERVIEWS / SEP. 20, 2014
version 4, draft 4

Top 10 Tips to Ace That Interview

Finding a good job post is like conducting recon for wartime intelligence. Your resume and cover letters are secret agents seducing the target into action, and you are the secret weapon — the dashing, silver-tongued job-interviewee James Bond. The success of this mission relies entirely on you. No pressure. Here’s some tips to help you ace that interview:

Tip #10: Take what’s yours

The internet is 55 percent porn, 45 percent job-seekers. Sludge and filth that you have to wade through and rise above to take what’s rightfully yours. You have to stand out and ignore everything but the mission at hand — finding the perfect job and taking it. This requires three things: An outstanding resume, a killer cover letter, and the intestinal fortitude to set your sights on the best in your field, and pull the trigger. Remember that you’ll miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.

Tip #9: Procrastinate later, push out the fear

Thomas Jefferson advises to "never put off till tomorrow what you can do today", and this humble tip will raise you above a mountain of clamoring graduates and recently unemployed, who haven’t learned to push out the fear and feelings of inadequacy that we all feel as we step into unchartered territory.

Tip #8: Perception is reality, and first impressions stick

Boldness is key. Not weird, semi-violent, stalker-stare boldness. Friendly confidence. A firm handshake and a smile. Men, this should go without saying, but if the interviewer is a woman, please, for the love of all that is good, don’t limp-hand her to try to avoid coming across as overpowering. She’s interviewing you, and she doesn’t need to be coddled. 

Tip #7: Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance

The key to confidence is preparation. There’s plenty of tough interview question lists floating around the expanse of the internet. Nab one of them and recruit a friend or family member to interrogate you. 

Tip #6: Fail your way to success, then ace it.

There’s a Japanese proverb that says "Fall seven times, stand up eight." You’ve taken plenty of shots and missed most of them because that’s how success works. Winston Churchill said, "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm", you’ve done that and now you’ve finally landed an interview. Now what? Ace it. Use whatever social skill you have in your toolbox and prove to them that you’re the best for the job. 

Tip #5: Err on the side of arrogance

That may sound like awful advice, but it’s really not, unless you’re a modern day Zeus whose been naturally endowed with brimming confidence in the face of all adversaries. It’s all about balance. Interviews inspire sweaty palms and hammering chests, but you can balance the scales by holding your head a little bit higher, making more friendly eye contact, and flexing your charisma muscles a little more than usual. 

Tip #4: Personality — good. Personal life — bad. 

Swing your beautiful personality around like a charisma-dripping Thor-hammer, but you don’t need to share unwanted personal life stories. If it relates to the job, that’s fine, but keep it brief. 

Tip #3: Follow-through

It works for golf, baseball, basketball, cricket (I think?) and pretty much everything, especially interviews. Don’t leave them alone for too long. First send a thank you note (a thank you email is second rate but works too), then follow up with a call. Less than 7 days is too soon, over 10 is late.

Tip #2: Study your interview failures

Self-evaluation isn’t easy, so do your best to get the truth out of the person who interviewed you. Just say, calmly and civilly, "for my next scheduled interview I’d like to avoid to top 3 reasons you chose someone else over me — it would help me so much if you could let me know what those reasons are". Write the reasons down, and note anything you think could do better. Then practice again. In front of the mirror, with friends, at the bowling alley, in your car — brainwash yourself into doing those things right.  

Tip #1: Keep moving forward

H. Stanley Judd said, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” To take some of the sting off of failing though, you might want to do this. As soon as the interview is over, quickly jot down notes for improvement, then move on to the next employer. Never stop moving. Forget about the interview until your alarm reminds you it’s time to follow up, or better yet, they call you. Getting hired should come as a complete surprise if you do this right, because you’ve practically forgotten they existed.  


Image: istock

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