Interviewing in 2011 & Why So Nervous (to interview that is…)?Posted: March 19, 2011
Before I get on topic I wanted to apologize about posting so little this week. Between having a cold, interviews and graphic design jobs I haven’t had much time for my blog. Additionally since I’m new to the whole blog thing (it’s been about a month since I started) I’m still learning how to best prioritize my time to make sure I post regularly and (more importantly) I post things that are helpful, interesting and well written. Feel free to comment!
Now that my energy is coming back and I’m starting to feel human again I wanted to talk about interviewing (again). It’s on the brain since I just had another interview yesterday.
Yesterday’s interview was different from any other I’ve ever had, but then again every interview I’ve ever had has been different than their predecessors before. When I was in my last hardcore job search I was a senior in college and had NO idea what I was doing and had no confidence in my skills. Most of those interviews didn’t go well by today’s standards, but then again hindsight is 20/20, right?
This leads me to the 2 points I wanted to touch on today:
No two interviews or interviewers are the same
I’ve noticed in my current job search that interviewers are not just asking the typical interview questions. They’re actively trying to get you out of your shell. They assume you know all the typical interview questions and they want to ask you something you haven’t prepared for. In each interview I’ve had in my current job search I’ve been asked a question that made me think “I didn’t prepare for this question, nor would I have even thought to prepare for this question…” Some examples are: “Have you read any customer service books?”, “Describe your sense of humor” and my favorites “One of our core values is Data Driven, what does that mean?”(GREAT question BTW) and “If I tripped and fell would you laugh, or ask me if I was ok?”
Really?? Cause honestly, if anyone fell I would ask if they were ok and if they started laughing then I’d probably join in, which is what I answered… I believe my interviewer was looking for “Laugh”…
Before you ask, I’ve been interviewing for a wide range of positions from cashier at a large DIY store, Customer Service Representative for an information and technology company and everything in between. Not by any means VP or salaried positions.
I’m not upset that the typical interview questions have changed, I’m actually quite pleased about this since you’ll probably get to know me better by asking different questions, I’m just upset that it took me 6 or so interviews to realize this… Which is why I’m sharing this with you and planning to write an article about it.
The second part of no two interviews or interviewers are the same that I wanted to touch upon is that even in the more typical interviews I like to take it upon myself to answer the questions well, but also add a personal touch so they remember me for something other than my canned answers. Being different in an interview isn’t a bad thing, just make sure you’re not inappropriate.
For instance when asked about my writing skills I usually say I have strong writing skills and that I just got an article published about a month ago and would be happy to share the link with them if interested. That way the interviewer can check out my article to get a taste of my writing. Also this most likely sets me apart from other candidates. I guarantee most people applying at DIY Central don’t have a published article, or maybe don’t think to share that tidbit since the job doesn’t require someone with a published article.
Onto point #2 (finally, I know, I’m a little long winded today…)
There’s no reason to be nervous in an interview
Whenever I get nervous before an interview I just remind myself that I really do believe I would be an asset to XYZ Company and regardless if I get the job or not I have nothing to loose, only a lot to gain. If I don’t get the job, I’m no worse off and I have other things I’m working on to bring home the bacon and other job opportunities in the pipe.
With that attitude you’re much more likely to get the job than if you’re nervous and the interviewer can tell, so just do what you need to do to put a check on your nerves.
I can’t believe I’m admitting this but sometimes in my car before I walk into an interview I look in my rear view mirror and tell myself that I’m awesome and XYZ Company would be silly not to hire me! Saying it out loud helps. If that doesn’t work for you, call your mom, talk to your best friend and ask them to reaffirm you.
And even if you bomb the interview it’s only a failure if you don’t learn anything from it, which is why I always do a post mortem on all my interviews so I can always be sure to improve for the next one.