Job interview seems to be such a plain and regular thing these days. What can possibly go wrong? But after talking to a bunch of women recalling their worst job interview experiences, we have secured us some phobias for sure. Remember these as good lessons and never tell us we didn’t warn you.
1. Prepare the answers and act professionally
It’s a good habit to prepare for an interview. And that includes having answers to the questions that the interviewer might ask you. You just have to expect the interviewer to be professional enough not to ask you weird stuff. Tracey Forgue wasn’t the lucky one though when she came to be interviewed for the technical development lead role.
When she got the question “What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?”, she was shocked and made up something to answer. She also decided to ask her interviewer the same question though. “He told me how he went to Carnival in Brazil, and while he doesn’t remember what happened he woke up naked on top of a pile of other naked bodies,” Forgue recalls. “I wondered if it was because 1) I knew his secret now or 2) because my answer was very boring.” She didn’t get the job. But considering that interviewer’s answer, maybe, that was a good thing.
2. Do not drink your morning coffee in your interview clothes
What can start the morning better than a cup of coffee? Plus, it will give you the much-needed energy shot you will definitely need to nail your interview. There is just one “but” in this story. Don’t drink it once you’re all dressed up for the interview. That being said, drink it at home while you’re still in your PJ’s, then dress up, then walk out of the house. Don’t mix these steps up like Lauren Gibbs did.
“I spilled it all over myself as my Uber pulled up so I had to pay him extra to drive me super fast to a mall and wait for me to buy a new shirt before just making it huffing and puffing into the lobby,” Gibbs recalls. She did make it on time for the interview. But nobody needs that amount of stress in their lives. Take notes.
3. Reschedule if you don’t feel mentally ready
Being ready for an interview depends not only on your knowledge or skills but on your mental state too. If you’re going through severe stress, panic attacks, or tough emotional circumstances, it’s better to reschedule the interview so that you can show up later fully ready for it. Jenny Pool Radway had to learn this one the hard way.
“I’d had a hard week and that day had found out someone I knew well had passed away,” she says. “I should’ve rescheduled it but I didn’t. The woman was super judgy, made a snarky remark and I started to cry a little bit.”
The interview did not result in hiring for Poll Radway. But this might be for the better. Who needs that judgy attitude around anyway?
4. Select the jokes carefully
The sense of humor is one of the top characteristics that employers are looking for in the candidates these days. It’s a great addition to networking, negotiation, and presenting skills. But you should be careful while making up jokes. Topics like politics, religion, alcohol, race, and many others might be too sensitive. This is something Ñati Ely didn’t consider during her interview for a startup.
“It seemed like we were getting along, so I made an alcohol-related joke during the interview, and they were immediately turned off,” Ely explains. She now advises fresh job applicants to save “the camaraderie for when you already work there and are making friends!”
5. Dress according to the company’s corporate culture
Doing your “homework” on the future employer relates to many things, and the dress code is one of them. If the industry your company’s in doesn’t give you the full answer on how you should dress, go on social media. Check out the business’s Facebook or Instagram pages, look at their stories. This will help you to get a clue on what their employees wear. If you don’t guess the right outfit, it might not hurt the employer’s “feelings” as much as it’ll hurt your confidence and influence your answers.
This is another trouble that Ely got into. As she decided to go with the advice “from old-timers telling you to go in with a suit, dress jacket, or button up,” it failed her completely. “It did not fit the company culture, and I was clearly uncomfortable!” Now Ely suggests everyone should be themselves and dress professionally but never forget to include their personality in their looks too.
6. Don’t buy new clothes just for the interview
There is this bad media influence that we must show up in a new outfit every time we go to some major event. Maybe, it’s still true in the celebrity world, but in our “basic” reality the truth is different. What helps to nail an interview, business meeting, or any other important life event is the outfit you’ve worn before and know you’re absolutely flawless and confident in it. When you feel that way, you start concentrating on what you say and do rather than thoughts about your look. That being said, there is no need to buy brand new stuff for a job interview.
Now a writing coach, Kate Thomas, however, did just that. “I once bought a new suit jacket and skirt ensemble to wear for my upcoming interview and didn’t realize until after that interview that the tags were still attached (and were visible),” Thomas recalls. “I was mortified and was sure that this must have screamed desperation.” She didn’t get the job after all. But she did learn a good lesson.
7. Don’t be fully transparent
Being honest is the best strategy to nail your interview. However, being strategic is too. So if you’re viewing a job as a temporary step on your career ladder, you might not want to disclose that information to the interviewer.
Alyssa Arnzen says she wanted to get a customer service position at a call center, a job that would provide her with money while it wasn’t her passion. We all know these types of jobs, right? When Arnzen’s interviewer asked her what her future plans would be, she didn’t hold back though. “’Oh I figured I’d do this for 6 months, and then go back to school after that,’” Arnzen recalls saying. “They didn’t like that, obviously.”
Her advice to job-seekers now is to show employers that “you’re worth the investment.” “To nail job interviews, I think you always need to be mindful of what you can contribute to the company, first and foremost, and not what you can get out of working for them,” she adds.
8. Again, reschedule when you don’t feel good
Sometimes we’re just not ready. Not even mentally, but physically too. What if you just had a stomach bug last night? Or got a fever? What if your wisdom teeth got pulled out just recently? That’s what happened to Ashley Mantras when she was applying for a recreation leader in a senior center facility just two days after her wisdom teeth got pulled out.
“The guy started laughing at my swollen cheeks which made me laugh too. Then, my pockets began to bleed,” Mantras tells. Luckily, she got hired. The employer knew her since she’s been volunteering for them long before the interview.
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