Nobody likes job interviews. They are a weird combination of everything that sucks about a first date, without even the distant possibility of hooking up at the end (if you are the type of person who hooks up at the end of job interviews, you probably don’t need this article). Adding to the stress are the facts that you need to do well at an interview to get a job and you need a job to pay for food. Here are some tips to reduce the stress:
- Practice, practice, practice. Oh, yeah, everyone has told you to have a practice job interview. It’s boring as hell, but actually pretty good advice. Try it at your school’s career center, try it with your friends, or ask a professor (or all of the above).
- Just like you Google-stalk your dates before going out (come on, you totally do), you should find out a little about the person who will be interviewing you; if you don’t know the exact name of your interviewer, you should look up the company. Don’t just look at their website, look up what other people are saying about them. Have a few comments and suggestions for them. For example, if you’re interviewing for a restaurant, consider the negative Yelp reviews they inevitably have and be ready to propose a few concrete action steps for them to remedy the issue.
- If you have anxiety, manage it. I don’t mean to drug yourself into a stupor, but I mean think carefully about what makes you anxious and how you can soothe yourself. If you take medications that do not impair your judgment, take them well ahead of time.
- Do the usual things. Dress professionally for the context, and if you happen to know the office is extra casual or extra conservative, dress accordingly. Be polite and follow cues from the interviewer and others in the office (if they say it’s okay, use first names).
- Think before you speak, and try not to psych yourself out. At the end of the day, the job interview is just a conversation in a professional setting. You don’t have to ace your first job interview, and you only have to ace one to get a job. Sometimes you botch an interview, and that’s okay. Sometimes you botch an interview and still get the job. As long as you came out of the interview with some insight as to what you did and how to do better next time, then you’ve already aced it.
One of our friendly, tweed-wearing Unemployed Professors is happy to help you with your next term paper.