I just typed “job interview tips” on Google and there are 19,500,000 results in 0.07 seconds!!! Sweet God! That’s how many articles you can find about how to do a job interview in Google??? And if you’re still clueless – I’m sorry – but I think you need to be medicated.
In this “professional” life I’ve reached a conclusion that a true job interview is nothingelse but a heart to heart talk about your career with stranger. Wait, a heart-to-heart talk needs a total honesty… well, then close to that. There’s nothing so scary or stimulating or neurotic about a job interview anymore. I’ve done it more than 30 times in the last 12 years, by any level of individual in the hiring company, and not to mention I’ve already interview people for quite a lot of times now.
I remember on the first job interview, I was so excited that I prepare myself 1 week before the date, meaning exactly a second after a friend told me the interview date (thank God he didn’t tell me 3 months before, imagine the preparation). I still don’t understand why I chose that bright red blazer with black mini skirt as the first interview apparel. BRIGHT RED BLAZER *sigh*. Maybe I wanted to look appealing in front of the mid40 lady. I was also wearing a thick make up along with the bright pink blush-on. Later I knew from my former bosses (which all women) that they laughed so hard – almost fell from their seats – just by looking at me. But God only know how much I feel so nervous at that time. It went well thou, I was hired and became the new unofficial “office girl” since I was the youngest staff. First job, I got nothing to complain.
The next 15 interviews were also felt so enthralling. I prepared my dress, rehearsed my expression in front of the mirror, practiced my English conversation, printed my CV, triple checked my make-up, even bought a book about “How to Answer Job Interview Questions” (a very thin book from local writer but in English, a total joke).
When I arrived at the interview place, I sit straight and fold my hands and rehearsing a sincere smile over and over again. I was kinda afraid that my expression will give a tiny hint that I’m a total psycho weirdo to my interviewer. I’m a weirdo true, but not a psycho. I was answering all questions a bit too excited that I seemed like out of breath and my voice a bit shaky. The filling the forms still the most painful one to do since it feels like writing back the whole CV to a table.
I was totally freak out with whoever interviewing me cause I highly suspect that the “stranger” will profiling me based on even the tiniest gesture I make. I was so afraid if I nod my head too often they’ll think my characters is weak, if I swing my hand too much I’m careless, if my shoulder fall down I’m not enthusiastic and so on and so on.
After the interview, I replay the whole scene in my head and try to find flaws and mistakes, and mourning over that, blaming myself for not being too smart and that they totally won’t hire me because I said “right” instead of “true” or because I forget to smile often. Yeah, I was neurotic.
Then along the time I was starting to see this pattern of an interviewer as well as the interview scene itself. That there are two types of interviewer, one are those who just doing their job, then the other one are those who really want to know about me and how I fit the position. The first one, they’ll ask me questions while filling the form, usually I’ll be invited to their office. It is a total formality and all I have to do is look nice (or decent) and give them short-to-the-point answers they’ll be happy enough. They invite me to their office meaning they don’t have a lot of time, simple. I don’t take it for granted thou. It’s still a job interview, but I won’t worry too much.
The second one is those who ask for a casual meeting in public place, they seldom carry any papers to fill. Of course I’m more excited with the second one which I need to prepare more. NOT a physical preparation, I pass that already – err supposedly. The preparation is more to the general knowledge about the prospective company (research), about the one who will interview me (googled them), about mapping the ideas that I might contribute to the company IF I’m hired. This kind of interview not only allows me to explain more about myself, so I need to make clear talking point of whatever I need to share, but also opportunity to get to know my interviewer better.
Most importantly I realized that job interview is not a one way assessment, it’s totally 2 ways. It’s not about me being profiled whether I fit their company or not, but for me to find out whether this person’s company is the place where I want to work based on his/her explanations. And I have as much power to stop the interview and walk away.
I remember once being interviewed by the Marketing Communications Director of this big brand electronic company. Not only he made me wait for 20 minutes without apologizing, but he ask me an open question then he corrected my answer based on his own opinion. He asked me “In your opinion what is PR?”, I said “in general, PR is creating good image through effective communications media, bla bla bla” and he said “ No, PR is innovation”… what the hell? how many PR books have you read? Not to mention he kept bragging about how close his position with the BOD. I was looking at him passively and give him a clear signal “I want to get out of here, you’re wasting my time”.
In conclusion, just as I said before, it’s just like meeting a stranger and sharing about what you want to do in this life, professionally. I like interview as long as its sincere. Of course with a clear statement from me that I’m hoping to be able to work with the person that interviewing me in the future.
My last interview was really fun, despite it’s still a long process to a decision. Again, please wish me luck dear friends.