Many years ago I was interviewed for a job and knew I wasn’t handling the interrogation process nearly as well as whenever I interviewed someone.
I wore impenetrable dark glasses through the interview–as I did through the entire 1980s–and was sporting a messy ‘fro and clothes that reeked of cigarette smoke. (The pursuit of lung cancer was fully allowed in clubs then.)
What’s more, I was practically monosyllabic, sorely lacking in energy because this interview was at noon–an incredibly early time to me in 1984–and I was as nervous as a club owner during a police raid.
And yet, I got the job, I guess because I did have the credentials and delivered a good sample column.
The job was writing a column for The Village Voice!
And that sort of worked out!
But don’t take crazy chances like I did. Here are my “Those who can’t, teach” rules for how to behave during a job interview, assuming you can get one:
*Dress nicely, not casually, but don’t wear something so bold and fancy it’ll take emphasis away from your qualifications. This isn’t a fashion show.
*Give a firm but polite handshake and smile when you enter. Give the impression that you’re an affable pro and a team player, which, after all, you are, right?
*Make sure your hair is pulled away from your face so they can see your eyes, which should be used for full eyeball contact throughout. Don’t come off skittish or shy. They’re looking for a focused achiever.
*Have a pre-rehearsed spiel on what makes you right for the job, with details as to your relevance and skill. Don’t just wing it when you get there. Come with examples of why you’re the best candidate–your background, your location, your connections. Be prepared to drop names.
*A little flattery is nice. Let them know why you want to work there and not just anywhere. But don’t go overboard. Ass-kissing can backfire it you don’t do sincerity well.
*When you exit, don’t say something desperate like “God, I pray you’ll choose me for this job!” That comes off sad and desperate and makes them want you less. Say something more on the order of “I hope this works out for both of us.” That gives the impression that you’re a hot ticket with options–which, after all, you are, right?