Job Hunting? Don’t Interview Like a Chooch

I’ve read lots and lots and lots of blog posts dedicated to the art of interviewing for jobs. In fact, entire blogs exist to document the adventure.

Frustration has also rode my back, cackled in my ear and slapped my arse while I did the job-search-thing, and never more so than straight out of college. I assumed, like most recent graduates, that employers would throw money at my fancy pants degree. I’m so fantastic, they won’t be able to pay me enough.

Week 1: Applied for one, maybe two jobs at the most prestigious of companies. Waited patiently for said companies to drool over my resume and contact me with gifts, bribes and personal monkey slaves.

Week 2: Slightly dismayed, I sent courteous follow-ups and applied to a few more. I’ll just have to turn down their offers if they aren’t going to get back to me quickly (please hold your laughter until the end).

Week 3: Thoroughly dismayed and semi-broke, revamped my resume and shotgunned it to every opening in the USA. Sorry, not you Montana, you’re…….. Montana.

Week 4: Um, hello? Is anyone going to get back to me? Okay, maybe I just need to broaden my idea of the ideal job. I can use my math degree anywhere! “Sir, I wouldn’t stand there. I just mopped and that floor has 100% probability of being wet.”

……..

Week 3,092:

What I looked like after 6 months of job searching and interviewing

I’ve had the chance over the past few weeks to interview job candidates and never have I learned more about interviewing than by being on this side of it. My oozing benevolence requires that I leak a few tips.

1. Do not say that you are seeking a “physically challenging job” when you are applying for a desk job. You didn’t read the posting. My only physical challenge is candy.

2. You might think you are soooo “on”. That you’re killing it. But interviewers can see right through canned/safe/traditional answers, especially if they aren’t your true inclination. And do you want to be another “hard worker” or “go-getter”? Or do you want to provide a unique experience that shows me those qualities?

8. If asked “What are your interests?” don’t ask that we come back to the question while you think about it, unless you are a robot.

A. Don’t get bullet-numbering wrong on your resume.

5. Don’t change your stance because it’s contrary to the interviewer. I interview with a coworker and we play good cop/bad cop, but in the same room. He is cold as ice, no smiles, no jokes, while I pretend every word out of your mouth is pure gold; you’re thrown off by his questions but never feel like you bombed because I act like an idiot.

Bad Cop: What is your ideal work environment?
Interviewee 1: I like to work in small groups.
Bad Cop: So it is a problem that we work in groups of 30?
Interviewee 1: Oh, 30 is still small. That is perfect.
Bad cop: Sometimes it is groups of 100.
Interviewee 1: I would still like that!
Good cop: Personally, I love small groups of 1000! High five!

Interviewee 2: I love that you guys are dressed so casual. My last company was really straight laced, all of them in shirts and ties.
Bad cop: It’s actually casual Tuesday.
Interviewee 2: Oh, well, I like dressing up too.
Good cop: Oh he’s kidding. It’s not casual Tuesday.
Interviewee 2: *nervous laugh* You almost had me, I was worried there.
Good cop: Yeah don’t worry. Today is Wednesday, right?

The take home lesson? Don’t back pedal. If you’re caught just once, we can’t trust your answers as anything but telling us what you think we want to hear.

6. Easily the most important point, so imagine I am putting my hand on your shoulder and gazing into your soul.

Be yourself.

That sounds so incredibly stupid, like past things I have said, but “performing” for an interview is one of the easiest things to spot. The facade of “I’m the perfect candidate!” looks more like “Please don’t notice I suck”. But notice I do.

Desperation and nervousness in a job interview

Remember that you are interviewing them, too.

You need to fit in. What if you’re nerdy? Own it. Don’t hide it. Expose yourself in all your nerd glory. Guess what? They wanted nerd-tastic.

You’re hired.

And now, the best commercial ever produced:

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5 Responses to Job Hunting? Don’t Interview Like a Chooch

  1. And most of all (if I’m interviewing at your company) I would know either to bring extra jelly doughnuts for everyone, or at the very least not to take the last one away from your side of the basket when you’ve been such a good cop (right? right? Do I get the job now? How about now (imagine me in heroic profile with nary a drop of jelly doughnut goo left on my lips)?

    • Peter Monaco says:

      That’s funny because on a recent new hire’s first day, we had him bring in donuts. He did very well and bought some jelly. However, he ruined it by taking one of them. We had to let him go….

  2. grannyK says:

    I so hate interviews. I, too, have been on both sides and I hate both sides equally. You made some very good points here. Thanks!

  3. Your job-crazed picture is right on the money. Hilarious! And if you aren’t currently trying to pay rent with Monopoly money and you can afford to be a little choosy in your job, your advice to be yourself is the best advice. It’s hard to remember that as an interviewee you are actually interviewing the new job, too. I learned this lesson the hard way and had town socialites complaining about my handwriting to my boss in order to get me fired… small town politics are lame… and, as it turns out, not for me. ;)

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