Posts Tagged ‘interviews’


In an interview
A sense of humor is good
Sex jokes, not so much

Be yourself,  sort of
But not your fetishist side
No staring at feet

If you swear a lot
Don’t “f*ck” in an interview
Three blocks down’s okay

If you’re cynical
Try to curb the sarcasm
The job’s not Snark Queen

Are you religious?
Don’t bless the interviewer
Unless she sneezes

Weirdness can be cool
Just stay out of Crazy Town
Until you get home

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No, I’m not referring to the ones who act like arrogant spoiled brats, barf on the Ritz ballroom floor when they were supposed to be on set an hour ago, and make their assistants clean it up. I’m talking about the classy ones who know what they have to offer, while respecting their colleagues’ roles in their work performance.

1.   Ooze confidence. We all have our insecurities, but do you think Angelina Jolie ever stammers to a director, “I don’t really deserve this role, but I’ll guess I’ll give it a try if you really want me to”? Doubt it. You know what your strengths are, and you know how you can be an asset to a company. So own your power – even if you don’t have lips the size of Buicks.

2.   Focus on the mutual interaction, not just yourself. You’re not a prisoner being interrogated by a fascist threatening torture. Nor are you a one-woman show. A job interview is a mutual-benefit encounter. If Jake Gyllenhaal just recited his lines without paying any attention to his co-star, he’d probably be selling ties at WalMart by now, no matter how hot he is.

3.     Dress the part. Think Ashton Kutcher shows up for a screen test with unwashed hair and morning breath? I’m thinking no. Unless, of course, he’s reading for a part as a homeless person. Dress for the interview; make sure all body odors are unobjectionable.

4.   Respect your potential costars. Don’t keep them waiting, explore how you can work together to produce a great whatever, and play nice.

5.   Be a class act. You don’t need to be super-formal unless you’re that kind of person, but be professional. If you have to wait for the interviewer, don’t whine. And no tantrums allowed.

Spider-Man has a job interview. He knows the interviewer won’t just ask him about his work history, but will also probably do a behavioral interview, i.e. ask him to give examples of times when he saved the world from multi-limbed freaks or greedy uber-ambitious guys who climbed out of  the TV sitcom hellpit. Here are some of the behavioral interview stories he’s prepared:

  • a time when he solved a problem –  “I had to figure out how to save a trainload of people without splitting myself in half, so I focused on the problem and used my finger to create a rope….”
  • a story about handling conflict – “When my best friend wanted to kill me ’cause I killed his father and stole his girlfriend, I successfully negotiated a win-win before I knocked him unconscious.”
  • a time when he defused a potentially volatile situation – “I de-limbed Alfred Molina as he was about to destroy a lot of buildings….”
  • his strategies for handling stress – “To keep my general stress level low, I do some deep breathing, climb walls, and bungee-jump without the bungee.”
  • an example demonstrating how well he worked on a team – “I divided up world-saving responsibilities with my alter-ego based on our different strengths.”
  • a time when he initiated a project or strategy – “I started the Spidey’s-Not-the-Bad-Guy Fan Club.”
  • an example of when he juggled multiple priorities – “Well, I had to save three people who were about to fall to their death, so I perched two of them on the roof….”

A career portfolio is always a good idea as part of your job search package, to trot out at interviews to showcase your accomplishments. A job search show-and-tell, as it were.  And no, it’s not just for artists, writers and celebrity bachelor party cake decorators.

Samples of your professional accomplishments, skills, problems you’ve solved, and dragons you’ve beheaded can illustrate what you’re talking about in an interview in a powerful way. Being able to say, “…and I have an example of that if you’d like to see it,” can win you big fat brownie points in a job interview.

Of course, the interviewer may say, “no thanks, I don’t need to see your headless dragon,” but even if they don’t end up seeing anything you’ve got in there, the process of putting your portfolio together is still really helpful.  Going through your materials and work samples can help you a. prepare for the interview,  b. figure out where the hell your career is going,  c. figure out where you want it to go,  and  d. make you feel really good about yourself, because your accomplishments are all laid out in front of you and scattered all over the kitchen floor.

There are many materials you want to include in your career portfolio (more about that in a later post); here are some things you’ll want to leave out:

  • Your dating site photo; the one with the boob shirt. Really, for that matter, any photo unless you’re a model or actor. In addition to being inappropriate, it’s redundant – you’re sitting right in front of them.
  • Different versions of your resume. What is the interviewer supposed to do, pick the one that best matches the color of their walls? Choose the version that’s most relevant to that position/the same one you sent them (ahem – they should be one and the same), and include that one in your portfolio.
  • Stuff in general not relevant to the position for which you’re interviewing. You don’t want the interviewer to say, “Wait a minute. Which position are you interviewing for again?”
  • Reference letters old enough to be on yellowed paper. I don’t really have to spell out the reasons for that one, do I?
  • Confidential or proprietary information, without permission from the company or clients involved. Again, don’t really need to spell that one out.
  • Personal information that a prospective employer doesn’t need to know about. Even if you think the fundamentalist revival you helped coordinate and the tongues you spoke in while there might somehow be relevant to that office manager position, leave the leaflets you passed out at the mall out of your portfolio.
  • Anything that doesn’t demonstrate a success. If you designed marketing collateral for a huge fund raising event, you’re asked about the results, and only 3 people showed up, that’s not going to look too good for you. Showcase successes, not disasters.

straitjacket guyA comedic look at job search and success – “What Color is Your Parachute” meets “This Is Spinal Tap,” if you will. This combination of comedy and advice gives helpful tips to anyone who is searching for a job, or hoping to hold on to the one they have. Topics include contemplating your navel to find your life’s work, idiot-proofing your job search, online disasters, strategic schmoozing, resume do’s and don’ts, interviewing horrors and how to handle them, how to hold on to your job, reflections on bizarre jobs, and weird work stories.

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/what-color-is-your-straitjacket-a-pocket-guide-to-getting-and-keeping-a-job-without-going-wacko/14265245