by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, May 2006 and the Boston City Paper
Note: Recently I have found myself interviewing, and am blessed to have found a terrific new job. But it’s been a crazy month, and I thought some job-hunting humor was in order…
I have been taking note of the fact that many people look for jobs every day but many or most lack certain interviewing skills that hinder their chances of finding the right position.
After literally thousands of hours of research and documentation, I would like to present this handy guide to interviewing success to anyone looking for a job.
BE PROMPT! There is no excuse for being three hours late for an interview. Most companies, however unjustly, view your tardiness as an indicator of your future performance. Best bet: Arrive NO LATER than 30 minutes late for any interview.
BUT: Don’t arrive early — you’ll look needy and over-eager.
BRING AT LEAST ONE HUNDRED COPIES OF YOUR RESUME. Companies go through piles of resumes every day so be sure to bring along yours. Hand one to every person you see and scotch tape it to the walls. Also, it’s best not to go with plain white paper — everyone uses it. BORING! Print your resume on festive holiday paper (Halloween pumpkins and bats are nice) or print on lime green or bright red paper — your resume will be sure to be noticed.
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND REMIND PEOPLE OF YOUR NAME. It’s very helpful if you wear a large, “HELLO MY NAME IS” tag on your lapel. Spell your name, especially if is a simple name: “Hi, I am Bob, that’s B-O-B.”
MAKE EYE CONTACT. It’s important to show you are direct and forthright. Immediately make eye contact with the interviewer. Do not break your stare until they blink.
BUT ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES. Immediately after shaking hands, say, “This is my dance space; this is your dance space.” You also have a right to privacy. When they ask what you did at your last job, add, “I was told those records are sealed.”
SHOW THAT YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT THE INTERVIEW. Place a tape recorder on the table and explain that this interview may be monitored or recorded for training and quality assurance purposes.
BE INQUISITIVE. Interviewers like this; it means you are interested in the job. A great question to begin with: “So, what exactly do you guys do here?” and “What’s your company’s name again?”
BE HONEST. Don’t make excuses if you nod off. Just smile, explain you fell asleep for just a moment, and ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
DRESS THE PART. It happens to a lot of people — the white shirt you’re wearing is cheap polyester and sheer — allowing the Superman costume under your suit to be clearly visible. Best bet: Wear thick cotton to cover the costume. If you forget, just mutter, “Great Scott, my secret identity has been revealed!”
SHOW THAT YOU ARE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS. Ask about the company recycling program. Ask, “Do you have a company recycling plan? Or do you just throw your garbage into the Artic and club baby seals?” This shows you not only recycle, you care about the environment and small animals.
SHOW FAMILIARITY WITH TECHNOLOGY. Pick up a CD; face it toward a light and say, “Ooooooh, shiny!”
SHOW EGO STRENGTH. Refer to yourself in the third person. “Bob is displeased with that question. Bob agrees with you. Bob was a person of supreme importance at his previous job.” Also, you can never go wrong talking like Yoda from Star Wars: “Honored would I be to work here.” “Generous, your benefits package is.” “Know how to load a video driver, I do not.”
ASK RELEVANT QUESTIONS: Ask, “Drug screening isn’t today, right, right?” And then mutter, “Whew!”
YOU MUST PROVIDE REFERENCES. In years gone by, a request for references could be challenged with a simple, “Are you calling me a liar?” but these days interviewers WILL ask for references. At least two should be from your Corrections / Parole officers, and at least one should be someone known to be dead, such as Adlai Stevenson. They never check that stuff, anyway.
ESTABLISH HOW MANY HOURS YOU WILL WORK. When discussing hours, if you are asked if you’re willing to do overtime, the best response is to just roll your eyes. If they still want an answer, the best response is, “Yeah, just so long as I’m home in time for Fear Factor.”
SHOW YOUR FAITH. In any sort of moral quandary, explain that you always ask yourself, “What would Britney Spears do?”
SHOW YOUR DIVERSITY. Ensure that you will have the following holidays off with pay: Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Halloween, Arbor Day, cinco de mayo, Canadian Dominion Day, George Takei’s birthday, Boxing Day, and the anniversary of the Moon Landing.
FINALLY, BE NONCHALANT BUT LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN FOR FOLLOW-UP. As you leave, regardless of how the interview went, say, “There’s an hour I’ll never get back.” That shows you are not desperate and sure of your success. Also, it’s a good idea to add, “Well, I’ll let you know.”
While I cannot guarantee that any of these helpful tips will help you secure employment, I assure you that even adapting a few of them into your style will GUARANTEE the company remembers you a for a very long time.