I did a heck of a lot of interviews over the last few weeks.
I started off as a “staller”. Not so sure about my skills and what it was that they wanted from me. After about 4 interviews, I became a “keaner” spewing algorithms with amazing alacrity. After about 11 interviews I become the “I don’t give a shit anymore” person. Though thankfully I caught myself doing this during an interview and mentally made a note to correct the attitude. Thanks to that correction I landed 3 consecutive offers.
I find you have to really need to show genuine interest when doing your interview. The key tip I found in sealing the deal was simply to ask a question. “What would the ideal candidate be like in your opinion?”. This simple question followed by examples where you have demonstrated the skills they are looking for, made all the difference. A recruiter really illustrated this tip to me, but I had heard it previously from this book “Sales Dogs : You Do Not Have to Be an Attack Dog to Be Successful in Sales (Rich Dad’s Advisors series). Very interesting read for those of you looking to improve your sales skills. After all, an interview is really just selling yourself to the interviewer.
Funny Interview Stories
I’m from the University of Waterloo engineering program, so I’ve done a whole whack of interviews for co-op positions (we have six co-op terms, though we typically stick with an employer for two terms). Every school term, there’s a month or so blitz of interviews which carries on ’til you secure a position. During this time you see students dressed up in their slick suits because they have an interview that day, attending lectures with the rest of the t-shirted slackers.
The last co-op term is somewhat optional (you only need to successfully complete five out of six terms), so I elected to not wear a suit and settle for a button-down shirt with some slacks. I ended up co-oping with a really cool guy from a media company downtown.
On the lighter side of things, The Daily WTF has a series of articles called Tales from the Interview. I enjoy reading up on other people’s terrible interviews. My favourite is the one where the applicant’s parents showed up and did the interview for him. I also included the “C-Pound” joke, because it always cracks me up.