Essential Tips for a Successful Interview


Almost everyone goes through at least one interview in their lifetime and it can be a stressful event, even for the most well-prepared of people. I myself have been through several of these oh-so-fun experiences and have learned many useful tips in the process.

There are subtle ways of influencing an interviewer into seeing you as a great potential candidate, whether you are or not. Just follow these 6 easy tips and there’s no way you can lose.

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1. Prepping for the interview

Before even heading out the door, it is important to prepare yourself for your interview. While casual clothing, like your tattered jeans and your humorous novelty t-shirt, are comfortable and awesome looking, it is best to dress in business, or at least business-casual attire. Otherwise, the interviewer will become jealous of your comfy and stylish clothing and they may not hire you out of spite. In addition, be sure to have minty fresh breath in case the interviewer is a close-talker, or in case they fall in love with you and want to have an impromptu make-out session (this is a good sign that you’ll be hired).

Job Interview

Dress as stylish as this guy, and you too can work in a green office with a ghost and a snazzy conference room.

2. The handshake

This is your first point of contact with your interviewer. It can make or break the whole thing. When the interviewer offers you his or her hand, this is not a signal to give them a high-five. In addition it would be against your best interest to slip them some cash (at this point anyway; get a better feel for them first). Just give them a nice firm handshake; not limp, like a gross dead fish, flopping into their hand. Conversely, breaking all the bones in the interviewer’s hand with your iron grip may seem like a good idea at first – it shows how strong you are after all – but this is also ill-advised. You don’t want to make the interviewer feel inferior after all.

3. Take a seat

When the interviewer offers you a seat, I advise against taking their chair home with you. It is nice of them to offer it to you and all, but it’s more of a token gesture than anything else. Just wait for the them to offer it to you and then sit down. This conveys that you are declining to take the chair as a gift, but still shows that you like it and find it comfortable. It is considered impolite to do otherwise.

4. The questions

Most interviewers like to begin by asking you to tell them about yourself. This is your chance to shine. While some people like to go on at length about their amazing life experiences and accomplishments, like the time you ate 30 hot dogs without vomiting, or the time you blacked out and woke up naked in a strange apartment with a hobo, a chihuahua and 20 cartons of eggs, it’s best if you stick to the boring events regarding your education, training and work experience. The interviewer will be wanting to read all the exciting stories on your Facebook page later anyway, so they don’t want to be spoiled beforehand.

For the rest of the questions, just tell them exactly what they want to hear. For example:

  • Why do you want to work for us? Because you are the best at what you do and it’s been my life’s dream to work for this company. (I find that flattery can go a long way here; you might want to throw in words like “magnificent”, “amazing”, and “outstanding”)
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? I sincerely hope that I still work for this breathtaking company (again, flattery) without having received a raise or a promotion. (Any mention of them not having to spend more money on you is a bonus)
  • Tell me your greatest strength. My greatest strength is that I get things done no matter what. I will move mountains, part the seas, dig valleys and plant forests if need be to reach my goal. (Usage of hyperbole can be a nice way to show your creativity).
  • Tell me your greatest weakness. My greatest weakness is that I’m too humble. I’m the perfect employee after all, but I am never able to admit it. (The trick here is to take a positive aspect of yourself and make it sound negative. This will catch the interviewer off guard because they’ve most likely never come across this tactic before)

5. Eye contact

It is important to maintain eye contact at all times. This is crucial in an interview. If you keep looking at the floor or the ceiling, the interviewer will either become distracted and curious about what you seem to be studying so intently and start studying it themselves – they’re only human, after all – or they will think you’re hiding something, such as the fact that you’re slightly cross-eyed. It’s better to just get it out in the open right from the start; they might even feel pity for you and give you bonus points for it.

6. Your questions

It is always best to have a question or two to ask the interviewer at the end. To not ask questions shows that you’ve understood everything completely and are now showing off your intelligence to the interviewer. They don’t like that. Just play dumb and ask them to repeat something they already explained in detail, such as the duties of the position. Another option is to ask a strange convoluted question such as “If this company was a train travelling at 100 mph, and your rival company was a bus travelling at 80 mph, which one is more likely to crash and burn?” This will likely confuse the interviewer, but they will also respect you for challenging their intellect in such a manner.

***

And there you have it, dear readers! The next time you have an interview, follow these guidelines and you can’t go wrong. To deviate from these however is sure to lead to certain disaster, so tread carefully my friends.

Oh, and as a last tip, remember to smile… even if your grin makes you look like the Joker who’s about to kill Batman. It’s still better than your usual blank stare that makes you look like the voices are talking to you again.

I wish you the best of luck in all your future interviews. Unless I’m going for the same position as well. In that case, I wish you to fail miserably.

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9 responses to “Essential Tips for a Successful Interview

  • Darren

    Imagine that guy in the photo greets you for your interview at the nuclear power plant. “Hi, I’m Greg, and I’m the safety officer for the plant. First I’m going to show you the core reactor, where the successful candidate will be working…”

  • pouringmyartout

    I flubbed the ‘why do you want to work for us’ question not long ago. I started to say, no, you weren’t my first choice, you are a freekin’ grocery store, and the job market sucks because the economy is in a shambles, and I just need a job till I get something better, because I was laid off and I have bills to pay. I didn’t say it, but I almost did. I didn’t get the job anyway, so maybe I should have tried honesty.
    This was a funny post. You go, girl.

    • Randomdeviations

      Thanks! And I know exactly what you mean. I highly doubt that anyone who’s not a high school student WANTS to work for minimum wage at McDonald’s or whatever. But you do what you gotta do, and that includes sucking up to the interviewer and lying straight to their face if need be. But it would be fun to just tell it to them straight for once :)

  • Mooselicker

    Let me guess, you’re unemployed and have never been called back.

    The only thing you had right in here was the chair thing. Usually the interviews I try out for are on couches and I don’t have to worry about it. I work mainly as a mattress tester so you can understand why this makes sense.

  • Derek Osedach

    Nice list, and actually helpful too! Somehow it never occurred to me to simply ask the interviewer to repeat something they already said, and that that would count as my “question” at the end. I always have some obviously pre-planned, somewhat pushy, diva-esque, out-of-nowhere question prepared. “I would like you to tell me everything you know about 16th Century Metallurgy.” From now on, it’s all about, “Hey, so tell me again about what the name of this company is?”

    • Randomdeviations

      Lol, “16th Century Metallurgy”, huh? Imagine if that turned out to be the interviewer’s secret passion or something. He’d be so pleased and taken aback by your interest in it that he’d hire you on the spot. Maybe it’s worth keeping as a back-up question, just in case. You never know, right? :P

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