How to be successful in job interviews

Looking for a new job is a job in itself!

In London, with the job market being overly competitive and moving at the speed of light, you can’t expect to land a new role without a hitch. From the initial online search, browsing similar or preferred titles and locations that are easily commutable, to filling out forms, answering questions, drafting cover letters and so on, the whole process requires a lot of time, effort, patience – and the outcome is still very likely to be negative. When recruiters get in the way, things turn even more interesting. And odd. I’ve already covered this last bit in another post called The recruiter’s love story – do give it a read if you fancy.

Since I’ve been in the market for a long while and experienced all kinds of job interviews, hiring managers, focused questions, live tests, etc., I thought I’d put together a list of tips, potentially helpful to anyone who is job hunting in this very moment.

That said, assuming that you’ve followed the application process correctly, that you are a great match for the job and you’re invited in by the company for a first-step meeting, here’s a bullet list of first-person experienced advice on how to be successful in job interviews.

1. Look decent

Like…seriously. 

Don’t show up looking like a vagrant or a tramp – have some decency. 

By researching the company online, you can pretty much understand the type of environment you’re dealing with. If it’s formal (like a job in the City of London), there’s no other remedy than suiting up and choking to death with a refined tie. If it’s informal, a pair of jeans and boots along with a suitable jumper, cardigan or a casual shirt will do the job. In other more informal cases (a creative environment for instance), you might pass with a pair of trainers and a hipster outfit.

This doesn’t have to be a fixed rule but I remember this guy coming in for an interview at the company I was working for, where the work environment was super chilled and easy-going, all suited up and carrying a briefcase. Whether he thought he was interviewing for a role in a bank or a law firm, he looked old, probably older than he was, and boring. Really…boooooring!

Now, about your face.

If you’re a guy, shave! If your beard looks like a bunch of hairs ripped out of your butt and stuck onto your cheeks, just shave it all. If you have a nice and thick beard instead, you can either shave it short or keep it long if you manage to give it a neat shape.

Same goes for your hair. 

First of all, wash it. Please, do wash it! Oily scalps and messy hair are immediately noticed. It’s also a matter of personal hygiene that nobody will openly question but that could be a downside for the interviewers. You’ll realise it when they start peeking at your head thinking that you won’t notice. 

Jerks!

2. Do your homework

Gather information on the company, on the whole business: what they do, how long they’ve been in the market for, their online resonance. Do some research and surf their website inside out. Once you have all the details it’ll come easier to formulate questions and respond to theirs. Also, come up with reasons why your experience aligns with what they’re looking for and why you’d be a potential fit for the job. Companies appreciate that a lot – and it’s a clear sign that you are sincerely enthusiastic about the business and the job itself. In fact, you might want to show interest in the role as well as spark their interest in you.

Take it easy though. Don’t go there boasting but give the interviewers a chance to understand that you have your own ideas and projects in mind beforehand so that you can somehow drive the conversation and prove them you’re more than worth the job.

Then maybe you’re not but, I mean, they don’t need to know, right?

3. Be honest

This should probably top the previous two points. 

Don’t talk crap! Crafting lies, or inflating things, is a sign of weakness and dishonesty. Even if you’re to give yourself a bit of credit for your past achievements, you don’t need to show off. On the other hand, the majority of people can spot the difference between a candidate with relevant experience and a blagger. Other times instead, you’ll be dealing with some rude and ignorant piece of shit! In that case, well, how about fuck them…?!

Anyway, be proactive, smile, be honest and humble: you’re interviewing for a job you like. 

Hopefully.

. . .

If you follow the 3 points listed above by the word, you stay bold and up for the new challenge, there’s no way you’re going to be unsuccessful in any job interview.

Or you might as well fail miserably. 

Because the truth is, despite what the amount of recruiters and hiring managers out there say about best practises for job interviews, there’s probably no correct path to follow to be successful. 

Sometimes it’s a matter of luck. Sometimes you’ve approached an opportunity that seemed to be right in the wrong moment of your career – you still don’t know what you’re looking for next and probably the company doesn’t either. Some other times, it’s a matter of big numbers: out of the many roles you’ve applied for, somebody will be happy to take you on board. 

Looking for a job is a job in itself. Our whole life is a job in itself, and you might want to be successful in life rather than in job interviews. You might want to be eager to leap out of bed when your alarm goes off in the morning and not smash it to pieces, rush to do stuff, live your day at your best and always feel satisfied. It’ll all be just about whether you’re happy.

Because happiness is worth way more than money and finding whatever “perfect” job. Your whole life is worth more than that. And you’ll probably have hundreds of job interviews but only one life to do something you really love doing.

But then I mean, whether you get a job or not, it’s your life…so honestly, who fucking cares?!

Jim
The Britalian Post

The witch hunt

Halloween is one of my favourite celebrations ever.

I’ve always wanted to wear a cool costume as a child and go trick or treating from house to house. And then as a teenager, attend one of those house parties you usually see in movies.

But, since I was born in Italy, our only way of celebrating Halloween is to mourn the deads. Which is, well, definitely not as fun.

Other than the decorations, the costumes and the candies, what I love about Halloween are the spooky stories coming from the American folklore: ghosts, demons, zombies. However, should it be it for their shapeshifting skills or the ability to perform spells, witches are the most fascinating.

Their presence in the town of Salem (Massachusetts) and stories of their rituals are known as a big part of the American tradition as well as its history, and the witch hunt practice, although extremely severe, plays a fundamental role in the American folklore – bringing entire masses of people together in a religious fight against these demonic creatures.

Anyone who was identified as a witch was immediately sentenced to death.

Here in London, the stories match that folklore in a different way.

You are often told about legends of entities practising recruitment – the scariest form of witchcraft ever existed.

Like witches, recruiters reveal themselves during evenings at about 5:30-6pm and reach out to you with their unexpected spooky calls. Be prepared, for they all act equally: they want to learn more about your life and your habits. They cherish this information you fool give them and wickedly tempt you with sweet job offers that you both know you will never get.

It’s their game, their play. Their trap.

They act carefully, tricking you with their sudden disappearance – due to the past historical persecutions.

But, as soon as more victims learn about their presence in town, the chasing begins! Masses of people desperately and angrily run to their offices for ditched scheduled meetings, due feedback never received, and unreturned interviews.

This doesn’t happen during Halloween only; this happens every day!!! Every single day, there’s a recruiter bewitching people and fooling them with their rituals. Beware if you happen to see a recruiter, please sentence them to death immediately!

And now, may this witch hunt begin!…but in the meantime:

Happy Halloween

Jim
The Britalian Post

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