From Rookie To Pro: Acing Job Interviews

The real-world stage through the eyes of a fresh grad is often exciting and simultaneously terrifying. When balancing budgets isn’t creeping up anyone’s sleeve, it’s the unforgiving task of job hunting. True enough, the perfect 9-to-5 may eventually roll around, but won’t be yours until after acing the dreaded interview. It’s daunting, undeniably, but totally doable with a lot of preparation and a little bit of charisma.

For some, the dream isn’t necessarily the job itself, but the agency. Still, familiarizing yourself with the role is always the first key move to a promising career. Know what tasks you will be performing — even the nitty, gritty, nothing-to-brag-about, seemingly menial duties like filing papers. And anyway, if you’re applying to a company like Google, filing papers may be a lot more significant than anyone lets on. All that information has to go somewhere!

It may seem the most trivial aspect of an interview, but make the effort to dress the part. Design or advertising groups may appear casual, but looking professional never does any harm. Wear something you feel confident in — maybe a statement piece such as a bright necklace or tie. Keep in mind not to get too carried away. Interviewers don’t want to be distracted by a penguin-printed suit.

Here’s the kicker: know the company. Head to toe. Left to right. Top to bottom. A job interview might be about your strengths, but there’s no harm in gauging how you’ll fit in in relation to your potential work place. A CEO might also throw you a curveball with statistics or facts that you want to be prepared for. Simply knowing who a company’s founder is may work greatly in your favor. Of course, your knowledge should exist beyond the basics.

Most interview questions are fairly basic: how would you describe yourself in three words? What can you bring to the table? What are your strengths and weaknesses? To you, and even occasionally to the interviewers, these questions can feel a little monotonous. The solution? Be creative but not outlandish. Add a touch of humor to your responses but only when it’s relevant. Knock knock jokes aren’t always going to fly with businesslike professional. When the tough questions come around, be prepared. Make a list of any possible queries an interviewer might have and how you’d go about answering them.

Most importantly, answer honestly. If you encounter a brain fart, ask for half a minute to allow yourself to recover. Never panic, as it leads mostly to rambling and, at times, tears. Be honest about your past experiences and how you might’ve learned from mistakes. Editors are fairly eagle-eyed — they probably know you more than you let on.

As tacky as it seems, be yourself. You may be working with these people for years and you don’t want to have to put up a front. Anyway, being whoever you want to be is reserved for online personas. The real you is what companies are after.

Sure, on the whole, interviews are stressful. But the relief of a job well done is just about the best reward.

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