Job interview tips


Natalie Larimer, Staff Writer

Most people get their first job while they are in high school. After all, jobs are a necessity for money. To get a job you need a successful interview, but how? Well, that’s what I’m here for. I work at a book store, which is my first real job (I mean, I had Pioneer before this but that’s not a real job). When I got called in for an interview I was really excited but extremely nervous at the same time. One of my biggest fears (human interaction) was becoming a reality with my money on the line. I had to impress my future boss and I had no idea how to. To help you all out, I put together this list of things to keep in mind.

1) Mimicking
Don’t feel creepy about this, but go “stalk” the people at the job you want to work at and mimick them in an interview. What I did was linger a bit in my book store to see what the boss was wearing and what sense of humor they had while I picked up an application. This sounds super creepy but it works, I promise. People tend to like people who are similar to them so don’t be afraid to stalk them a bit. In the words of the great journalism teacher, “Friendly stalking. It’s good stalking. Sometimes stalking is good.”

2) Strengths and weaknesses
The question I dreaded most about my interview was, “What are your strengths and weaknesses and why?” First thing’s first. Never be afraid to talk yourself up. That’s why they ask the question. They want to know that you acknowledge what you do right. As for weaknesses, keep the list kind of short. Say things like, “I’m currently working on getting myself to be more self-disciplined. That’s one of the reasons I applied for this job, to help me develop this skill.” Never say things like, “I’m really unorganized.” Always imply that you are making an attempt to get better about it.

3) Don’t appear to be forced into a job
“I don’t want to hear, ‘I really don’t want a job but my parents are making me get one.'” Hy-Vee manager Jenny Paullin said. “That’s a huge red flag that they aren’t going to try their hardest because they are being made to come here.” Act as if you are an [insert job title here] enthusiast. Make it seem as if you have waited your entire life to work at that Hy-Vee. Okay, maybe not that far, but at least act like you don’t hate being there.

4) Know when to shut up
Talking too much gives them the impression that you are nervous and are desperate for a job. Be cool. Try and give them the most direct and to-the-point answer you can while still giving a good answer. For example, if they ask, “Do you work well in a team setting?” They want to hear, “Yes, I believe I do. For instance, I was once in a group project and we were punctual about getting our stuff done and got a very good grade on it.” They don’t want to hear, “Once we had this project, [insert description of project here], and I was with my bestie and we were making some great progress when her cat came into the room and interrupted us and…” No. Just shut up.

5) Chill
“Relax,” Paullin said. “I know its a little nerve-wracking and I know it’s hard to smile but smile and just tell the truth on everything.” If you are nervous and shaky you are most likely to screw up and say something stupid. Once I was interviewing for a job at GameStop and I accidentally told the manager that I don’t play video games. Which is not only untrue, it makes me look like the worst possible employee of GameStop in the entire world. So calm yourself and act like a normal human being. Good luck!