So youre having a seat in the waiting area, trying not to make eye contact with the receptionist who just had you fill out the No, Ive never applied here, job forms. At the same time, youre smiling like a baby with gas at every person who walks past you, and repeating your mantra, "I Will Get a Job Today." Congratulations, youre either a recent graduate or a soon-to-be graduate and youve just popped out the birth canal of higher education without a job lined up. The country is in an economic ice age, and what makes the frigid job market worse is that if you decide to say fuck-it and drink away your sorrows with friends, you become less of a Party Animal, and more of an Unemployed, Closet Alcoholic.
Welcome to the real world.
You filled in all those Scantron bubbles, for nothing. You marked in those dots so accurately that by senior year of college, you squeezed yourself into the little crawl space at the far right of the educational bell curve. As a consolation, you can tell people that you mastered your coloring deficiency, but thats like listing Im grandmas little boobala, as an action verb on your resume. Dont worry, you got this e-mail, and since it has nothing to do with enlarging your gonads or looking at my new webcam that I often leave on accidentally when I masturbate, it means you're intelligent and interested in learning from others experience.
I remember my mom telling me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. Now, she explains to me in great detail how everyday I dont have a job I get closer to winding up working in the sector of the food service industry that deals with preparing hot lunch. In the last two months Ive sent my resume to 120 companies, while shes still forwarding Monica Lewinsky jokes to all of our relatives. Oh how the tables would have turned if Miramax had picked up my screenplay, Shes Flying, Hes Slippery, the story of a coke fiend flight attendant who accidentally purchases a lovable dolphin named Peeblo.
I graduated close to a year ago and since then Ive held positions at the heights of Times Square, the back-lots of Los Angeles and most recently in the front row of the semi-final round of the Long Island Spelling Bee.
At worst, job-hunting might make you a little tense, but after going to 33 interviews, and signing into 33 buildings so security could give me 33 visitor passes, Ive picked up some answers to make you a better interviewee.
When human resources people invite you in for an informational, its usually because theyre bored and want company. They want you to come in and justify their employment. They want you to go to go to extremes to impress them. Look nervous but gracious that they took the time to see you. Be accommodating and know your personal information. This is not fraternity rush, you wont get a bid for employment just by being chill. Dont ask pre-planned questions.
Anything youve been told about an interview being a mutual discussion to see if you and the company are a good fit, is what industry people call, bullshit, followed by a cough and a quick laugh. Many HR people want to ask you pre-scripted questions and write down your answers in the prettiest handwriting they can. They dont want to talk about their company or explain how things work there. In all likelihood they dont know how things works there anyway. HR people know exactly what the About Us section of the company website says. The interview is your time to shine, your moment on stage, your personal pitch about you. Serve popcorn and wear a business casual tuxedo.
When they ask you how you heard about their company, say something witty like, Are you kidding!?!??! (Surprised Look) You guys are (Insert Company Name Here). (Knee Slap) You have a great reputation.(Emmy Winning Smile)
What did you learn from your internships? (Deep Thought) Why
the importance of team work, of course. (Smile and Thumbs Up)
What would your former bosses say about you? Well, hed say he was really sorry he didnt have a position for me right now because I had done such a good job working with him during the internship. Hed also say he was sorry the internship position didnt play enough to my creative talents and that he only hopes that when I find employment, its with a top firm because, to quote my former boss, Only a top firm will be able to harness all of my potential. (Teary eyes express your once close bond)
Interviews are an active game not unlike Bocce. You get points by smiling and answering with wit. If you answer by blankly starring at them and drooling, youll get walked back to the front receptionist and handed a bill for the carpet. Intelligence and personality are secret weapons because if you use them, you may be able to confuse the HR people into hiring you. All they pay attention to is voice modulation.
Sometimes interviewers meet with you because they have to talk to a certain quota of people before they can hire the Executive Vice Presidents niece. It doesnt matter what you say or do in these interviews, the response will be lack luster. Have some fun with these interviews. On one extreme, you can you can answer a question like, Did you like Cornell? with something equally as uninformative about you like, I like the color red, and I like bears, so it was a great match. On the other extreme, feel free to jump on the persons desk and yell loudly, Im not made of peanut butter! Im a real boy! Yummy, yummy yummy! Because the interviewer isnt listening anyway, both approaches will only earn you a follow-up question like, What would say is your favorite color?
I ended up walking out of one interview with a non-listener after I threw my pencil across the room, into her eye, and the woman responded with a kind-hearted, Thats really interesting, look at this picture I drew of Hello Kitty. Following that, she played with the dinosaur toys her desk until he decided it was naptime.
Some interviewers want you to get hired though. They want you to grace the halls of their building and rise through the corporate ranks to some day remember who brought you into the organization. Because of this, some interviewers engage in small talk. Your answers to small talk are the most important. If the interviewer likes you, after you leave, he/she will go back to the leader of the HR people, The Human Resource, and plead for your employment. Be personable.
Do you live in the city now that youre out of college? is a question Ive gotten 10 times, and from what I can gather,
yeah, because I figured the best place to live without a disposable income was New York City, isnt the best answer.
In one interview the conversation strayed from past job experience and meandered into what our favorite episode of Friends was, the average race of the house keepers we had were and our general thoughts on Kants notion of genius as to whether seeing art and seeing art as the artists art, are one in the same, or if universal validity and societal coloring can be read with impure aesthetic to see another art, within the art. Through five minutes of small talk, the interviewer and I had developed a bond that couldnt be broken. It was however broken when I noticed his lazy eye.
We started talking about my experience with direct business-to-business marketing and BAM! His eye would go back and to the left. I shrieked, caught my thoughts and continue. After that, the second person I spoke to ended up having two lazy eyes. This meant that when one eye went left the other went up and/or to the right. I questioned whether the entire firm had been bred by Boston Terriers. Its not easy talking to someone while starring at the bridge of their nose, and needless to say, I didnt get the job at Googlieyes Ltd. I did acquire a new found respect for the people at Biore though.
The last think I can say is, dont get disheartened. This is a sin Im guilty of, even more so than bearing false witness against thine neighbor. By interview 24 I was leveling with the interviewer like he was my best friend the last night of sleep away camp. Dude, I didnt hear about your company from anyone
you dropped a business card on the subway and I really want a job
Im not really sure what you do here, but I swear, Id be really good at it, I said and took a sip of Makers Mark from my pocket flask, I love you man.
Keep your head up and your spirits high. One of my friends sat down in a mans office, waited half an hour for his interviewer to arrive and when he finally did, the guy apologized for his tardiness by explaining that he didnt think my friend would get the job anyway and that he wanted to get home to see his kid soon. My friend didnt give up and today he
well, hes still unemployed, but damn if he doesnt smile.
If you do get an interviewer that listens and might consider hiring you for some of the new opportunities they have in the pipeline, do ask questions. Not dumb questions like do you like working here, and never questions about the pictures they have of their kids, because, as I found out, just because someone has a picture of theyre child, doesnt mean theyre child is still alive.
Ask questions about some of the lingo the company invented on their website. Citing company-specific bogus terms like, Brand Hybridization, Media Extension, and 360 Degree Global Stewardship, can win you big points in an interview. Remember, theyre only listening to voice modulation and if they come across big words that their bosses use, they might mistake you for their boss.
If this happens, fire them. Tell them its just not working out, but thank them for their hard work. Theyll get the joke
they know they havent worked hard.
While speaking with one Senior Vice President, I looked around his office to notice that neither his dry-erase board, nor his dry-erase calendar had anything written on them. His completed, file bin was full and his to-be-completed file bin was barren and empty except for a small female spider who wrote words in her web like Humble.
Its not a great time to be looking for an entry-level position, but if you employ some of these tips
maybe youll bide some time while youre parents call in a favor. Ive been on so many interviews that when I go out and see a girl who looks familiar, I think to myself, did I interview with her somewhere? I answer interview questions in my sleep. Ive become a professional interviewee. I seriously think about law school (no I don't).
The unemployed arent happy, and from information Ive gathered through extensive IM conversations, neither are the employed. I want a job nonetheless and Id better get one soon because the stress is going to my hairline. That being said, Im officially putting a one-month deadline on getting a job. If nothing happens by then, Im sending out 120 Fuck-You notes and moving to Barbados to start a bar with Michael Caine.
See you on the beach,