General chatter - My first real job interview -- AAH!

06-17-2010, 12:57 PM
Hey guys -- I'm not religious by any means, but you might remember my earlier post about difficulty living with my mother for the remainder of the summer.

Well, I asked whatever lives up there to help me if they were listening, and maybe I should re-consider... ;)

I got a call from a real, live newspaper, asking to interview me to be a real, live reporter - I haven't even finished my degree yet! But he saw my writing samples and must have thought they were up to par, so, wow! It would continue through the academic year and I'd get credit for it, AND make money!

But the best part is, it's in the school area - meaning if I get this job, and it works, I could possibly never have to live at home again. They'll let me move in immediately!

But -- AAH! The interview is tomorrow evening at 6pm! I really need some advice from you older professional chicks!

What should I wear? How should I sit? What if he asks me a question I don't know? Should I laugh and smile a lot? Should I be serious and chill? I've already taken out my piercings. AAAH! AAAAAH! AAAHHh!!!!!

06-17-2010, 01:05 PM
Hey! Congrats on the job interview!

You need to plan ahead, do some research about the industry. Present yourself as a professional, including what you wear, how you speak, etc. Sell yourself, if you get asked questions about weaknesses (everyone asks these) you need to be able to identify your weakness and present how you've turned it into a strength. Don't laugh so much that you look wacky but don't make yourself so serious that you lack personality!

You'll be fine. I remember my first real job interview, I was nervous the entire time, but I got the job and I'm still here 1.5 years later. =) Good luck!

06-17-2010, 01:05 PM
As for what to wear I suggest dress slacks and if you have a suit jacket type thing wear that, if not a buttoned up dress shirt would work. Just sit normally but sit upright, dont slouch lol If he asks something you dont know its ok to pause and come up with an answer, i suggest you google practice interview questions and write down answers. it helped me a lot to know what the general questions were and to have some idea of what i was going to say. smile and be friendly but dont over do it cause you dont wanna come off as fake. Just relax and think of this as a conversation with someone, cause really thats all it is. BEST OF LUCK!!!!

06-17-2010, 01:06 PM
Congrats! What is considered proper attire for the position you are interviewing for? Wear something like that! It's always best to dress for the job you are going for! You can try and plan as much as you want for all the questions that may or may not be asked, and you can try to plan on your mannerisms and all...but the truth is, when you are in there, everything will just fall into place naturally. Be positive, show your enthusiasm for the job, and smile! Try to answer to-the-point...don't ramble. If you need a moment to think about a question, be honest and tell the interviewer, "That is a very good question! Let me gather my thoughts for a second!" It's better to take a few seconds, take a deep breath, and arrange the wording in your head than it is to just jump into it and realize you have NO idea what you're saying! Be YOU! :)

06-17-2010, 01:09 PM
WHOA! Calm down! Do some research on the newspaper and get some background on them. Dress professionally, but knowing who your audience is, is important. If you know who is interviewing you, research them. I got my job by knowing the school I was applying to (as well as their philosophy of teaching) and dressing professionally, but not going overboard at the same time (try either a nice skirt or nice slacks, with a button up or polo shirt). Serious and chill with a lot of smiling would be the way I would go. You don't want to laugh too much, unless you really find what they're saying funny. A lot of people laugh when they're nervous, but you will take a few deep breaths and be nice, calm and confident. Do you know what he read so you can go over it just in case he asks questions about it? He likes what you've written, so that is one HUGE plus you have going right now. Finally... Calm down, you're going to be fine and kill this interview!

06-17-2010, 01:10 PM
Suit Up! Even if the job itself does not require that kind of clothing, dress like you own the company until you get the job! Have copies of your resume, letters of rec, writing samples, transcripts with you. They might have the copies but if they ask for copies from you it will show preparedness on your part by showing up with them. Make ever negative a positive, if they ask for a weakness, make is something that sounds like a weakness but it is actually a positive trait (at least for them).

06-17-2010, 01:30 PM
At the end of the interview, when the interviewer asks if you have questions for them, have some! 1-2 good questions that shows you have done a little research.

At the very end of the interview, repeat WHY you are an awesome fit for that role and what specific skills you could bring to the position. Show that you WANT the job.

I'm always amazed how passive some folks are in an interview. sounds almost too good to be true. Reminds me of a college experience where someone wanted to interview me in the evening (because, who interviews after business hours - except maybe restaurants??) and it turned out to be a pyramid scheme. I was super pissed!

06-17-2010, 01:42 PM
First of all congrats on the interview. Grey or black dress pants and a button down shirt always works. Adding a jacket is a nice touch but not necessary.

Research the newspaper. They will always ask if you have any questions, so prepare questions about the position (pay, hours, responsibilities, who do you report to) and another set of general questions about the newspaper itself. Great help if the conversation dries up.

Know about the interviewer. Flattery works. Read his or her recent articles if possible. It never hurts to slip in, I read such and such you wrote and... Also, read the interviewer's bio so you can play up similarities between the two of you. Getting the interviewer talking about something you learn from their bio can also take the conversation load off of you.

Know about yourself. They will ask you questions like - Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What do you hope to gain from this position? What can you offer us? What is your biggest weakness? Have answers prepared.

Be on time and prepared. Bring your resume and writing samples for the interview to keep and a second copy for your own reference just in case s/he has questions right away. Bring a small notebook and pen - take notes.

motivated chickie
06-17-2010, 01:46 PM
All good responses so far.

I would add that you be concrete with your skills. Use real life examples that highlight your skills and talents.

Bring information about your references with you.

Follow up with a thank you email & a letter.

And if you don't the job, I would keep applying. I think it's a fantastic idea for you to have a job to get away from your unhealthy family environment.

Good luck and congratulations on getting the interview.

06-17-2010, 01:53 PM
Good Luck!!!

06-17-2010, 01:56 PM
Yeah I was also wondering about the 6 p.m. meeting??

06-17-2010, 02:04 PM
Congratulations - the first step in the door! Agree with many posters already and want to 'second' Motivated Chickie Caroline to follow up with a brief thank you note asap. If they're interviewing others after you, it brings your name/interview back into their minds.

I worked as a sports writer for several years before moving on and I still remember some of the more "interesting" interviews we conducted - men who showed up with their shirts open to the navel (I kid you not) with medallions hanging in the chest hair, a woman who wanted to know what teams she'd be traveling WITH (not covering), etc. ACK :)

Just be your best self, poised, know WHY you want to work there - not just because it's a paying job and gets you out of the house. Be interested in those you meet and the work they do - I assume with the later interview time you'd be able to meet those who work both days as well as the evening crew... best of both worlds!

06-17-2010, 02:05 PM
Thanks for all the wonderful advice and encouragement! And yes -- while 6pm is typically late for an interview, this is with the editor-in-chief of a newspaper that works round the clock. Odd hours and days are pretty typical for a reporter - that's the first thing I was advised to "get used to" when I began my study... hoo boy! :D

06-17-2010, 02:25 PM
I agree to suit up if you can- the more professional looking the better- you are there to impress and sell yourself! Nice slacks, nice shirt, and blazer or jacket with closed toed shoes is perfect.

Light makeup- you want a day face- you want to look clean so for me I just do my bare minerals makeup, a neutral eye shadow, and some mascara. I don't do lip gloss but chapstick if I feel I need it.

For hair- don't do a bun it's too harsh but you want your hair pulled away from your face. I usually do half up half down. I clip it back also so it's loose overall but still off my face.

Interview questions- google "interview questions" and pick the ones you think might be asked. Practice OUT LOUD until you sound natural.

I used to interview people and one question that I often would ask is "tell me about yourself." I wanted to hear things like "I'm a hard working person, this is where I went to school, this is where I have worked, this is my goal, etc." DON'T TELL your life story- just a few things about yourself and what you have done so far.

Thinking about your answer before you say it. Take it in, take a breath, respond. This also avoids a lot of "uh uh uh."

And don't ramble! The worst was when I knew someone was unprepared and they'd go on and on about stuff and I was like dude just give me a one to two sentence answer.

SMILE! Thank them afterwards for their time and tell them you hope you hear from them soon. You can get a person's vibe from the interview also- if they are more relaxed a chuckle here and there is fine.

If you get nervous remember to just take a deep breath and slow down. Usually people are slightly nervous at first, that's okay, after a few minutes things are usually fine :)

Seriously there is a ton of information online about interview etiquette and so on- take advantage of it!

And whatever you do never say anything bad about ANYONE. I can't tell you how many people would talk so much crap about their current bosses or last bosses and I'd be sitting there like really? Yeah you are so not getting hired here! lol.

06-17-2010, 02:39 PM
I would also add that practicing interview questions with a friend is a lot better than doing it yourself. Role-playing kind of puts you on the spot like you would be in an interview.

And absolutely send the thank you note when you get back or the next morning at the latest.

In regards to the 6pm meeting - you have to look at the industry, perhaps that's when he's got time after meeting his deadlines for the next day's print? It's all relative.

06-17-2010, 02:45 PM
I work in HR and the best thing you can do is wear a suit - you want to always be dressed to impress. If you don't have a suit, wear dark slacks and a collared button down shirt, not low cut obviously.

Have some questions prepared - the best question to ever ask - why is the position currently available. There are a ton of websites (google) that will give you sample interview questions and also some tidbits on how you should answer questions. For the strengths and weaknesses, don't do the cliche "I'm a perfectionist," etc. But, find a weakness that is also taught you to grow and expand your experience.

Also, with the market being as bad as it is, there are tons of qualified people out there, so they may also focus on "Behavior based" interviewing questions. Such as, "what would you do if someone asked you do do something unethical," "how do you cope with conflict on the job," etc.

I would definitely smile and show your personality, a laugh here and there isn't a bad thing. They don't want a reporter that shows no personality, so be yourself. Hope that helps. GOOD LUCK!!!

06-17-2010, 02:52 PM
Yeah I agree with the perfectionist thing. I like honest answers! And my answer usually was "I tended to take on a lot stress myself out. But now I have learned over time that everything will get done, and I am much better at prioritizing now because of this..." :)

I mean for me that really was it- it might be something else for you.

06-21-2010, 07:27 PM
Thank you all for the wonderful advice! Unfortunately I had to turn down the job as it was because the college demanded an ungodly amount of money to move in, but all of your advice nailed me an internship to look forward to in the fall!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :D

06-22-2010, 12:40 AM
YW! Congratulations! :)