Tips for Interviewing: An Insider’s Guide

Posted on May 20, 2010. Filed under: About Me | Tags: |

Some things they don’t tell you when you interview are…

1. Don’t be too creative. You might stump the interviewers.

Yes, that’s right. I was the one interviewee who managed to both come up with a correct answer to the math problem I was presented and have an answer that rendered the typical follow-up questions unnecessary. Don’t ask me how I did it. I was just playing it by ear and using my best judgment on answers. It was, however, quite worthwhile to watch the two men’s expressions as they tried to figure out what to do with my answer. (The woman in the group, on the other hand, just smiled and told me I had a right answer but one they hadn’t anticipated.)

2. Tell the truth about your college choice… the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You might be surprised how they react!

So they asked me why I’d chosen the university I did. For the record, I’m a University of Tennessee girl, and I’ll freely admit to most anyone that I did not want to go there. However, I wanted to be tactful about my school experiences when the gentleman asked me the question.

So I just spat it out. “I wanted to go to Furman University, but they rejected me. UT offered me enough money to go for free, so I decided to go where it was cheap.”

Yep, that’s pretty much exactly what I said. And the interviewers? They all three seemed to agree. “I kind of wish I’d done the same thing.” So perhaps my cheapskate college attitude wasn’t that bad after all.

3. Make faces, but don’t overdo it.

In the middle of the above question about why I chose UT, I must have gotten a rather entertaining expression on my face because the woman commented that there had to be a good story behind that face. She was right, and I hammed it up, telling her all about the two choices of schools I normally would have had from my particular high school. (One of those schools is a technical community college I fondly refer to as “Smell-a-Hippy School.”)

The second time they called me out for making faces was when they decided to give me the follow-up questions to the math problem after all. They just made me assume I’d answered the way they wanted me to and not in the way that rendered the questions unnecessary. (Personally I thought I should get points for thinking ahead, but oh well.) I made a face about having to do math on the fly, and the woman commented, “Oh! We got the snarl!”

Don’t worry. They laughed about it afterward! I just had to explain that I wasn’t a big fan of math. Not sure that won me any points, but they at least had good humor about it.

4. Make ’em laugh.

Hey, it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book! It’s a proven fact. People think you’re more personable if you can get them to laugh. And I made good on that by peppering my conversation with my trademark sarcastic wit.

I would comment here on something that happened during my tour, but I’m not entirely sure whether that would be giving away trade secrets or not. I rather doubt it, but why risk it? Needless to say, there was an incident where a comment I made prompted some very entertaining and hilarious conversation between myself, the two people taking me on the tour, and the other guy who was also interviewing.

So those are my big tips for those of you out there interviewing or attempting to interview. Granted, I didn’t exactly get a job offer at the end of my interview, but hey, I don’t feel as badly about it now as I did before. I simply have to wait for word from the people up top and see if I did well or not.

I have no clue when they’re going to contact me, but I’m not worried about it. Life is good. And that’s my update!



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