I used to be terrified when I had to go to job interviews. In the early days of my career, I couldn’t land on many jobs because I screwed up my interviews.
Right off college, my goal was to work at Millersville University as a webmaster. The University was closed to my mom’s house and I had always liked the environment. When the position was posted, I applied immediately and I was so anxious about the interview that I couldn’t sleep the night before. I chugged down two bottles of Heineken to help me too sleep, but I couldn’t.
The next day, I was so nervous that I basically fucked up the entire interview. I couldn’t answer questions like how would you resolve a conflict with a coworker, how would I supervise student workers and what do I see myself in five years. My work and my portfolio were not even mentioned.
I hated myself and I blamed on my poor English for the screw up. Then again, I knew that I was not going to get away with this if I want to land a job. So I made it my priority to practice this skill and there’s nothing better to do it then to go on interviews. Once I pulled together my portfolio, I applied to many jobs that were related to web design as possible so that I could get an interview. Even when I had a job, I would go on to interviews just to practice.
Today I can confidently say that I have 80% chance of landing on a job I applied for with only three rules.
My first rule is to dress to impress. You could never be over-dressed in an interview. I always dressed to an interview like I go to a wedding. Truth be told, I only have one suite; therefore, I wear it to any formal occasion.
My second rule is to take control of the interview. I think of an interview as an opportunity to share my passion for what I do. Most family members and friends do not care what I do; therefore, I rarely get an opportunity to talk about about the things that get me out of bed every morning. I might never see the interviewers again, but I get to tell them that I eat, drink and live this shit everyday. In addition to showing my client works, I try to bring in my personal projects like Sketches of Miles, Simplexpression and even my involvement with Thirsty.
My third rule is to be honest. Not everyone could do everything. When I applied for my current position, I told my supervisor that I didn’t have any Linux or server admin experience, but that I am willing to learn. She trusted me. To not let her down, I picked up Linux books to learn before I even started the job. Now I am so glad that I did and that she gave me the opportunity.
I don’t get to sit on the other side of the table too often, but there was an interview that I could never forget. I still remember the day we interviewed Kevin for the web design position at Vassar college. He made such an impact on me that I couldn’t care for anyone else after him. He talked about design and how it reflected his own life. He used to be depressed and design gave him a way out. His exact words were: “Design makes life more beautiful.” I was sold.