The interview is that critical step to starting a new job. It's the one opportunity you have to connect with the potential employer in person. We often talk about how to successfully complete an interview but today let's focus on how NOT to behave with a little humor. Consider the following story about a man we'll call Bob:
Today’s the day. The one Bob's been waiting for. His entire life has been leading up to this moment; similar to a crossroad, if he goes in one direction life will turn out one way, and the other way will make life completely different. Ever since Bob was told that he had landed an interview for the "ideal" job he has thought of nothing but his first day at the company, strutting into the office dressed to the nines and carrying out work so majestic and thorough that his fellow employees will look at him in awe and hail Bob as King.
Bob's friends, and especially his family, have urged him to prepare for the interview. Bob thinks, "What a silly idea! The company has seen my impressive resume and experience, what more can they want? This interview will be just like a friendly chat and it is virtually impossible to slip up in this interview; the job is basically mine."
The Meet and Greet
Bob arrives at the office 15 minutes before his interview is set to start. The receptionist compliments him on his jacket. Bob replies with a wink. Smooth. After Bob has asked her for a chilled bottled water, his interviewer enters. Doused in cologne, Bob rises (hopefully there are no scented candles nearby, otherwise the place could burn to the ground) and extend his hand. A firm handshake is respectable. A handshake that breaks numerous fingers, not so cool. Bob opts for the latter. The interview is off to a fantastic start.
The Competency Test
After making small talk about the weather, the interviewer lets Bob know that they’re about to ask “a series of competency based questions.” Bob kindly obliges, even though deep down he wonders what they could possibly find out from asking such pointless nonsense. Bob was made for this job; it’s the purpose of his very existence. “They’re just going through a routine”, Bob tells himself. “The spare desk will be my desk this time next week.”
Interviewer: “What are your strengths?”
Bob: “I regularly bench 200lb.”
Interviewer: “Okay… anything else?”
Bob: “I was undefeated in my school’s annual arm wrestling competition. Seven years undefeated, I should add.”
Interviewer: “Umm… okay. What about weaknesses? What don't you do well?”
Bob: “Nothing I can think of. In fact, probably nothing at all.”
Interviewer: “Umm… okay. Tell me about a time you overcame a difficult problem?”
Bob: “The drive-thru at Starbucks was packed the other day and it was clear that if I waited in it, I would be late to kick-boxing. I decided to park and walk in to get my latte and was able to make it to class on time.”
The Closing Remarks
Those answers clearly were well received and the interviewer is bringing the meeting to a close. Short and sweet, Bob thinks. “They must really like me, all they needed was less than 10 minutes with me to know I’m made for this job, to know that I, and I alone, can take the company to unprecedented heights”, Bob muses to himself. The interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions? Maybe about what we’re working on currently?” This is the moment. Bob is known for his amusement and wit. His friends love it, so why wouldn’t his interviewer? “Just one question”, Bob remarks. “When do I start?!” The interviewer gives a wry smile as Bob departs the office and, as he strolls away, little does he know they are vigorously shaking their head as they throw his application in the trash without a second’s hesitation.
Bob's phone buzzes later in the week and the company reveals that he has been unsuccessful in his application. “But why?” he asks.
“We don’t think you have the right attitude to fit in with our team. We wish you the best of luck in your career.” Click. Bob is stunned and thinks, "How dare they reject me! I definitely played it perfectly; it must be their entire fault."
Next time you're preparing for an interview, remember Bob and learn from his somewhat humorous mistakes! Stay tuned for part two of this series revealing some more epic interview fails, and teaching us all what not to do.
In the meantime, to find some real, useful career tips from MAU on how to approach an interview, click here.