The Help Files: Surviving the Dreaded Job Interview

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—”I’m a people person, very personable. I absolutely insist on enjoying life. Not so task-oriented. Not a work horse. If you’re looking for a Clydesdale, I’m probably not your man. Like I don’t live to work, it’s the other way around. I work to live. Incidentally, what’s your policy on Columbus Day?”
—”We work.”
—”Really? The guy discovered the new world. I’m afraid to even ask about Victory Over Japan Day.”

— “You, Me and Dupree” (2006, starring Owen Wilson)

Ah, interviews. Who hasn’t wanted to march right into a human resource director’s office like the Owen Wilson character and simply tell the truth? I need a job in order to live. I’m willing to work, but honestly, I don’t want to push myself. How many holidays do we get?

Well, Owen’s approach might be fine and dandy, but so much “truthiness” probably won’t  endear you to prospective employers. How much should we reveal of ourselves in an interview? How can we, if not avoid, at least circumnavigate some of the trickier questions lobbed at us by the hiring manager? The articles listed below have some helpful suggestions.

5 Interview Hacks That Will Give You An Edge (No Confidence Required)

Former actor and current resume expert and job coach, Anish Majumdar offers five interview tips based on the old adage “Fake it until you make it.”

How I Landed an Interview Using Social Media

Think social media is just for looking at cat videos and mocking other people’s bad grammar on Facebook posts? Think again! Laura Bauman at Career Contessa even shows you how to turn profile stalking into a viable job search technique.

How To Answer The Question “Tell Me About Yourself!

Most job seekers would rather engage in naked beekeeping than be faced with the dreaded “So, tell me about yourself” portion of the interview. But Liz Ryan at Forbes offers a scenario to turn the tables on the interviewer and get you into the driver’s seat.

Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers

Because people tend to operate with a herd mentality (and hiring managers are people, too), the questions you’ll likely be asked on a job interview are going to sound pretty much alike. From Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Zanesville, Ohio, interviewees will be asked the same “describe a difficult situation and how did you overcome it” question. Alison Doyle at About Careers warns you about what you’ll be up against and recommends some good answers when you’re faced with relentless sameness.

3 Things You’ll Be Tempted to Say to Compensate for a Lack of Experience (That You Just, Well, Shouldn’t)

Everyone has had moments in their lives when they either don’t know what they’re doing or they only have the bare minimum of experience for the job at hand. If you doubt the truth of that statement, feel free to check out the national news and you’ll see what I mean. in order to get experience, you have to get your foot in the door. Jenny Foss at The Muse suggests three things that are best left unsaid when you may be in over your head at an interview.

6 Interview Tips You’ve Never Heard Before

J.T. O’Donnell of CAREEREALISM is bold enough to suggest “Six Interview Tips You’ve Never Heard Before.” Check them out to see if you agree with her. I know there’s one my wife will never buy into, however. She’s never going to think tip number one is a good idea, but you might.

Now, if all else fails, I suggest you just follow the lead of Bill Murray and Harold Ramis in the movie “Stripes” (1981) and be eager and cooperative whenever you’re asked a question. “No, but we are willing to learn.”

Have some tips or tools to share with your fellow technical communicators, information developers, and content creators? Let’s network! Drop me a note: HelpFiles@TechWhirl.com. Follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, circle me on Google+, or email me at craig.cardimon@gmail.com. I enjoy connecting with others in the industry.

Craig Cardimon

Craig Cardimon wears many hats and loves all of them -- technical communicator, content curator, and freelance copywriter. In his not-so-copious spare time, he reads, writes, runs on the local trail, and watches way too much "retro" TV.

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