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Job interviews
How to appear at least somewhat employable

Damien Stuart Wood
Art Heroes Contributor + Self-Proclaimed
Wannabe Art Guy at the end of his rope
You put on pants for this. Nice pants, too.

You got out of bed, stayed out of bed, made a pot of coffee and a proper breakfast, cleaned yourself up, dressed up, masked up (Age of Plague and all), and made it out the door before noon.

Or maybe not.
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Maybe you got up with just enough time to snort a line of instant coffee, put on yesterday's shirt, run a wet hand through your hair and made sure your Zoom handle isn't M*********** and your filter isn't a cat before going live.

Let's go with Option 1. Because I've got this cold-open thing to do, you know?

Anyway... Pants. Nice pants. Out the door before noon.

You showed up at a place, a person said "Welcome..." and ushered you inside. You think maybe then you heard them mutter under their breath "...to your doom," but you can't be sure and things get bottom-of-the-bottle blurry after that.
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You come to in a basement tied to a chair, roughed up and wet with jumper cables clamped to your sensitive bits.


There's a single flickering, naked lightbulb above you and a lady leaned in close, lifting your chin with one hand, snapping her fingers with the other to pull your focus back in from the black.


"I'll ask you again, and you will tell me..." she says.


"Why do you want to work here?"


She hits you when you don't answer fast enough.


"How might someone who's worked with you in the past describe you?"


She hits you again.


"Can you tell me about a time you were faced with a challenging situation in a workplace? And please... tell me what steps you took to overcome it."


Your mind races for something, anything to say as she checks the connection on the jump cables...

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This was bound to happen, sooner or later.


No, not the felonies.


You apply to every company hiring. You cold-email the ones that aren't. You tell anyone and everyone, by whatever means available up to and including hurling rocks with resumes through windows, you're ready to make the cool things at a cool place with other cool people.


So, it was only a matter of time before someone said, "Well, alright then, let's talk."

Now you're in the hot seat, sweating, shaking, you're pretty sure you've forgotten your name and at this point you're more focused on making it through the next half-hour without crying or puking than on reinforcing why you're the one.


Breathe.


If you've got the interview, you've already got their attention.


So just try to be the best version of you available on that day.


1
Dress for the job you're applying for.

Overdressing won't cost you a job, but unless dressing that way is just how you are, it's likely to leave you feeling uncomfortable and that might hurt you.


Aim for the high-end of what you'd wear to work most days. Think slacks over jeans. A button-down or sweater rather than short sleeves. But you can leave ties and blazers, dresses usually reserved for weddings or funerals, or whatever else at home.


But do iron out your sh!t.


Likewise, wear the personality you plan to bring to the job, too. Which sounds cliche, and probably is cliche, but is important nonetheless. You want to show them what having you in the room daily would be like, so speak freely-- have thoughts about things, crack the joke.


2
Ask questions of your own.

Maybe don't trade one for one-- you're not trying (and shouldn't try) to derail the interview. But don't wait until the end, either. If every so often you answer a question then toss back a related one of your own, it does a few things...


a) Sneaks you a wee break to collect yourself while they answer.

b) Shows you're as interested in them as they are in you, and have given this job some thought.

c) Offers you info you might not have found elsewhere.

d) Makes you interactive and conversational, like their colleagues down the hall.


3
Learn the art of the humblebrag.

You're young. You can use Tiktok without it being weird. So you know what "Tell me without telling me" is.


You're going to get questions about experiences at previous jobs, and for each one, you have a concrete example of how you were so much more than high-paid set decor.


Stick to the little-but-laudable.


"We all thought the plug was about to get pulled-- I couldn't leave Jane and Joe Art-Hero to face that by themselves..."


"Total team effort-- they let me roll up my sleeves and get dirty with them..."


"Took us right up to deadline, but we got it done. I was really proud to be part of that day, you know?"


You move on like it was no big deal, because your goal in this is only to get them visualizing trusting you to fight the good fight with them.

And that's all I've got. #tellyourfriends


Cheers,


Damien

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