T Nation

Job Interviews?

Are you an interview ace? Do you really dread interviews? Any funny experiences? Any pro-interview tips?

Let’s here it!!!

Make sure you don’t kill your chances before you begin. Don’t be late, make sure your clothes are clean, neat and ironed and you’ve dressed appropriately. Don’t smell or have other hygene issues (eg. Havent cut your nails in 3 months)

Then you can move on to more important things. Do your research about the company. Know about their place in the market, products, amount of money they make, number of employees, etc.

Always have something prepared for the cliche questions. Why do you want to work for us? What qualities do you bring to this role? What makes you the ideal candidate for this position? etc.

In answering questions, use a structured response like STAR. Choose examples where you can easily explain a benefit and always be specific about the role you played and the work you produced - ie. avoid saying “we”.

If you can’t think of a good response to a question, dont be afraid to ask to come back to it. That’s far better than babbling on about God knows what.

Look people in the eye, dont lie, be confident and have 2 or 3 questions ready to ask. Writing those questions down and referring to notes is okay.

I like to drop 1 low level swear word in an interview. It doesn’t always work but it makes you stick out, seem more real and relaxes things but use your judgement. If you haven’t built up some rapport first, swearing will kill any chance you have.

Thank everyone for the opportunity to interview.at the end.


We conducted a team interview of an individual a few weeks ago. The guy started quite a few question by saying “I really don’t know, I don’t have that experience but I’m willing to learn.”

… then spent 22 minutes explaining, very slowly, how he’d handle the situation.

Finally, after we were all extremely bored and ready to end the interview… he pulls out a binder and starts reading us his letters of recommendation and a few news articles of projects he was involved with… He read every word! He didn’t stop even when we said it was over.


Practice. Most people suck at interviews if they lack experience, especially if the interviewer is poorly trained. If you’re looking for a job out of school, see if your school has career services people that will do mock interviews.

If you do a phone interview remember that it often takes a couple seconds between one side saying something and one side hearing it. I interviewed for a job a while back that was a conference call over like three different phones, it was a cluster of fun.

My personal highlight was dumping the cup of water they gave me all over some electronic devices on the table when interviewing at a circuit board co in 2008.

@strongmangoals tips are great too

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Are you at all familiar with the trade or profession you are interviewing for? If not, just try to present yourself as a hard working, easily teachable, willing to work able body.

That will get you further than anything else.

If you are familiar with the trade or profession, do the same as above, but be honest about your skills and limitations. Relax, and be friendly even if the interviewer isn’t.

Don’t rely on your resume to get it. Thank the interviewer for their consideration and assure them that they will make a good decision in hiring you.

In all of the places I’ve worked, if the interview is good and they’ve already decided to hire you they’ll invite you for a walk around. That’s the sure sign that it’s in the bag.

Funny story: I was interviewing as a general good to have around for all kinds of stuff guy at an R&D facility for the energy industry. The head guy liked me, so he brought in the chemist. The chemist was a huge cooking fan, and grabbed one of the awesome cookies that my sis (already employed there) had brought in that morning. As he’s snacking away, he starts into how chemistry is a lot like cooking. He gets done, and I ask him how he likes the cookies. He tells me that they’re great and offers me one. I decline politely, and let him know that I have a couple dozen more at home because I’m the one that baked them!

Then we had a laugh and took a nice walk around the lab. Unfortunately that one got hung up on criminal background, but we had a good time and I got to meet a couple of pretty cool guys.


Report: 95% Of Grandfathers Got Job By Walking Right Up And Just Asking

The Onion 3/25/14 2:00pm

WASHINGTON—According to a Gallup report published Tuesday, over 95 percent of the nation’s grandfathers began their careers by walking straight into a place of business, saying “I’m the man for the job,” and receiving a position right there on the spot. “I just went right up to the owner, looked him dead in the eye, and told him I was the person he was looking for,” said 78-year-old William Chambers, whose story was nearly identical to accounts given by thousands of other grandfathers interviewed for the report, each of whom emphasized that they placed both their hands firmly on the businessman’s desk, explained that they were “go-getters,” and concluded by saying that, if hired, they would be the hardest worker the company had ever seen. “Right away, the fellow told me he liked my gumption, and then we sealed it all with a handshake. I had that job until the day I retired.” Chambers added that, like two-thirds of the grandfathers surveyed, he also gave the pretty girl behind the counter a wink and—wouldn’t you know—50 years later they’re still together.


It’s way easier to get a job if you already habe one. I work in the construction field. And I work with different subcontractors all the time. So I make connections and friends with them all the time. So if I get laid off i call one up and see if they’re working. They already know me, my work ethic and such. Also just in general have confidence in your ability to do the job well.


I’m not old enough to have had a very “serious” job, but I have a somewhat funny story.

A few years back I had applied at the local grocery store. They get a lot of turnover, but also have a pretty large operation - floral shop, bakery, butcher, etc. so because of how many people apply, and how many they need, they’d do pretty large group interviews - mine had like 20 people. I think that was standard. (Maybe this isn’t unusual but I’ve never experienced that anywhere else.)

Anyway, they asked one of the usual questions about how you’ve dealt with conflict. One dude who I’d immediately pegged as just weird spoke up. I don’t know, he just seemed a little off. Jew fro, (no offense @flappinit) mismatched clothes that didn’t suit a job interview, really jittery, etc.

He started talking about how some kid in his class had been annoying him in class. I don’t know how - throwing things at him or something. It had gone on for a while and he was getting fed up with it. I thought, since he’s answering the question, he must have resolved it well, right? Well, after spending several minutes describing everything annoying about the other guy, he says he decided to “handle it” one day. The interviewers asked how, with slight smiles on their faces. He kinda giggled, and said “Well, let’s just say it didn’t end well for either one of us.” Kinda feel like everyone in the room got a school shooter vibe when he said that (I did). The interviewers now looked concerned and asked what happened. He then described how he attacked the kid, choked him till he was unconscious, and how he needed to go to the hospital. There was a pretty awkward silence in the room, even from the 40 year old crackheads who looked like they may have done that to someone at one point as well. The dude seemed oblivious to it.

I got the job. Basically everyone in that room did, but I never saw that kid.

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Its from The Onion, so I can’t tell if they’re being humorous or what?

OR you might be implying that I’m old. I’m not grampa old. I’m only 46 and 11/12ths. I might be curmudgeonly, But only a little.

It’s been over a decade since I had the Jew fro, so none taken. I’m proud to be the symbol of Jew fros for people such as yourself.

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I was poking fun at you, a little. What you said reminded me of the article, but so do a lot of the things guys say here. You have to admit, people can sound pretty grandfatherly on this site.

I know you’re not old.


Never indicate that you could possibly be smarter than the person who’s conducting the interview. Ever! Complete deal breaker.


I interview quite a bit. As a director in a small to medium business we have to do all sorts that we self train ourselves for. not ideal but thats small business for you. Anyhoo my advice is to try to relax and be yourself. The interviewer hopes you are the one so wants you to get the job. There’s a lot more to getting the job than ability like will they fit in with the existing team, good image, articulate, substance etc. At the end when they ask if theres anything else you’d like to say always tell them how keen and enthusiastic you are for the job. Don’t assume they know, tell them. If thats the last thing you say when they are considering you later thats the thing they’ll recall first.

My style when interviewing is to have a relaxed conversation to get them to relax so I can get a feel for them. I have a form I fill out but it doesn’t interfere with the conversation. I look for common ground and after a while they relax. I had one guy who was technically excellent, had tonnes of experience. Looked ideal. Until I got him to relax so much that he revealed that he and his wife talk to ghosts that live in their house. Next.

Haha, I was just kidding. Just know I’ve seen you mention it a few times and it’s amusing to picture.

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