A Job Interview?!

Yes! I got a phone call today requesting a date for a job interview. I am really excited (much to the annoyance of my husband, family, and friends) and eager to do well at the interview and get this job. It is $14-16 and hour, five days a week from beginning to end. It is a research and writing position.

Now, this is definitely only an internship, which will run from 1 March to the end of August (I think the end), but hopefully this will lead to other great jobs. It is also a research job. Admittedly, this is only partially in my major, but it works with Native American agencies and the Engineers at the firm. They want someone to basically do a research-based write-up of the entire process of the project, from its inception to completion and the history behind it. I will likely need to drive around and meet with the people involved and affected, but that will be a lot of fun for me. I like people.

I really want to get this job. Not only is it a great opportunity to work on my research, writing, and interview skills, but a wonderful opportunity to network and learn new skills that will help me in the future. Really, any job would do this, but this seems to be a step closer to my goals in Environmental Science. It will also be a rewarding experience no matter what!

In wanting to do well, I ask you, dear reader, what you suggest. I already asked if they wanted me to bring anything and they said it wasn’t necessary, and if I wanted to submit any additional materials to do so ahead of time so they can look through what I send before the interview. I intend to bring a notebook to take notes, as well as a planner/calendar to set up appointments and dates, etc. I want to look as organized as possible, since they are looking for someone who is organized for the job. (I had my thesis stuff organized! Which was what I submitted as my research-based-writing sample.)

Any suggestions on attire? I plan to wear some of my favourite jewelry (which is Native American in design and origin, and kind of fits their “Native Americans are encouraged to apply” bit) and am debating between dress pants or a skirt… I also plan to wear my blazer and my only button-up shirt (white).

Should I bring my “indie-style” purse? Or perhaps just carry the items in my hands? Should I bring my whole laptop with external hard drive and all? Should I bring printed copies of what I intend to send them on the disk?

I am definitely going to try to come with specific questions and TRY not to ramble in my nervousness (an unfortunately true thing that happens). Any good ways to stay calm when getting the job may mean food on the table and a roof over your head? Things I should definitely or definitely not say or do?

I really don’t know how formal they want this to be, or how many other applicants they are interviewing. Shall I err on the side of formal? Or a bit informal to show off how people-oriented my personality is? I am bad at this whole interview thing, really. 😦

Please comment and give me your opinions and suggestions! I need all the help I can get.

~Nikki

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About N B

Artist, critic, friend, and rambly-ponderer.
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9 Responses to A Job Interview?!

  1. Warning: rambling interview advice ahead. Feel free to disregard the lot of it.

    Go for professional – not too much jewelry, and probably not the indie purse. What skirt is it? Does it match the blazer well enough? If you’re not sure which to go with, between pants and skirt, pick the one that makes you look the most put-together. Coordinated clothes makes a good first impression and it’s better to err on the side of too professional than risk looking sloppy. A little bit of your Native jewelry is great for showing your personality, but pair it with neat, mature clothes and hair.

    Since they said you don’t have to bring anything, and to send additional materials ahead of time, don’t bring the computer. Copies of whatever you send, tucked into the back of your notebook, may not be a bad idea, though, just in case. You may not need them (probably won’t), but it can’t hurt to be prepared for the possibility.

    For the interview itself, just… be you. Smile, be warm and friendly, don’t be stiff and overly formal. Don’t be afraid to laugh and correct yourself if you realize you’ve made a mistake. But be consistent. That’s pretty key.

    Honestly? I think you’ll be fine. This is just what I’ve found to be pretty true across the board – since the summer after freshman year I’ve interviewed for five different jobs and been offered positions every time (didn’t take two of the retail jobs because something better came around) and this is stuff I’ve done for all of them. Job interviews are all sort of the same, it’s just the content that changes.

    • N B says:

      Thanks Alexis!!!

      I am thinking of going with the dress pants, since they look nicer with the blazer than the skirt does. Any recommendations on good ways to eliminate pet hair? Washing and drying doesn’t seem to help….

      Thanks for your confidence in me! I know I need all the good-wishes I can get.

      As for the printouts. I am starting to guess against them since the thesis was 40+ pages and the risk assessment was about 100 pages. And the powerpoints are each about 10-20 slides. >.<

      Opinion?

      • For the pet hair…use tape. You can buy the expensive Lint rollers or cheap out and just buy a wide roll of masking tape (it’s basically the same thing) The hair will stick to the tape and come off…this is basically the only thing that works for my cat’s hair. Don’t forget to do your coat too if it needs it.

        Regarding the printouts…if it is over 150 pages-don’t bring them…just bring an extra copy of the disk in case the interviewer doesn’t have it/company lost it or in case they bring in an additional person to interview you who might want to take a look at it later.

  2. I agree completely with what Alexis said. Yes to the jewelry to show some personality as long as it is not too flashy or large. Try both the skirt and the pants on with the blazer and see which feels the most put together and gives you the most confidence. I love the idea of a blazer and white button down shirt–looks good and professional on everyone. Conservative hair and makeup and nails. And just carry your planner/organizer with pen and with copies of the materials printed inside just in case. No notebook. No laptop. I’ve never had to take many notes on an interview so you can probably take them in the planner so you have less to carry and less to juggle. I know that when I am nervous it’s better to have less in my hands in case I start getting flustered and clumsy. Also make a lot of eye contact. Take a few notes…but spend more time with your head up! Good luck!

    • N B says:

      Melissa,
      Thanks for the advice! I know I get flustered easily, too, so less things will probably be for the better. And thanks for the good wishes! 😀

  3. Meaghan says:

    Definitey try everything on to see what is the most put together. Employers tend to know within seconds of seeing you if they would hire you and want you to represent them to outside parties, so look is important.
    Research about the company ahead of time so that you can be prepared with relevant questions and not ‘what’s your company motto?’ They normally expect you to have looked that stuff up.
    Conversationally, listen, try not to interrupt and be succinct in your answers, but also genuine. That’s a bit of a fine line to walk, but a brief bit of honesty is better than the rote ‘You’re company just seems so awesome, that’s why I want to be here’. This comes especially into play when asked the horrible “What can you bring to the table?” or “Why are you interested in working here?” It’s like college applications again…bleh.
    Another piece of advice is something called the elevator test. You take time before the interview and pretend you’re getting into an elevator with the person who could hire you and they ask you to outline your strengths and plan for the job. You have thirty seconds max to sell them on yourself. It’s a great exercise to streamline your answers and not stare at them gape-mouthed if they ask you to describe your work ethic or strong points. Caution, though: not all answers should be this brief. You don’t want to sound like a robot. Unless they’re looking for robots. At which point…best of luck 🙂

    Good luck! Be calm, you’ll be great.

    • N B says:

      Meaghan,
      I have already been looking their website up and down a few times trying to get a good feel for these people. I looked it over before I applied and it sounds like it will be a good place to work. I already know their motto and some of their projects, as well as some of their affiliated organizations.

      As for the strengths: I am a people-person who enjoys learning new things. Any type of experience will be beneficial because it increases my skill set and knowledge-base. (blah blah blah… all in the cover letter I sent along. Weakness? “I hate mornings. They try to kill me.” Let’s not say that one.)

      Good to know they tend to know as soon as they see you whether or not they want you. I will have to look my best and not get all scared stupid (like tends to happen. Darn nerves!) and hope they don’t want robots. The turnaround from application to response to interview it has been really quick, so maybe the interview is a formality. Maybe not… I really have no idea but am wishing for the best!

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