The Good, The Bad, and The Interview

Hey all, Maddie again. I’ve come this week to set the record straight about something.

Interviews. The dreaded interview. Talking about yourself, wearing nice clothes that you didn’t just toss on, business lingo, people…with authority. Shudder, am I right? NO. Interviews are nothing to fear. Interviews can be fun, even. Work? Fun? Yes!

Here’s the deal, as long as you’re prepared you have nothing to fear. And my favorite place to start is the bright side. Instead of thinking, “Oh man, I gotta dress nice, what if I get the job then I’ll have no social life, what if they’re scary?” just think to yourself, “Cool, they offered me an interview. Cool, an income. Cool, experience. Cool, practicing my communication skills.” Just keep cool and collected. And look on the bright side.

Something you can do to make this easier is research. Know the company you’re interviewing for. Even if it’s Taco Bell, just shovel some Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes into your mouth while you look up their mission statement so you can cite it during the interview. That way they know you’re really interested, not just lookin for whatever you can get.
(I tried finding Taco Bell’s mission statement. All I got was some Smart Alec on WikiAnswers saying “To make people FAT”… I don’t think that’s it.)

Showing up prepared with company knowledge is an excellent place to start. From here I recommend you find yourself an elevator. It’s time for the elevator speech. This will come in handy for the ever popular prompt, “Soooo, tell me a little about yourself…”, often trailing off while they stare into your soul with their professional purpose and big grin. You don’t want to say too little, but you don’t want to ramble on and put them to sleep either. It should take about the amount of time it would if you only had an elevator trip in the 624 S Michigan building. Work this speech to your advantage by talking about some personal skills. Relate those skills to the job. Subtly, if you can. Be quick and efficient, and keep a friendly smile.

And of course there is the clothing. Here are some basic guidelines:

  1. No sweatpants/shirts, let’s be real
  2. Steer away from jeans as much as you can, even if they are really nice
  3. Don’t wear something you’d hit up the club in
  4. Basically make it clean, smooth, appropriate, and if possible, industry related

What do I mean by industry related? Well, if it’s an interview for a fashion magazine, match their style. You don’t need to pull out the suit and tie for every interview. Exhibit A:


I mean, in the end it’s whatever floats your boat. But this ties in with researching the company. Ask around, see what the office etiquette is like. Will a three piece suit for a Taco Bell interview be too much? …Maybe. Just maybe.

I’ll top this off with one of the most important factors: Sleep! Get some shut eye! Some beauty sleep! Head to dream land at a decent hour so that you are well rested and show up on time (but not too early, of course, shoot for fifteen minutes before) and so you can get a good meal in that professional tummy of yours.

And remember, not every interview is about landing the job. And not every rejection means you interviewed horribly. Even if it’s a job you don’t care much for, go into it with the intention of absolutely rocking. It’s good practice for you, it may provide you with a broader network, and hey, it’s always worth a shot!

So get yourselves out there! And good luck!