Week 4 Blog: Secret Interview Techniques
Interviews can be the most daunting of times for some. Sleepless nights worrying about whether you will get your dream job or even as simply as whether or not you get any job just to make ends meat. Personally, I have battled with social anxiety for years, which makes me extremely anxious, paranoid and can lead to some very depressing times. But fear not! Interview techniques have been a topic of conversation and study for years and the craft and approach have only improved.
Before internet (I know, how did anyone survive. So cliche and cringe-worthy, but I had to say it) people would either 1) wing-it and go into an interview blind with only their resume and credentials or 2) talk to friends and family who have positions in similar jobs and asking them what the ‘correct’ answers to questions are. But things have changed, and in terms of ‘what will my interview be like?’, it has only changed for the better. Today, if you are going for a job in a supermarket, clothing store or, broadly, the creative industry, simply searching “what questions are asked in the interview for a job at…” will return thousands upon thousands of pages from previous employees, current employees and even employers who have or still work for that company or job. This is a great starting point for understanding what the interviewer expects from you and what to expect from them.
But what if you have a niche job? An interview that no one has shared the information for? Well, it’s not a dead end by any means. Whilst you may not get to see the exact questions before the exciting day, it is fairly painless and easy to have an educated guess to what they will ask.
In class, CIU111, at SAE in Perth, we discussed the types of interview questions in depth. Everything from trick questions, to hypothetical questions and even simple common sense questions came up. But what all of these question types have in common is, that they are all asked! An exercise that was carried out consisted of creating our own questions, sitting on the tower-of-power, becoming the interviewer. Whilst one may think this is a cruisy job, coming up with original and relevant questions was quite a lot more difficult than expected. If this is the case, there’s no wonder why these people ask rather juvenile questions, such as “why do you want to work here?” In my head my answer contains many expletives, thinking “you know why! I want money to live off and this was the only job that gave me an interview”. But, secretively and deviously, that interviewer is actually asking a much deeper question, expecting a deep and well thought out answer.
Before an interview commences, give yourself time to go over several generic interview questions as well as career specific questions. In my experience, the generic questions are much harder to answer than the job specific ones. Also, everybody has different responses! The answer you give tells the interviewer a great deal about who you are, so memorising what someone exclaims as “the best answer!” is rather pointless, because if you get the job and you work closely with the person who interviewed you, they will soon discover that those answers you gave just don’t match your description!
Further, doing research about your career or the career you’re entering is of paramount importance (Woodcock, 2009). Personally, I worked at a golf course for 2 years and hated every minute of it. The other workers were fine, but I had no knowledge or enthusiasm about golf, I hated working outside when it rained (which was constantly) and the customers plainly sucked! I took the job after it was offered to me because I wanted to have a job, I didn’t even need one at this point, but looking back I could have found a far more suitable job that I actually would have enjoyed, instead of waste 2 years working the night-shift thinking of better things to be doing.
Dress: To be formal or not to be formal, that is the question
Two films really stuck out to me in my childhood, ‘American Psycho’ and later the T.V. show ‘Hannibal’ (tells a lot about how I grew up). In both, the main character (coincidentally both anti-hero’s) had immaculate dressing standards. Both wore expensive suits and had the fashion sense of kings. These two media forms gave me the dream to have a job where I get to wear a suit everyday! A pretty bizarre dream for a 15-year-old, but I aspired to be like them, just not in a devious murderess way. So it makes sense that to my first interview, which was a bottleshop, that I wear a black suit, with formal dress shoes, a blue silk tie and a white button-up shirt. Funnily enough, a friend was leaving the interview as I was entering. He wore a polo-shirt and jeans (not overly casual, but not overly formal). He told me as I was going in that “this is what I was told to wear”, and feeling rather embarrassed and overdressed, I continued on to my interview. Long story short, I got the job and my friend didn’t (little did he know I quit within the first week!) and I find out from one of the managers that I got the job due to my dress standards, which were high.
However, it’s important to note that not all jobs require a high dress standard. You would be really out of place wearing a suit to a garbage-collection interview. Relating this to the creative industry, many businesses and companies would allow casual wear, and because casual wear is generally more comfortable, the employee’s would choose to do so.
But what’s the difference between a recording studio and a bank? Shouldn’t everyone have to dress formally for their job?
Well, it’s to do with several factors:
- Who is your clientele and/or customer?
- How much interaction do you have with customers?
- What type of customer do you deal with?
- What is the service you provide?
I believe it’s more about acceptance over anything else in this day-and-age. If you walked into a bank and the employee’s were wearing shorts, singlets and thongs, it would feel out of place. Although, the same costume may be worn by an audio mixer at a recording studio and it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
Before you go to your job interview, ask them “what should I wear” (Ryan, 2015), because you potentially can be one step ahead of the competition and subsequently be the closest to achieving your dream job.
The Questions ???
Now to the actual interview!
Common questions asked in any type of interview may include:
- “Tell me about yourself?”
- “Why do you want to work here?”
- “What do you know about the company?”
- “What are your strengths?”
- “What are your greatest weaknesses?”
- “What have been your achievements to date?”
- “What is the most difficult situation you have faced at work?”
“As an applicant, the main thing to remember is that all recruiters are looking for is someone who is a good fit for the role. So pretending you have certain attributes to try and get a job — that is trying to be a ‘pear’ when you are really an ‘apple’ is poor strategy, because even if you get the job, it won’t suit either you or the employer long-term.” (Johnson, 2014)
Being a student with a potential future in the creative media industry also means that having an up-to-date portfolio is mandatory. I’m doing an Audio degree, so this may contain recorded sounds, bands, sample libraries, post-production material and past history working in an audio environment (Live sound).
Whilst the questioning from an interviewer is often general and not career specific, if I was to search for a job I would still expect to be answered some of these questions:
- Have you worked with this mixing desk before?
- What DAW software are you proficient in?
- What instruments have you recorded?
- Have you ever worked with a disgruntled musician? How did you deal with it?
- What live sound production have you done?
- Do you have any connections or contacts that would be interested coming to us?
Obviously the list is endless on what questions could be asked, but the advice that I have always received and read numerously on forums is:
Be prepared, be yourself and be confident. Feel like you already have the job, but don’t lure yourself into overconfidence and cockiness.
No body likes to be put under stress and anxiety, but unfortunately the world has been built in such a way that these things are inescapable. 92% of people become anxious about job interviews (Anxiety.org, 2016), and these people come from all walks of life and from every country in the world; you are not alone! Does this high statistic say something about our society: yes, it sure does! But we can’t change how society runs, so why don’t you take this disadvantage suffered by 92% of the population and flip the odds, win that job because you are you and you are good at what you do. If you don’t land the job, it’s not because you were terrible and it’s not because someone is better than you, it’s because people see people differently and that interviewer just couldn’t see the bright star that was beaming in front of them!
Anxiety.org. (2016, March 23). You’re not the only One anxious about job interviews. Retrieved July 6, 2016, from Anxiety.org, https://www.anxiety.org/adults-anxiety-job-interviews
Jobs In London. (2016). Jobs in London. Retrieved 6 July 2016, from http://londoncityjob.net/interviews-full-info/
Johnson, M. (2014). Common interview questions. Retrieved 6 July 2016, from http://www.michaelpage.com.au/advice/career-advice/interview/common-interview-questions
Katherout (2015, October 8). How to interview // tips + tricks Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54QGFm2uCgI
Learn English with Let’s Talk — Free English Lessons (2014, June 29). 08 common interview question and answers — job interview skills Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mHjMNZZvFo
Movieclips (2012, March 15). Morning routine — American Psycho (1/12) movie CLIP (2000) HD Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjKNbfA64EE
Page, M. (2014, October 6). Common interview questions. Retrieved July 6, 2016, from Michael Page, http://www.michaelpage.com.au/advice/career-advice/interview/common-interview-questions
Ryan, L. (2015, March 21). What to wear to A job interview. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2015/03/21/what-to-wear-to-a-job-interview/#3eeec2127605
wiseGEEK. (2016). What is a nervous breakdown? Retrieved 6 July 2016, from http://www.wisegeekhealth.com/what-is-a-nervous-breakdown.htm
Woodcock, B. (2009). Interview skills. Retrieved July 6, 2016, from University of Kent, https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/intervw.htm
Zimbio. (2015). A well dressed man! Retrieved 6 July 2016, from https://au.pinterest.com/smdances/a-well-dressed-man/