Top tips for successful job interviews

This week I had an interview for a job. Although I haven’t been actively looking for a permanent job, I have been feeling a tad lonely working at home, and was thinking it would be nice to have some new work friends, a reason to wash my hair every day, and someone else to make my coffee now and again. So when this opportunity came along, and I was asked if I would be interested in applying, I thought I should go for it.

I’ve always enjoyed job interviews, with much the same perverse pleasure that I get from exams. At heart I am a over-competitive, under-confident exhibitionist. It sounds like an odd combination, but it isn’t really – I love being marked, being praised, and I strive to do well so that people will tell me how clever I am.

What fits slightly less well with this picture is the rather cocky, informal persona I often find myself adopting in these situations, the kind where you are supposed to make a good impression, like interviews and first dates. Perhaps it is a defence mechanism – a detached but challenging front put up to hide a fear of failure. Or maybe it is just my strong attention seeking streak – ‘Look at me! Look at how charming/borderline inappropriate I am!’

Just in case my potential future employers read this though… let’s just put it down to nerves…

Overall, it would be fair to say that I gave a true reflection of my personality. Whether of not it was a good one we will only know tomorrow when they have made their decision. The way I look at it though, these are people I would have to spend a large chunk of my working week with, so it’s only fair they know what they are letting themselves in for.

Throughout the interview I cracked a string of bad jokes and waffled terribly, much like I do when I have to leave a message on an answer phone – ‘so, um… yes, that was all really, give me a call back if you have time, or whatever… hope you’re well… I should probably stop now… by-eee!’

Here are a couple of questions I think I answered particularly well:

Director of Fundraising: So, can you tell us why you decided to apply for the job?

Me: Well, I’ve been working at home for a while now, and I really miss getting dressed up to come into an office…

Senior Trust Fundraiser: Can you tell me what you would expect from me as your line manager?

Me: [looks thoughtful] Treats?

I can only assume that this level of childishness must mean that subconsciously, I really want the job. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the highly competent yet decidedly immature combination is just what they are looking for.



  1. Ksiu
    24 October, 2010 / 11:34 am

    Hi Jo
    your blog is so funny, i am totally addicted.
    As for job interviews i agree that you should show them your personality, then you don’t have to pretend to be somebody else when you start work.
    You might be exactly what they are looking for:)
    I really hope you get the job :)))

    p.s. Sorry for any spelling mistakes,i am writing on my iphone and the buttons are really small:))

    • 24 October, 2010 / 3:38 pm

      Thank you :-)

      You’re quite right – best they know now…

  2. 24 October, 2010 / 4:55 pm

    You’re funny, an office needs someone like you to brighten it up.

    • 24 October, 2010 / 6:32 pm

      Thanks :-)

      I thing so. Plus I wear stockings on Fridays in an office, which has to be a good thing.

  3. 24 October, 2010 / 6:09 pm

    I love it. I’d hire you, unless you didn’t have any education at all. I had the most awkward job interview of my life at the beginning of last summer. Apparently my comment on the beautiful architectures was not considered a valid answer to, “Why do you want to work at our lab?”

    They hired my friend.

    • 24 October, 2010 / 6:33 pm

      Boo – that sounds like a perfectly decent answer to me. You have to like where you work don’t you?

      I’ve been to school and all that, which should count in my favour…

  4. Lisbeth
    24 October, 2010 / 6:30 pm

    “Senior Trust Fundraiser: Can you tell me what you would expect from me as your line manager?”

    I think you did well. I would probably have blurted out “Impeccable organisation skills and a penchant for mild bondage”

    This is why my jobs never last very long

  5. Kerry
    24 October, 2010 / 9:11 pm

    Good luck Miss Slummy Mummy :)

  6. Louise
    25 October, 2010 / 10:29 am

    Good luck! Sounds like you would be fun to work with!

  7. 25 October, 2010 / 8:50 pm

    Well, any news yet? I waffle too, get a red face throughout and then come out and can’t remember what the hell I said. Fingers crossed :)

    • 25 October, 2010 / 10:33 pm

      No :-(

      They told me they would be phoning today, but I haven’t heard…

      *regrets asking for treats*

  8. 25 October, 2010 / 10:12 pm

    I love your honesty :) I end up telling interviewers my bad points at interviews, it’s like some nervous knee-jerk reaction I get! I once told my prospective employer about my collection of coats… i don’t know how i got onto that subject…. I got that job though!

    Good Luck! x

    • 25 October, 2010 / 10:34 pm

      Haha! I’d love to know what the question was that got you confessing to a coat collection :-)

      I’m sure they must be used to it and make allowances. I’ve done some interviewing before and seen how nervous some people get. I’d much rather someone at least seemed comfortable enough to make jokes and be chatty than just sat nervously sweating and not answering.

  9. 26 October, 2010 / 10:34 pm

    The line manager probably thinks you fancy him (her?). Job done. Or won. Especially if he reads your comment about stockings.

  10. 27 October, 2010 / 3:34 pm

    At heart I am a over-competitive, under-confident exhibitionist.
    Me too! I find that getting drunk the night before an interview takes the edge off the bad jokes, rambling and being arrogant type stuff because one is too busy trying to remember what job one is being interviewed for while fighting the hangover. I have gotten a lot of jobs while being interviewed hungover. Wierd.

  11. 30 October, 2010 / 10:19 am

    Great! You are so funny, fingers crossed you get it!

    Have you heard yet?

    • 1 November, 2010 / 1:21 pm

      *whispers* I didn’t get it. I imagine my blogging flippantly about it afterwards put them off. I am clearly a liability :-)

      Never mind…

      • Kerry
        1 November, 2010 / 8:09 pm

        Nevermind eh? There’ll be more interviews :) Not getting this job could be a blessing..

        I was wondering where you had gone to! :)

        • 1 November, 2010 / 8:42 pm

          Well quite, their loss etc etc…

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