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PFPT’s Top Interview Tips

"So, exactly how do your years as a lion tamer qualify you for a role in banking?"

“So, exactly how do your years as a lion tamer qualify you for a role in banking?”

If you wish to secure the funds necessary for such life essentials as a roof, underpants and breakfast wine, you will need a job. Sadly they stopped giving these out free in cereal boxes due to health and safety regulations gone mad, and so you must search for a job under damp logs and paving slabs, or through recruitment agencies. Having spotted a role that takes your fancy, you are then to be poked, prodded and punished at an interview. You will want to make the very best impression while at your interview and by following my handy tips, you’re sure to blow them all away.

1. Research the company you are attempting to gain employ with, making sure to learn as many embarrassing facts about your potential employer to be meted out the second they ask any awkward questions that you can’t answer. Employers love a candidate who can Google-stalk and display the ability to “own” a conversation.

2. Learn your CV. Nothing gives the game away quicker than reciting CV “facts” about what a fantastic lion tamer you are, only to discover you actually submitted the copy boasting your welding qualifications and bricklaying portfolio.

3. Get a good night’s sleep. This probably won’t be the night before the interview but it’s always good to be able to say you had one once, as an ice breaker.

4. Prior to the interview, be conscious of what you eat. You don’t want to knock a potential employer out with pickled garlic breath and houmous-wind, and you also don’t want to have any crumbs stuck in your beard or ketchup down your blouse. It’s probably best to starve yourself for at least a week beforehand to be on the safe side. Also, if you have a beard, what on earth are you doing wearing a blouse?!

5. Pick an appropriate outfit – nothing too revealing and don’t forget your pants, unless you’re being interviewed for an exotic dancer role, in which case scrap the pants and don’t forget your pasties. Your entire journey to the interview must be spent avoiding all pets, children with ice creams, road accident victims clutching desperately for help with their bloody hands, and anyone else prone to leaving stains. Wear dark, wipe clean shoes so you can kick these obstacles away from your best ‘funerals-and-court appearances’ suit.

6. Plan your journey well ahead and then scrap those plans. Try taking a jet ski to the interview or skydiving in through the roof, to show you can think outside the box and have no problem breaking into the props department of the latest spy movie in order to make a lasting impression. This also serves to help you avoid arriving with the haunted look of one who has caught the soul destroying medium of public transport.

7. Always try to be early. Not too early or you’ll look like you’re homeless and that your cardboard box got stolen at 05:00, but not cutting it too fine or you’ll look like you sold your watch for crack while at a 24 hour orgy the night before. If you did sell your watch for crack, this could be called “resourceful business acumen” and “diverse supplier relations” so be sure to bring it up.

8. Buy some chewing gum. If you don’t have breath like a badger’s gusset, perhaps your interviewer does and will be only too glad of your candour and forethought.

9. Always tell a friend where you’re going and stay in public places. No wait, that’s dating.

10. It’s customary to shake the interviewer’s hand. It is not polite to then sniff your fingers or put your hand in a plastic evidence bag “for later”. Apparently.

11. People always say to make eye contact with your interviewer, which is all well and good but if you have an interview panel of 5, you run the risk of strained, crossed eyes. It is much easier to hand each member of the panel a signed headshot of yourself sporting an earnest yet enchanting smile. It’s up to you if you wish to let them keep the photo as a treasured memento of your thrilling time together, but these are costly so maybe ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing one.

12. Have some well thought out questions to ask at the end of the interview to show you care about more than just your potential salary. You could try the following:
a) Do we get free biscuits and can I take some with me to sample?
b) Does the photocopier bear a fully grown man’s weight?
c) What’s the company policy on stabbing workmates in the neck with a biro?
d) Do you supply replacement biros?

13. If you are invited back for a second interview, this is the round where you sing a tune from Les Miserable and regale the panel with a human interest sob story, preferably involving a sick kitten, a cleft palate and a one legged grandmother. Don’t forget to dedicate the song to your childhood sweetheart and squeeze out a solitary salty tear.

14. People will always tell you to just be yourself. That’s fine unless you actually want the job, in which case, be anything but yourself, because, let’s face it, you’re you. Popular choices are to be; The King of Wishful Thinking, Four Seasons in One Day or a recipe by Heston Blumenthal.

My final tip for a cringe-free interview, for the love of leopard print stilettos, lock your social media, lest your interviewer announce to you that their friend saw your tweet about being anxious enough to defecate a belly full of nervous butterflies, like a majestic cloud of airborne Bran Flakes.

As ever, you’re welcome.

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About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

31 responses »

  1. Missy Amber

    If all else fails, tell them you make a mean chocolate fudge cake. Worked for me, and it was nearly a year before they called me on it, and discovered my shocking liberties with the truth. Fortunately, I wasn’t applying for a job with a patisserie.

    Reply
  2. Why is it every vicious stain in the world is waiting to leap upon you just 15 minutes before and interview? You almost have to wear a bib and take it off just before entering.
    Fun post

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the great laugh. I knew it would be funny when I read the words “breakfast wine” in the first sentence.

    Reply
  4. Even better, apply for a job where its acceptable to have an interview in a bar. Hello dutch courage

    Reply
  5. as someone who is currently looking for a job I plan to employ ALL of these methods at my next interview. well done.

    Reply
  6. I couldn’t get past “don’t sniff your fingers.” Too many tears and uncontrollable piddling.

    Reply
  7. Hah. There may never have been a better opening line than: “If you wish to secure the funds necessary for such life essentials as a roof, underpants and breakfast wine, you will need a job.”

    Reply
  8. Jennifer Woods

    Seems like sound advice. I don’t know about them, but I would hire you.

    Reply
    • I don’t know what job you have on offer and I suspect the commute may be arduous, but I’ll take it! Well, so long as you have free biscuits and afternoon wine breaks.

      Reply
  9. Out of curiosity: what’s the ruling on pasties UNDER the more appropriate interview clothing? Asking for a friend.

    Reply
  10. Thanks to your advice I got all three jobs! Respect!!!!

    Reply
  11. Your posts are rapidly reaching automatic ‘have-to-tweet’ status. Brilliantly funny as always Miss PFPT 🙂

    Reply
  12. To really show you are a go-getter type, you could turn up anyplace and demand they interview you then and there. That sort of thing is impressive. If they say they haven’t got any spare jobs going, raise an imperious eyebrow and ask if Kate Middleton or Brad Pitt walked in and asked for a job what would they say then? Their stunned silence would be proof that they could find a job, so press on from there.

    Other than that, loved the piece. Well done, job seeker!

    Reply
  13. This is perfect! I am currently looking for work – of course I have the opposite problem of your photo example; my years in finance and admin are not helping me get jobs in lion taming. I also think #9 should apply to job interviews, you just never know with those shifty HR types.

    Reply
  14. I am a Restaurant Manager and on occasion get to interview potential staff, any references to time spent in jail equals an automatic vote for hire from me.

    Reply
  15. I’ve got an interview next week. For a proper job. What would be the correct interview dress code for someone who’s been self-employed/working from home for 10 years and spends her waking hours in T-shirt, flip-flops and manky old leggings that are covered in caked-on breakfast due to relentlessly watching the computer screen when shovelling poached egg into her mouth of a morning?
    Should I startle myself into a fit by ironing that suit from 2009, and replacing the buttons that popped off that TM Lewin shirt unwisely purchased during a temporary phase of wanting to be a ‘career girl’? And what if I get blisters from walking from the tube station to the interview in my only pair of high heels? Would it be OK to kick them off once at the interview and go ‘ooh, that’s better – me feet were killing me?’ Or does that depend on whether I want the job? And how will I know if I do, until we get to talking money? And what if we never get to that stage, due to them spotting the poached egg detritus? It’s a minefield, it really is.

    Reply

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