Interview Before Christmas

My friend is going to have a Zoom interview before Christmas and she has been dreading the terrifying moment for a week now. Interviews are usually hard to deal with. Interviews are especially hard to deal with for introverts, for people who tend to be nervous and diffident, for women above a certain age. If you fall into the haphazard category of suffering from all three of the above disadvantages, don’t panic. Here is a list of advice to help you brave this terrifying ordeal and charm the interviewer.

  • Prepare a video or a powerpoint or a stash of photograph of yourself and your achievements even if it overlaps with your resume. Overlapping is good since it gives emphasis to those points that need to be emphasized. Whenever appropriate, you can show your material in the Zoom. “Let me show you a picture to illustrate my point,” or “a picture is worth a thousand words.” or “this is me doing this and that.” Preferably in one of your pictures, you hold an adorable cat or dog which will help you connect with animal lovers in mystical ways you don’t even think possible. What if in the end, you are competing with another candidate with equal qualifications and personal loveliness? If that happens, your pet picture will give you that infinitesimal advantage to tip the balance to your favor. If you don’t have a pet, borrow one from your neighbor or your friend. You may be afraid that once you get the job, you may not be able to explain your lack of pet to your boss, but don’t worry. If you are too honest to invent a story to kill your imaginary pet, you can always adopt one to make up for it. So make sure the pet you borrow have a generic appearance and a look alike is easily “duplicated” in animal shelters or pet stores.
  • Prepare as much as you can and dream of getting this job as much as you can, but when it comes to the moment of interviewing, stop thinking about getting this job since it will only make you more nervous. When you start to talk through Zoom, you have to follow the flow of the conversation, observe the person you are facing on the screen, respond to the questions naturally. This is especially important for Asian immigrants since we tend to over-prepare and often try to follow a pre-conceived plan or pre-written lines without paying attention to the call of the moment. This could lead to awkward speech and pauses that spoil an otherwise smooth interview. I know a person who did great in the first part of his interview. During the second part, however, a question came up that completely fell into what he had been preparing. He was so excited that he started to read out what he had written before and of course it was no good.
  • Try to know more about the company and the interviewer. If you have a friend there, you want to get as much insider information from this friend as possible. The interviewer’s personal preferences are really important. If she dress formally, you do likewise; if she is a vegetarian, make sure that even if you can’t be a vegetarian yourself, you make a statement that you always want to be one but can’t achieve for this or that reason. If such a friend is unobtainable, you can always do some research on this company online.
  • For non-native speakers living in an English world, interviews can be even more terrifying. Don’t apologize for your accent since that will not help. Also why do we need to apologize for our accent? It is not our fault. If we are looking for somebody to blame, look no further than mother nature, which only gives little babies the inexplicable capacity of learning a language without difficulty. You can probably prepare a little joke about it–it’s really not my fault, but mother nature’s fault–and insert it at a discreet moment. (I am still working on an ending.)

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