austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Tell me all the things that I want to hear

In today's tough labor market you don't want simple mistakes at an interview losing you the job. If you can't reschedule for Monday, when things should be much easier, you'll want to know the simple mistakes so you can jump right to complicated mistakes. Those involving parade balloons are usually good, unless you're interviewing for a position involving parade balloons, in which case you'll look sycophantic and will emerge with a squeaky voice. For parade-balloon jobs complicated mistakes should involve detailed texts about good accounting practices.

Many interviewing mistakes result from using the wrong body language. Be sure the body language they use is one you're fluent in. If you don't body with that particular language try hiring a body language interpreter and concealing yourself within a shower curtain. Preparation will be important: you can't show up with the interpreter and your shower curtain and expect to be taken seriously. You need a curtain that's transparent on your interpreter's side, or else she'll have to guess about your writhing.

You won't be fair blaming the interpreter if the interviewers think you want to be a writhing chimichanga. Of course, if one of the interviewers attended State University of New York/Loudonville-And-Watervliet, home of the Writhing Chimichangas, you might be hired on the spot. Always do the research! You'll lose that sweet ``in'' if you can't pronounce ``Loudonville and Watervliet''. They can't either and don't want their shame publicized.

Don't ask to have the interview in Body Esperanto. It makes you look like a starry-eyed idealist from between the World Wars. The only jobs that gets you are designing utopian visions for elevatoro butono for interwar hotels. The Art Deco can be uplifting, but so is the 'up' button, and we do fine with arrows and numbers anyway.

Think carefully before thrusting things at the interviewers.

You may want to bring a fresh copy of your resume. That'll kill a few minutes, and then when the computer decides that not only can it not find your printer but it's never heard of a printer and thinks you're making the name up, you can deflect your nervousness into rage at the ``printer driver''. The ``printer driver'' is a thing computer people made up as an excuse for why printers don't print, used once people lose their patience with being told it's not on, despite the green light under the ``Power On'' label. (``It's not on in the right way'' was the short-lived interim procedure.)

Then the printer's gnawing your resume to a cheese-covered stew should keep your attention until you're running late, and rush to the interview with an advanced coffee stain across your shirt and powdery doughnut sugar debris constellating your pants, even though you didn't have either. Coffee stains and doughnut debris are spontaneously produced by interviews. The Apollo 16 astronauts quipped during their second moon walk about applying space shuttle flights and found back in the Lunar Module the guidance computer was sugar-glazed.

It's considered polite at interviews to ask the interviewers questions, reminding them how they hate being interviewed and how far they'd go to avoid them. Some might be intimidated into giving you whatever you want. But others may be driven to fleeing and hiding under the bed, which might be a 45-minute drive away.

So stick to gentler questions, perhaps probing office culture. For example, is it standard for everyone to have a birthday every year? Ones that don't could extend your life since by having birthdays only on the weekends. Yet even there you'll need some caution: it's bad form to ask what they do for lunch, as the answer mightn't involve eating it. Nobody wants to work someplace that lunches are brought out for sarcastic commentary and cynical disdain, but if they admit they do that eventually the company would run out of staff and blow away in a breeze. So ask instead how their ballasting and tethers are; if they seem overly prepared, this is a warning about how they'll mock your lunch.

You know, the labor market may be even better Tuesday than it is Monday. See if you can interview then instead.

Trivia: At the Dijon lycée, Louis Pasteur would have as many as eighty students in a class; he invented laboratory practicals as something to do to keep their attention in the last half-hour of the class. Source: Louis Pasteur, Patrice Debré, Translated by Elborg Forster.

Currently Reading: The Death Of A President: November 1963, William Manchester.


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