I've been asked hundreds of job-related questions over the years and so many of of you are complete stress bags (and, frankly, clueless) about interviewing and closing the deal. For those of you in the entertainment world, you need to be looking for work as often as you fill your car with gas. If you're not in entertainment and not looking for work as often as you fill-up, YOU SHOULD BE! With today's economic state, you need to cover your proverbial booty! Today we’ll start with PART ONE OF INTERVIEW HELL. If you don’t interview well, you won’t get the gig. Duh.
Trust that my knowledge ONLY comes from screwing up a ton of interviews and not getting the gigs I wanted. I've earned the street-cred to share what I've learned.
Here are the top 11 ways you screw up your interviews:
* You don't ACT* like you want this job more than anything in the world!
• You don't know about the person you're meeting with AND IT SHOWS!
* You don't care about (or like) the person you're interviewing with AND IT SHOWS!
* You're clueless about the position you're interviewing for AND IT SHOWS!
* You say, "No, I don't have any questions," when asked if you have any questions! Aaaarghh!
* You don't humbly brag** about your past achievements!
* You don't weave in examples of work you've done in the past that APPLIES to this position!
* You believe that you should just act like yourself and that will be enough. Ha!
* You are a booooooring interviewee!
* You don't tell them POINT BLANK WHY YOU’RE THE ABSOLUTE BEST PERSON FOR THIS JOB!
And if all of these issues aren't bad enough, the FINAL reason you screw up the process:
You don't FOLLOW-UP! And, if you DO, it's with a lame-ass EMAIL and not an ACTUAL THANK YOU CARD. Take a minute and SEND AN EFFING HAND-WRITTEN CARD!
In the interest of blogging brevity, I'm going to try to sum up how to get it together and stop doing whatever it is doing (or not doing) that's getting in the way of you and that job. More will be covered in follow-up blogs and my book, but if you’re in crisis mode and need immediate help, email me and I can talk you through your personal process.
In the meantime, here are the basics. Think about all this stuff BEFORE EVERY INTERVIEW (better yet, write it all down):
Know the job responsibilities and what type of person they're looking for to fill this position. Is this a new position or would you be replacing someone? If replacing someone, what did s/he do well? What are they hoping to gain with his/her replacement? (You're basically asking, "What did that dude suck at?" You're just doing it in a more tactful way!)
Show that you care by having researched the product, company, or situation. For entertainment peeps, what’s the show? If they say it’s “confidential,” see if they’ll at least tell you if it’s reality, documentary, scripted, etc… You must have some idea of what you’re walking into so you can be prepared!
And here’s the big one: *ACT like you want the job more than anything else in the world! If you don’t honestly believe that having this job would be your nirvana, then BULLSHIT your way through! You must make thems believe that you think this is the best gig with the most talented people on the planet! Let them think you would cluck like a chicken in full feathers down 42nd Street singing their theme song if it meant you could have the opportunity to work on THIS PROJECT with THEM.
Remember, they believe themselves to be brilliant and their projects are a reflection of their egos. Make them feel like the kings and queens they believe themselves to be.
TRUST ME THAT ENTHUSIASM SELLS! It’s how I got the job as Co-Executive Producer on the top-rated NBC show, The Biggest Loser. I was freaking excited! I told them how excited I was. I showed it. I smiled. I knew the product. I had ideas. (And I was genuinely enthusiastic. Sadly, that was before I ended up working with the most passive-aggressive Executive Producer I could ever have imagined. That story, however, is for another day.)
You can do this!
**Get over feeling weird and narcissistic and BRAG about yourself! You can do it in a way that sounds humble. You can say, "It always feels weird to brag about myself, but I want you to know that I was responsible for creating...." or "One time at band camp, I was known as the....". You'll get your point across in a non-braggadocious way. Just DO IT!
***Now, if you get the gig because you've been BULLSHITTING, that's GREAT, but you'd better KICK ASS while doing said gig. Otherwise you don't get ANOTHER gig. Get it? Duh.