As the holiday season recedes into memory (or it would, save for the budget-busting bills now arriving en masse) and we forge into the bountiful promise of the New Year, here are some tips on acing a job interview from our ever-helpful friends at AOL. Predictably, the advice unfolds as a list of "don'ts" that, in sum, deny just about every single element of individuality. My personal favorites are 3 (e.g., "have the body language as well as the facial gestures of a serious professional"), 5 (e.g., "In all interactional situations in professional life, you defer to the ones with the most power"), 7 (e.g., "Should [the company] invite you to assess [its] challenges, proceed with diplomacy"), and 9 ("you must speed read the environment and mirror how the players are behaving, ranging from their body language to their pace and volume when speaking").
To which I would add a few tips of my own:
1. If you have kids, and especially if you're a woman with kids, consider euthanizing them before your job search. After you do the deed, be sure to allow a reasonable amount of time to elapse so that the emotions aren't so fresh and near the surface. After all, you want to seem like an upbeat, positive team player.I have other tips in mind, but I'm afraid they might sound a bit, well, over the top....
2. Once you've whittled your list of prospect companies down to your ideal first choice, do some background research in order to find out whom you're apt to be interviewing with, and what he/she looks like, physically. Consider plastic surgery that will maximize your resemblance to him/her, inasmuch as research shows that we're more comfortable with people who "look like us." (NOTE: If you have several ideal prospects, have several surgeries in turn that enable you to look like your several interviewers. Just let yourself heal in between so that the scars aren't visible, because today's employers dislike imperfections.)
3. WARNING: R-RATED CONTENT (and probably puerile content at that, but it makes the point that needs making). When the interview is about to conclude, offer to suck the boss's dick on the way out; chalk it up to "employee engagement." (Bring along a nice dildo/vibe combo, too, in case the boss is female.) Assure your prospective employer that this is a one-time deal, however, since further, post-hiring intimacies might constitute the makings of the dreaded hostile environment.
Folks, I'm sorry ... When you interview for a job, there should be one thing, and one thing only, on the table: How well can you do the job? All other factors are extraneous and irrelevant, or ought to be.* (Keep in mind that I'm putting my money where my mouth is: As it happens, for the first time in years I'm considering giving the 9-to-5 world the benefit of my talents; I refer to SHAMblog on all resumes and other materials, and I'm well aware that employers these days routinely check out a candidate's "online persona" before making hiring decisions.) For five years we've been talking in this space about self-help. What could be more central to that notion than the freedom to present yourself to the world as who you really are? So be yourself, dammit.
This goes back to a discussion we had a long time ago re Barry Bonds, Priscilla Presley and a transsexual teacher named Lily McBeth, of all people. Is the goal of self-help to turn you into a clone of everyone else who's (supposedly) "successful"? To incubate a nation of like-thinking, like-speaking, body-language-mirroring zombies? Is that really what all this is about? What's that you say? "You're talking about human nature here, Steve. That's just how it is. We hire people who look and act the part." Oh, is that so? I seem to recall that it used to be "human nature" for many companies to not hire blacks or women. We addressed that, didn't we? And it was "human nature" to specify "front-office appearance" in jobs that sought a knockout, big-breasted receptionist and wouldn't even consider anything less. And it was "human nature" to discriminate openly against older people or younger people or single mothers or gays. Seems to me we scotched all that, or at least we've been trying. These things are not human nature. They're socially ingrained. And they can be un-ingrained, too, as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and others have shown in their own hiring practices ... at least once upon a time.
So if you're an employer who's reading this, let your employees be themselves. Is the work getting done? Is the company prospering? Then forget the rest of it. It's literally none of your goddamn business anyway.
* unless you just finished a 15-year stretch in Attica after killing your previous boss. And even then, I'm not so sure. When you've done your time, you've done your time.