Are You Ready to ROCK (Your Interview)?

April 6, 2010 at 10:46 pm 5 comments

As graduation draws near, many soon-to-be grads are applying for internships and entry-level jobs for the summer. Many will get lucky and land an interview, spending days (or even weeks) preparing for that one-shot at making a good impression. But what do you do in that final hour before the interview?

For me, that final hour was literally a 60 minute drive left alone with my thoughts. Or rather, a perfect chance to psych myself out and over think every possible situation that could happen during the informational interview and writing/ editing test that would ensue for the next few hours.

What if I blanked on basic rules of AP Style during the editing portion? What if I had writer’s block (an illness I’ve been recovering from lately) during the writing test? What if clammed up and was completely out of character from my usual bubbly self? What if I was put on the spot and the only words that come to mind are “I don’t know?” Or even WORSE – what if one of many bodily functions blindsided me while I was there?!

As my life going down the drain flashed before me, a glint of something shiny on the floor caught my eye. Quickly I reached down, taking my eyes off the road for ONLY a second (I swear!) and struck gold: an ’80s mix CD I had compiled last summer. Immediately I popped the CD into the player and cranked the volume as loud as it would go without making my ears bleed.

Belting out the lyrics in the comfort of my car erased all of the if’s, and’s or but’s from my mind. Dance moves (though limited in the confines of a moving vehicle) and head bobs included.

Then it hit me: I am Dwight Schrute from The Office. Okay, maybe not quite, but I can at least relate. If you watch the video clip below, you will see Dwight take a moment alone in the car to vigorously listen to Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart.” *I know embedding is disabled, click on it again to go to this clip on YouTube. It’s 25 seconds long. Just do it!

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Okay Mikinzie, you are a huge geek and I’m frightened to be driving on the same road as you, but what’s the point?” The point is you need to have your “thing” that will ease your nerves and put any doubts in yourself to rest. Whether that means dancing it out, meditating, writing down all of your accomplishments on paper, looking at old pictures of fond memories or even letting your voice crack to bad ’80s music is up to you. In the end, whatever you do needs to inspire self-confidence. Even if that means getting funny looks from other drivers on the highway.

What do you do to get rid of the first-interview jitters?

As some of you know, I’m a bit of a music fiend and love giving (and getting) music recommendations. Here are few songs on the playlist that I sang particularly loudly while bopping around in my purple ’95 Cavalier:

  • “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” -Simple Minds
  • “Burning Down the House” – Talking Heads
  • “Always Something There to Remind Me” – Naked Eyes
  • “I Ran (So Far Away)” – Flock of Seagulls
  • “Ah! Leah!” – Donnie Iris
  • “Ordinary World” – Duran Duran
  • “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Division
  • “Video Killed The Radio Star” – The Buggles

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah Tiambeng  |  April 7, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Excellent topic! I’ve been to countless interviews in the past few weeks and my last minute prep is always the same.

    I listen to a few upbeat songs and then I text my best friend and say “In your eyes, What’s something about me no one else has?”

    It sounds silly, but it is one of the best pick me ups!

  • 2. Jason  |  April 7, 2010 at 10:38 am

    You, my friend, ROCK! 🙂
    Music is a great inspiration for me and I can’t begin to tell just how many times it pumped me up before an interview or soothed my soul after a rough time.
    Glad to say that I own all those songs (probably because I grew up in the 80’s), but let me add a few more.
    1) Never Surrender -Corey Hart
    2) Alive and Kicking- Simple Minds
    3) A Little Respect- Erasure
    4) Rocket- Def Leppard
    5) Canned Heat- Jamiroquai

    Now roll down the windows and celebrate nailing that new gig everyone! 🙂

  • 3. jillpr  |  April 7, 2010 at 11:59 am

    To this list I will add:

    Call Me – Blondie
    Billy Jean – Michael Jackson
    Sunglasses at Night – Corey Hart
    Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
    My Michelle – Guns n’ Roses
    Love Shack – The B-52s

    And some 90s, guaranteed to make you feel like PR:
    Someone Who Is Cool – The Odds

  • 4. bethanyrc  |  April 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for this- I am making a new playlist on my iPod! I will be listening far more often then just before an interview… 😉

  • 5. Suzanne McClow  |  April 11, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I’m surprised you know who the Talking Heads are. I love “Burning Down the House.”


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