The importance of nailing the job interview

The importance of nailing the job interview

Jake Keeley

Interviewing is hard. If you didn’t know that by now, you haven’t interviewed anywhere yet.

I’m not talking about your walk-in, on-the-spot fast food joint interview. No, I’m talking about your first, “OK, I really want this job, this seems like a good career fit” interview. I recently had the pleasure, and misfortune, of embarking upon this interview/job search process, and let me tell you, it’s stressful.

Before you even get an interview, though, you need to submit a resume. Unfortunately, your resume is never good enough. Ever. You’re proficient in this skill? Sorry, the company prefers you do it the other way. One to two years experience working in the field? For an entry-level job? Sorry, all you have is schooling.

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard that before. But you’re different, you want this job badly. So, as any go-getter would, you take your resume to a workshop, maybe GVSU’s Career Center. They give you great advice, tips to make you stand out from the rest. It would just be a little more helpful if you actually had more than four lines on your resume to apply their help. That’s right, be preemptive, it’s never too late to get a couple lines on your resume.

The real meat and potatoes of the process boils down to the interview. At least, that’s what I told myself. I have such an average resume, that I really hype up the interview. If you consider your resume to be your strong point, I suppose you could hype that up, but there is nothing really nerve-racking about submitting a file.

I kept telling myself if I just made it to the interview process, that’s where I could make my money. I thought to myself, ‘I’m charming, people generally like me.’ If they just got to know me, my resume would become irrelevant. I could interview so well that it would put me over the top.


Interviewing is hard. That was the first sentence of this column—did you think I was lying? I did have some relief with a phone interview, though. I took it in my own home—sweats, no shirt, with a blanket draped around my shoulders. Needless to say, I killed that one. But I promise you that was the only one I killed. I had several other face-to-face interviews, ranging from 30 minutes to nearly two hours, with as little as two people to as many as 10 people.

And let me tell you what you already know, I choked. These people put me through the fire. Nearly two hours, breaking me down, sweating me out. At one point I think they were playing ‘good cop-bad cop’ on me. I’d love to give you some questions, recount my interviews a little bit, but I’m pretty sure I blacked out for 75 percent of it. I was uncomfortable in there. I was wearing a suit. Suits and I don’t get along.

Fortunately, I got out of there with the job that I wanted all along, God bless the company that selected me. Again, I’d love to give you some advice, but you just heard my performance. Besides, nothing can prepare you for getting thrown into that gladiator arena. My friend actually works in human resources and she told me when they decide whether or not to hire someone the manager actually does the thumbs up or down, just like Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Gladiator’. I know, I hope I never have to interview again.