Interviewing Well

by Jeff Langr

September 24, 2007

A friend, “Joe,” requested some tips on interviewing after returning from one where he felt uncomfortable and didn’t get the job. Here’s what I told him:

  1. Enjoy yourself. Convince yourself that you’re there to find out more about the place and see if it’s somewhere you want to work. Don’t view the interview as “I gotta get a job.”

  2. Act yourself and relax. This is very similar to recommendation #1. If you’re somewhat obnoxious in person, make sure a bit of that comes out. Hiding things rarely works, and if they can’t handle you being yourself, then you probably don’t want to work there.

  3. Enjoy yourself. Figure out how to make your visit entertaining. Even if you don’t get the job, you’ll have had some kind of adventure. If the visit ends up sucking, or you don’t get the job, you’ll have a good story, and will have had an opportunity to figure out how to do better for the next one.

  4. It’s not what you say, it’s how you make them feel (straight from Weinberg). This is a critical mindset for making sales, consulting, training, etc. It’s an approach I’m still learning how to do well, but have noticed that it can work wonders. If you leave them thinking, “wow, I just had a great time while Joe was here,” then you’re probably getting the job. People won’t remember the specifics of what you say, unless you say something really stupid. But they do remember how you make them feel.

  5. See recommendations 1, 3

According to Joe, it went real well on a subsequent interview, particularly rules #1 and #2.



Igor October 18, 2007 at 05:42pm

I double what you’ve written and say to choose a proper time to attend interviews 🙂 The best possible probably is when you are happy with a current company, as you don’t care so much about getting the job and you can easily follow rules: 1,2,3 😀

Jeff Langr October 23, 2007 at 09:43pm

Yes, great notion. I recommend everyone interview at least once per year, just to stay in practice and also to see what else is going on out there.

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Jeff Langr

About the Author

Jeff Langr has been building software for 40 years and writing about it heavily for 20. You can find out more about Jeff, learn from the many helpful articles and books he's written, or read one of his 1000+ combined blog (including Agile in a Flash) and public posts.