No, this post is NOT about my younger brother Janss getting circumcised.
Get your minds out of the gutter, people.
Obviously, I am referring to “Pomp and Circumstance”, the song traditionally played at commencement ceremonies.
My wordplay is quite appropriate as Janss graduated with his Bachelors in Music from Central Washington University last weekend. Way to go, Janssy!
Janss’ big day had all the ingredients of a classic W. family gathering….
I want to make sure I don’t leave Janss’ girlfriend Ashley out. She pretty much rocks my socks off.
Janss moved to Seattle this week and has begun his job search. Finding that first position can be extremely difficult and I feel it is my sisterly duty to offer up some interview words of wisdom.
The five tips below come from my own personal experiences. Take notes, Janssy-man.
1. Don’t Pre-Funk at Dick’s Drive In
Whatever you do, please don’t stop at Dicks for a burger and fries before an interview even if it is just across the street from where you’ll need to be. You will undoubtedly spill all over yourself, reaching an all-time personal low when you consider claiming the ketchup stain on the front of your shirt is actually a gunshot wound. In reality, you will arrive at your interview ten minutes late as you had to rush over to American Apparel and pay $78 for a unisex dress shirt that you’ll never wear again.
2. Don’t be sneaky
If left alone in a conference room, do not under any circumstance pass the time by perusing the copy of your resume that has been left on the table and is covered with notes from the hiring manager. Time flies when you’re having fun and you will be caught red-handed. The excuse “I was just trying to review my qualifications…” will not save you.
3. Avoid wearing hair extensions
You will undoubtedly spend the entire interview thinking “I wonder if they can tell I’m wearing hair extensions?” and miss several of the questions. Except the one where they ask if you are in fact wearing hair extensions.
4. Make sure you’re in the right interview.
My first job out of graduate school was working as a Web Designer for a casino in Upstate New York. I showed up for my interview right on time and was escorted into a meeting room by a very friendly man who asked me to share my related work experience with him.
I dazzled him with the details of my Newhouse School education, elaborated on the valuable knowledge gained during my internship and explained how my experience as a freelancer prepared me to work confidently with a variety of clients and projects.
“That’s great. But have you ever cocktailed before?”
At this point I was ten minutes late for the interview I was supposed to be in.
I blame the misunderstanding on the false eyelashes. And possibly the four-inch heels, which I still argue were perfectly tasteful.
5. NEVER EVER go to an interview at someone’s house
This is perhaps the most important rule.
Not two weeks before I was mistaken for a cocktail waitress, I made a two-hour drive for an interview at a reputable advertising agency in Rochester, NY.
When I arrived in a cul-de-sac full of cookie-cutter homes I was convinced Google Maps had made a terrible mistake. But seeing as I was at least in a gated community, I knocked on the front door just to make sure.
As it turns out, I was the one who had made the terrible mistake.
Let’s just say the agency was less reputable and more delusional.
The woman who ran the place took me down to her basement where she interviewed me for about thirty minutes. And by “interviewed” I mean complained about each of her three employees while they were within earshot. How diplomatic.
She then requested that I conjure up a marketing proposal for a complete re-branding of her website, and present it to her when I was finished.
How I was supposed to create an adequate presentation with nothing more than construction paper, Crayola makers and a pair of rusty scissors remains a mystery to me.
Yet, I obliged. I had driven two hours after all, I might as well humor her.
My positive attitude quickly went south when a mangy cat jumped up onto the table and dragged its filthy backside across my half-completed mock-up as if to wipe itself.
I ran out the door and never looked back.
I’m pretty sure after reading this Janss is wondering why on earth he should take advice from me. With all of the interview disasters detailed above, there would need to be some sort of miraculous occurrence for yours truly to land a secure position at a credible organization.
You say “miracle”, I say “handbag”.
I owe my career to this little puppy:
The purse, not the dog.
Let’s rewind to last September, the day I was scheduled to interview for my current position. Not five minutes before I needed to be out the door, this little gem was delivered to my front door by the UPS man. I knew I should wait until after the interview to unwrap my new treasure, but I just couldn’t resist. I quickly ripped open the package, and transferred all of the contents from my old, schleppy purse, into the new, glorious handbag of fabulousness.
I then of course had to readjust my outfit to match the new accessory.
This may have put me back a few minutes…OK more than a few. No matter how quickly I sped down I-5, there was no way I was making this interview on time. I was beyond fortunate to be only five minutes late.
Not only had I sabotaged my chances by being tardy, I quickly realized that showing up to a non-profit carrying a handbag that costs more than my monthly rent was pretty much interview suicide.
Fortunately, I have an extremely stylish boss who has informed me on more than one occasion that my Louis Vuitton bag is the only reason he hired me.
This is how I know God has a sense of humor.
Janss, I hope after reading this the Prada clutch I gifted you at Commencement makes a little more sense.
I also hope that despite your potential new position at Petco, you never let a cat drag its bum across any of your personal property.
They may take our mock-ups, but they can never take our dignity.