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Going on a Job Interview?

9 Mar

Going on a job interview? Hopefully this blog post will help you feel more confident before going into your next job interview. I’m sure you often hear that confidence is the key to success. Well, whether or not you have heard this before, it is one of my beliefs. Even if you don’t get the job that you are interviewing for, you certainly want to make a good impression on the prospective employer and improve your interview skills for future opportunities. Interviews also serve as  great platforms for individuals to improve their people skills and their ability to communicate and express themselves effectively.

I feel confident in assuming that the majority of my readers have been to at least one job interview. Nothing is worse than those night before nerves that we are all too familiar with, the evening before an interview. Then you are greeted with the morning butterflies as you wake up and rehearse, over and over again, what you are going to say to impress your prospective employer.

I have three reliable, and perhaps even fool-proof, tricks to make going on a job interview feel like a breeze (or at least slightly less stressful). Sure, I’m not the first or the last person to give age-old advice about going on a job interview, but perhaps the spin that I put on these pointers might be useful to you and can help shed some light on feeling more capable and confident.

Merzybean’s tricks of the trade  for going on a job interview:

1. Look the part

What my mother always told me proves to be true in all aspects of my life, “first impressions are everything.” Whether we like to admit it or not, the way we present ourselves to the world has a very big impact on how people perceive us and with one quick glance, a judgment is formed before ever getting to know someone. So, what can we do about this? If you are going to an interview, pull yourself together and make a concerted effort to look good. I have learned, through my own experiences and through others, that it is safer to be too dressed up, rather than being underdressed. Depending on what sort of job you are interviewing for, this can dictate what type of attire you will be sporting.

If you are going for any type of corporate, office job, it is safe to say that you want to wear something on the smart-casual to dressy scale. Things to avoid: running shoes, denim, t-shirts, and any sort of casual wear.

For women, I think that any of the above images would be suitable for a formal interview. Obviously, dress according to your age as well. If you’re a younger woman, you can still look classy and professional without looking matronly.

For men, I think the most staple piece of clothing you can have in your wardrobe is a versatile pair of dress pants. Not too loose, and not too tight. Depending on the interview, anything from a tucked in golf shift to a collared shirt with a tie and blazer can be appropriate. Like I said, you can gauge how formally or professionally you need to dress depending on the environment of the job you are interviewing for.

2. Act the part

The way you carry yourself is extremely important and certainly feeds off of the idea that first impressions are so important. The cliche saying “fake it ’till you make it” comes in handy during interviews because as nervous as you are, you do not want the interviewer to catch wind of these feelings. Remember, you’ve made it this far! If you have been contacted for an interview, chances are that the prospective employer has reviewed your resume and you are obviously qualified enough to make it to the interview process.

Believe in yourself, if you have made it this far, you just need to sell the skills that you obviously already have.

  • Have a firm handshake. I’ve written an entire blog post about this, I shall direct you there now. The Art of the Handshake.
  • Speak with a clear voice, don’t mumble your words. The interviewer needs to hear what you have to say!
  • Make eye contact. This is a direct sign of self-confidence and it lets the interviewer know that you say what you mean and mean what you say.
  • Body language is so important. Don’t slouch or have “sloppy” body language. Sit up straight and try to avoid crossing your arms across your body. Body language experts say that this indicates a closed personality and it does not appear receptive to the interviewer.

3. Feel the part

Ultimately, after looking and acting the part, the idea is that you will feel the part. Remember what I said earlier, though, you are at the interview because you are qualified! Don’t stray away from who you are just to impress an employer. You are a capable individual, so don’t forget that. Yes, you will probably rehearse what you will say during the interview (it would be silly not to prepare), but don’t turn you into the cookie-cutter ideal that you think you need to be, just to get the job. Be yourself.

Confidently yours,



The Art of the Handshake

21 Feb

Maybe it’s just me and my group of friends,  but we truly value the art of a good handshake. You always hear the age old saying, “first impressions are everything.” Well, when I meet someone and I extend my hand out to shake his/her respective hand, this is the moment of truth for me. There are a few variations that I see most commonly. Shall I break it down?

The “Dead Fish” Handshake: Quite possibly, the worst handshake out there. When someone reaches out to shake your hand, please do not offer him/her a limp, dead fish-like hand. I know the intention is to avoid crushing the reciprocating party’s hand, but let’s not offer a dead fish! Stiffen that hand up a little bit and shake it like you mean it.

The “I Mean Business” Handshake: This appears to be the most common handshake that I have encountered. You are meeting someone for the first time and their grip is tight and lingers for a few seconds longer than it probably should. I get the vibe that this person means business, perhaps they’re excited to meet you as well. But at the end of the day, they want the job, or they want you to feel their importance.

The “Wink and a Gun” Handshake:  You’re either buying a used car or you’re meeting a game show host if you encounter this handshake… or it’s your cheesy uncle playing around with you. Either way, if you get the wink and a gun hand shake, run! This handshake suggests that someone either wants something from  you, or they are trying to brown nose their way into a situation (unless of course, it’s your cheesy uncle).

“Props,” otherwise known as the fist bump : Props, short for proper, short for proper respect, is the modern day handshake. As sported by Howie Mandel, props replaces the actual act of shaking hands, whereby the individuals literally just “pound fists.” This can be seen not just by the germaphobe, but the athlete, the teenagers at the local high school, or even the president of the United States.

The “solid” Handshake: This is the ideal handshake. Both parties go into the handshake with a strong, firm hand. The grip is not too hard, and not too soft. The duration of the handshake is long enough to acknowledge the other party, but not too long whereby the other party feels the need to reclaim their hand back. The appropriate shaking takes place, going up and down 1 to 3 times.

Well, that’s my break down of the most common types of handshakes. I’m sure you’re wondering what prompted me to write this blog. I figured, since I am a fresh graduate and I will be going on many job interviews (hopefully), I might as well master the art of the handshake. Take it with a grain of salt, it’s all in good fun, but there it is!