Eden M. Kennedy

mission accomplished, pal

Eden M. Kennedy is the co-author (with Alice Bradley) of the book Let's Panic About Babies! (St. Martin's Press).

A former college-radio DJ, Mrs. Kennedy has driven cross-country six times in a 1973 Volkswagen Bug and enjoys standing on her head.

Currently she works a straight job and is just about finished writing her first novel.

Interviewing Tips

This morning I asked the Internet (via Twitter and Facebook) two things: one, should I wear a skirt or trousers to the job interview I have in an hour, and two, what was everyone's number one tip for job interviews? Because I suck at them. I get flustered and drunk on my own pleading insecurities and then I think, "Do I have a bug on me?" and reach up to find a river of sweat sluicing down my cheek.

Fortunately, the Internet responded thoughtfully, as it will, sometimes, when it realizes you're not fucking around. Here are the (serious) tips that I got. If you have any other good ones would you leave them in the comments? I'm sure we'd all be interested in what hard experience has taught you.

1. Ask interviewer, "what would success in this role look like?" Every time I've used it, they've said "wow, great question."

2. Be ready to answer the "What are your weaknesses?" question with something that makes you sound humble but still awesome.

3. When they ask for weaknesses, also say how you compensate* (always late so I use a planner). *This does not have to be true.

4. Skirt. Practice your "tell me about yourself", sit up straight, & at the end, ask if they have any reservations about you.

5. Flattering, stylish slacks. Tip: bring a portfolio. Reduces nervousness for you & impresses them.

6. Interview tip: be not so sure you want the job. Qs to figure out whether you do, make you sound interested; also, reduces stress.

7. If you want the job, tell them. Ask for it. So many people never actually tell me, "I want to work here. I want this job."

8. Skirt for me, it makes me stand up straighter for some reason. And always blow your nose before you walk into the office.

9. Skirt or slacks depends on job. Slacks more conservative. Breathe, and compose your answers in your head before you speak.

10. At the end of it, ask for the job. At least ask for the next step in the process, even if you're not sure you want it. Close!

11. Smile! And also? No swearing. At least those are the things I have to remember.

12. If it was me, DEFINITELY SLACKS. One thing I do is convince myself I don't want the job. Not sure why this works, but it's gold.

13. Keep the position in question in mind with every response you give. Make your answer relevant to the position you're after.

14. #1 wear whatever makes you feel most like a rock star. Tip - do your homework, ask good questions and LISTEN.

15. Ask the interviewer about their own career arc. People love talking about themselves.

16. Remember that you are interviewing them, too. But keep focus on what you can do for THEM. Ask what your first projects would be.

17. Suit. And be honest, look them in the eye, focus on cans not can'ts.

I also asked my friend Pamela, who has interviewed a lot of people because she's fantastically important and needs a rock solid staff, and she had this to say:

Remember to ask them what they like about their job and what they like about the office. I do a lot of interviewing and it is nice for people to ask that so I can pontificate about how great [the job] is. It is all about chemistry -- that's mostly what I've realized after lots of hiring. I want to like you and know that it isn't going to drive me nuts to see you every day, that you have a sense of humor, but are detailed and will pay attention. I want the person to come and work for me and take over lots of work and do it well and make us all happy so I can stop interviewing people and doing two (or three) jobs.

And sorry, have to say skirt. Think of it this way -- your interview at an office is in everyone's mind THE MOST dressed up you will be in that office. Short of going on a day when there is a blizzard (unlikely in your case) or a typhoon I'd go for a skirt. Don't take any of it personally though. Remember -- from the interviewer's point of view it is all about them, not you at all.

Okay! My interview is in an hour, I've memorized the company's web site, I'm about to iron my skirt, and I just ate an entire bag of Orville's microwave kettle corn and I'm about to be sick.