How To Slay That Job Interview…Using Power Ballads
By Dominique Afacan, Last updated: 2021-10-21 (originally published on 2019-05-08)
They say music is a universal language; that you are able to communicate across cultural and linguistic boundaries in ways that you can’t with ordinary language. What better way to prepare yourself for your next job interview than with the confidence of a musical legend that flows so freely through the expressive and poignant verses of some of the great power ballads. It’ll also make these tips easy to remember when you can simply empower yourself by humming the tune while strutting over to your next interview, the confidence instantly straightening out those shoulders and making you feel like a rock star in your own field of work.
We suggest playing each ballad as you read the corresponding tip for full effect. Read on and rock on:
- Ballad: I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, Aerosmith
Tip: Stalk The Hell Out Of The Company You Want To Work For
The fact that Aerosmith was willing to stay awake just to hear his lover breathing is, admittedly, slightly creepy – but when it comes to bagging that dream job, creepy is good. If you really want this position – make like Aerosmith and stalk the hell out of the company you’re interviewing for. Don’t miss essential details that show your passion and interest in the business. That means soaking up everything there is to know about the company’s history, its culture, employees, products, and news – the whole shebang. Tedious? Possibly, but being able to prove you’ve done your research will win you countless brownie points – bringing you one step closer to a win. And don’t wait for them to quiz you on your knowledge – the opportunity might never arise. Proactively throw out some comments to wow and show you’re in the know. “I really like the redesign you did a couple of years back,’ “I read an article that your CEO wrote for the FT the other week…” or “The fact that you just opened an office in Mumbai is really interesting to me because…” Creepy? Not in this setting. Effective? Certainly. You want to be seen as someone that does their homework. Now, go out there and Aerosmith this.
- Love Walked in, Thunder
Tip: Make An Entrance
More than likely, you’ve heard the theory that interviewees will have either got the job or not within a few seconds of walking into the room. It sounds impossibly shallow and senseless, right? But before you get all despairing and disapproving – think back to the last stranger you met. Even if you weren’t being deliberately judgmental, you’d likely made assumptions about them based on their demeanour, the tone of their voice, the way they greeted you, their clothes – and innumerable other variables you aren’t even aware of. The same goes for interviews. It is incredibly important that you look like you’ve got your act together. That doesn’t mean you need to look like you’ve been styled by Grace Coddington, it just means you need to look like you didn’t pick your trousers up off the carpet this morning, make sure you smell good, and importantly, that you had the sort of early, alcohol-free night the night before that will enable you to deliver a strong handshake and an authentic smile. You’ll feel more self-assured if you look the part and this will seep effortlessly into your entrance, and interview. Walk in and make them fall in love with you. And don’t forget to thank Thunder after you’ve nailed it.
- Ballad: Nothing Compares 2U, Sinead O’Connor
Tip: Don’t Be Too Humble
Humbleness is no bad thing. The world might even be a better place with a lot more humble pie going around. But, and you are selling yourself here, an interview is not the place to start dishing out your humble vibes. This is not about being boastful and brash and arrogant – those things are a turn off anywhere. What this is about is making sure not to underplay your skills in the way that may come naturally. You may not have met the people in this interview before, if you downplay your achievements, you will simply be taken at your own word. What is kept under humble wraps will remain there and you’ll miss out in favour of someone who was better at blowing their own trumpet. You need to leave the interviewers in no doubt that nothing compares to you – and that means telling it like it is. You got promoted within two months? Tell them. You won an award? Important stuff. You learnt Russian in your lunch hour? Impressive. Write down all the great things you’ve done, include them in your CV, and then bring them up (they may not have read your CV in the detail you wish they may have). So, tell them, tell them, tell them. Speak about yourself as you would your best friend. He/she’s pretty great, right?
- Ballad: I Want To Know What Love Is, Foreigner
Tip: Be Curious, Ask Questions Throughout
Here’s a tired old tip; prepare three questions for the end of an interview. That’s all well and good of course, and it won’t do you any harm –but there’s something you can do beyond having a trio of questions up your shirt sleeve – and that’s having a damn sight more questions up the other sleeve. It’s easy to look at an interview as a one-way conversation – with you merely one of a collection of people in for questioning. But this is your future – shouldn’t you be inquisitive about this company and job too? This could be your life for the next decade after all. So if, as the interview progresses, you hear things that need clarification, or issues come up that you hadn’t considered, maybe it wouldn’t be the weirdest thing in the world to ask for more details? Far from making you seem clueless, it will merely make you seem interested, detail-focused and assertive. Those are good things, by the way. Nobody judged Foreigner for wanting to know what love is; nobody will judge you for being curious if you will love this job either.
- I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), Meatloaf
Tip: Know Your Boundaries
Meatloaf is right on the money here. Yes, you want this job, you would do anything for it, in fact – the position excites you, the salary seems fair, the prospects are good and hell, even the people interviewing you seem great. But hold up on signing the contract, what was that they just casually dropped in about working weekends? You won’t do that. So don’t say you will. Know your boundaries when it comes to bagging your dream job. It is easy to get carried away by your desire and agree to everything that is being said in the moment. But you will regret this down the line. Just like in a relationship – you need to start as you mean to continue. When the initial haze of romance wears off, this job needs to be a good fit for you, your family, your life, your goals. So don’t get swept off your feet. Think with your heart, yes, but also, listen to you head. That’s what got you here in the first place.
Dominique Afacan is the co-founder of Bolder and a freelance editor and writer based in London.