In the days following my being fired, I spent the necessary time licking wounds and setting my self-worth back on its normal roller coaster. With a genuine “Hallelujah!” for my pending interview, I began preparing for the big day with a close look at my wardrobe. I was in desperate need of something without toner stains on the cuffs or shiny pant bottoms. Everything was looking pretty good but I still needed something new to wear. I thought of my friend’s advice. Her motto for dressing for success has always been, “It all begins from the inside out!”
Often, taking the advice of those who have gone before you is a wise move when bouncing back from adversity. My advice may not be as much fun as a shopping spree at Victoria Secrets but is a secret to success none-the-less. Do your homework! Knowing everything you can about the company interviewing you and who’s who in the zoo is critical! Nothing could be worse than asking, “So, what exactly do you do here?” Thankfully the internet has done away with all the necessary stalking stills of days past and there is now no excuse for not being aware of the company’s history, goals and names of all the principles. If you’re really good at doing your homework, you might even know their favorite sport and how they like their coffee.
Of course your resume, highlighting all your sterling achievements, has been edited, edited, and edited again, printed on a single sheet of bond paper and neatly placed inside an attractive folder with your business card attached -but are you ready for the bombshell question that always follows the summary of your glowing expertise? “In your own words, what would you say is your greatest weakness?
And whatever you do, don’t laugh and say, “I don’t have any!”
When the question is posed, in one form or another, hear the Byrds singing, “turn, turn, turn” and do just that. Turn the question around to answer how you have found ways to overcome your weakness. Without a doubt, if I were to directly answer that question in an interview, it would have to be “procrastination.” But I would never say that. Instead I would say, “The way I have found to overcome my tendency towards procrastination is to make a list of the six most important things to be accomplished the next day before I go to bed. Then, as I sleep, my subconscious mind helps me prioritize them so that in the morning I’m able to quickly move through the list, accomplishing each task in its order of importance.” Using this method will turn your weakness into a strength! Practice how you would answer this question until it is completely natural for you to address it with ease, but do not script your answer or memorize it unless you are currently between jobs as a professional actress!
It can be hard to stand out in the crowd, but you can do it! I once surreptitiously left a shiny penny on the corner of my interviewer’s desk. After I was hired, my boss told me she had to hire me because she could not forget me. Every time she reached in her change purse for a penny I came to mind! You may not be able to leave shiny pennies behind you after an interview, but you can follow up with a neatly hand-written thank you note of your personal stationary! And then you can always take note of the nearest fire exit as you enter the interview room and authoritatively take the lead to see everyone quickly out of the building during the unscheduled fire drill!
Prepare, practice, pray and trust God to take care of the rest. You’ll have favor before me and will ace the interview!