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Q: Hey, I have an important interview coming up and I don’t really know what to expect. Is this something I can study for?
A: Well, while no interviews are completely the same (LOL JK, most of them are) you can prepare yourself by answering some of the more common interview questions beforehand. This way, you won’t be so quick to reveal the #struggle and apathy that surrounds your everyday existence. I’ve even been so kind to give “appropriate” answers to five of the most common interview questions below.
1. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
Refrain from answering anything along the lines of “in hell,” “as far away from here as my vastly underappreciated Honda Accord will get me,” or “surrounded by mountains of models and blow on a desert island I willed into existence through the mutant powers I gradually acquired by drinking tap water.”
Instead, completely bullshit your answer and tailor it for the career path you’ve chosen or are interviewing for, and answer with a not so ridiculously elevated position. If you’re a graphic designer, say creative director; if you’re an analyst, say vice president. “Dream” big, but not too big that it turns into a truthful conversation that spills why you’re actually there (nepotism).
2. Why was there a gap in your employment between [insert date] and [insert date]?
This is where little (or huge) white lies come into play. If you couldn’t find work right after school because it was a hard economy, admit it and then say you made the decision to “travel.” Go with backpacking through Europe or volunteering in Africa, or really anything that has a more worldly guise than the cyclical pattern of abuse that was the McDonald’s and Wendy’s drive thru.
If you were let go at any point, say your old company had to cut costs on your team. Don’t go into detail about how you added a handle of Everclear to the Gatorade cooler at the company softball game, no matter how great the team bonding was afterward.
3. Tell me about yourself.
This is not the time to do any soul searching. Instead, it’s a time to lie as much as humanly possible. You may know you’re a highly functioning alcoholic sociopath, but that’s the first step of many when it comes to correcting Patrick Bateman-type behavior. Make up something believable pertaining to your promptness, your desire to meet goals, and your willingness to work in a team, but admit that you do enjoy working alone at times. Throw in a faux nerdy fact about yourself so you seem more human. This will also make the interviewer feel more connected to you. Most importantly, try to remember to not connect the dots between “working alone” and “drinking alone.”
4. Why are you interested in this company?
While saying something like, “For the love of God, I have no idea what this company does but I have student loans and the sodium content in ramen is slowly melting my insides” is the first thing that comes to mind, it’s in your best interest to research the company and outline its greater purpose or means of being. If it’s a soulless corporation, speak to its “driven nature,” and if it’s something more creative, like an ad agency, bring up a past campaign and say how it really affected you to the point where you looked up who created it. Whatever you do, try to tailor your answer to complement your past jobs or education so it’s more believable, you scamp, you.
5. Do you have any more questions?
First and foremost, remember that people love to talk about themselves. Ask the interviewer about his or her own career path, goals, and interests. That will extend the interview a few minutes, and the more face time you get, the better. You can ask about salary range, but don’t make it the obvious priority in your conversation. Be sure to bring up pertinent questions about what the company culture is like, and stress less about how many hours you plan on working a week or if you can remotely work in your underwear to the cathartic sound of “Breaking Bad” reruns. Pretend to enjoy yourself and hide the fact that you’re upset you just wasted the past 20 minutes of your life on something that didn’t involve a pounder of PBR and Mom’s banana bread.