Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Interview the Musical: Tips For Dancing Through the Interview Process

When I heard the word "Mock Interview" in my Literary Citizenship class, I wished I had a turtle shell to retreat to. It seemed to real world related, so naturally I looked towards musicals to make something serious seem less daunting.

Musicals have always had a powerful affect on me by presenting the hard facts of life through singing and dancing. So, after all was said and done, I decided to turn my experience and tips into a musical to make the whole process seem more manageable. 

1. Act I: Part of Your World (Research)

"What would I give if I could live out of these waters"

Do your research people. If you want to be part of their company, you need to know everything about that "world" you are asking to join. If you don't know "what's a fire" or "why it, what's the word, burns" you best look that up before you walk into the room. 

2. Act II: "I Feel Pretty" (Suiting Up)

"I feel charming, oh so charming. It's alarming how charming I feel!"

This is probably the most important part of your pre-interview process. When you go, you need to "feel pretty." Dress to the nines, people, and be your fabulous selves. Look sleek, sophisticated, put together, but allow for a pop of your personality. Just a few practical tips:

Fake it till you make it, right?
1. Wear your outfit before your interview to make sure you work the kinks of how it sits on you and how you feel in it.
2. Shoes can really make or break your strut, so be extra careful with your selection.
3. An interview is not a time to "debut" anything new. This goes especially for haircuts or fashion choices you are trying out. You need to be comfortable to be confident. So be bold, but only in a ways that you've rocked before.

P.S. Appearance is only a quarter of the battle. Knowing your worth and talents is crucial to being able to talk about yourself. So know how you are "pretty" and own it.

Act III: "Let it Go" (Calming Your Tapping Feet)

"It's time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through."

Is it possible that you could have done more to prepare? More than likely. Dwelling on that in the lobby as your waiting for your name to be called is not the time to be thinking that. When you are going to your interview or waiting for it to begin, accept what you have done. Stop quizzing yourself and regretting what you didn't do. Either you are prepared or you're not, so don't trip yourself up on the things you do know. 

Act IV: "Human" (The Performance)

"Sometimes I get nervous, when I see an open door."

The question of this number, "Are we Human or are we Dancer?", is an important one when you are in the interview. In other words, are you a person or a performer. Yes you are selling yourself in this process, but that merely means showing off your good quality. It does not mean promising features that are not there. 

One of the comments I received when I did my mock interview is that employers love when their candidates are self-aware. Be honest with these people and don't be afraid to be human around them. You can even admit mistakes as long as you show how they have formed you. This will make the conversation seem natural and will even put you at ease.  

Act V: "Make My Dreams Come True" (Thank You's and Victory)

"What I want you've got, and it might be hard to handle"

Hopefully you can prance out of that interview like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer. Afterwards, however, whether it's a victory dance or a face plant, you need to send a thank you note/email to the person who interviewed you. 

But as Mark O' Toole says in his article "Congratulations Graduate! 11 Reasons Why I Will Never Hire You",  use this note to your advantage. Show them how much this experience has affected your desire for the job and reaffirm why you are the best. Let it leave a lasting impression and end your interview process on a good note!

These are the major tips I got from my interview experience and the playlist of how I hope future (real) interviews will go.

I'm curious, do any other musical numbers come to mind when you guys think of your past interviewing experiences? Let me know in comments what I should add to the playlist.  


  1. I really hear you about trying on your interview outfit beforehand-- I noticed the day of that my suit jacket was a little too small, but I had such a hard time finding one that fit even remotely that I just wore it anyway. Did you have a hard time finding interview clothes, or did you do okay?

    1. I luckily was at a goodwill the week before and found an amazing power dress. I wore it to class to make sure I felt comfortable. It wasn't too difficult with me. It was a little shorter than I like, but nothing immodest.

  2. This is a really neat way to think about it. I recently watched Rent, so all I can think of is lighting my resume on fire and throwing it out a window.

    1. One day, when we're rich and famous, we'll be able to do that too.

  3. I can't think of any other songs that should be added to the playlist, but I thought what you had was pretty great! Also I love how you structured this post. It's really great advice. The last act, Act V, is something I wouldn't have thought to include, but it is so important! Now I am wondering if I thanked my interviewer.

    P.S. The picture of you is so cute! I can definitely see you shining through the interview attire, much like you told others to :)

  4. I LOVE how interactive your blog post was! I look up that 500 Days of Summer flash mob all the time. You had a lot of good information and adding on all of the fun parts made interviews overall seem less stressful. Great job!

    1. I think of that scene in 500 Days of Summer every time I'm walking on a sunny day.

  5. Great post, loved the media inclusion/center-piece. Basing all of your advice on musical numbers was an interesting concept. The only song that comes to mind is "I Can Go the Distance" from Hercules. haha. Persevere and take things one step at a time.