Job Hunting in a Pandemic (Part 3 of 3)

How Not to Interview

“Just be yourself.”

“Practice, practice, practice.”

“Write answers to all the most common questions.”

“Be curious; make the interview two-way.”

“Focus on them, not you.”

“Imagine your interviewer(s) are naked.”

We’ve all heard these tropes. And like all tropes, they have a kernel of truth. (Except the last one. What kind of pervert does that?)


I think we can all agree that interviews are hard to do. The reason is that no matter how well you prepare yourself, you can’t prepare for the person interviewing you. There are just so many unknowns …

My solution is: pretend you don’t want the job. Go further: pretend the job is the most disgusting puke-inducing purulent thing you ever saw and you’d rather see your family starve than take this job.

I don’t mean be rude. I mean: don’t care too much. Don’t fall in love with a job description. Don’t fantasize how great it will be when you have that job. Don’t tell everybody you know about this ideal job. For God’s sake, don’t start figuring out cool bike commutes to the company which will get you in perfect shape in six months.

Because somehow, they will know it. They will sense your neediness, and that’s not an attractive quality in an employee (or anything else). And frankly, they’ll have already seen 20 people today who are just as needy, so why should they care?

I have never failed to get a second interview for a job I didn’t particularly want.

I think it’s because you become confident (not arrogant) and relax into your best self when you don’t care too much.

I’ve made every mistake in the book. I’ve been unprepared, I’ve not looked closely enough at the description (“Oh, you wanted Organizational Development? Um …”), I’ve had catastrophic techno-failure (I’m looking at you, Skype!). I’ve been late, looked awful, and once I had ketchup on my resume.

Bottom line: there are many things about an interview you can’t control. You can be sure about who you are and what you want, and that’s all.

So relax. It’s just a job. One possible road taken. It’s not the end of the world.

It is, however, STILL A PANDEMIC. So wear your masks! Thank you.

Got any great interview stories?

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison



  1. Jenny Erickson says:

    Hi Andrea,
    What a great blog post. I can definitely see how over exuberance might come across as a lack of confidence- which had not occurred to me before but makes a lot of sense. I think that learning to relax will also help in managing the already emotional toll of job hunting. Thank you for sharing. I love this!

  2. Hi Andrea,
    Your observations here really line up with my experience and ring true to me. I can definitely recall a few unsuccessful interviews where “excited” may have translated into “spastic.” And it seems like every interview I’ve had for a job that I didn’t really care about, I’ve gotten an offer. I’ll keep this in mind next time I’m job hunting. Thanks!

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