Over the past year and a half, I went from desperately looking for a job in New York to interviewing candidates at my company. Weird. After months of sending applications to only score a few interviews, I am finally getting a glimpse – just a tiny glimpse, but still – of the other side of the game.
Based on my job-hunting time in the City and most recent professional experience, here are 5 interview tips that should be helpful anywhere, but vital in New York:
#1 Everyday is an interview
Just because you are not officially at an interview doesn’t mean you’re not being interviewed. As I mentioned in previous posts, New Yorkers struggle with disconnecting from their work life, and while it sucks for them, it’s the perfect opportunity for you! So live your life as if any day could turn into a surprise interview: always dress to impress, and carry a copy of your most up to date resume. People need everything ASAP in New York, and everything could also mean you…so be prepared!
#2 Find Your Mentor
Before even applying to jobs, make sure you have that one special person who will recommend you if need be. If an employer asks about your references during an interview, being able to share a contact with no hesitation goes a long way. Having a mentor means that you must have done something right, whatever it is. When it comes down to picking the perfect candidate, solid references will make the difference.
#3 A positive interview can turn into a negative answer
…and that’s ok! Don’t let a negative answer bring you down and question your interview skills. Just because you nailed the interview part doesn’t mean the job was made for you. Now I know that employers spend lot of time wondering if the candidate would actually be happy at the job. The people hiring you know more about the position itself than you do, so if they decide not to go with you, it doesn’t mean you failed, it means your talent lays somewhere else.
#4 A shitty interview is better than no interview
It’s so hard to even get to the interview phase in a city as competitive as New York that anything is good to take. Especially when you need a visa! Even if you are not really interested in the job you are interviewing for, or your interview didn’t go as planned, the simple fact of getting one is an accomplishment and should keep you motivated. The moral of the story is: never turn down an opportunity because it could open the least expected doors.
#5 Keep an open mind
It’s good to have expectations about an interview and know what you want out of it: an idea of the job, the benefits, the culture of the company…but be aware that it could take a completely different direction. The person you are supposed to meet with could no longer be available, so could be the position you think you are about to interview for. I got my first job in New York by finding out that there were no openings at the agency I was meeting with, but I kept the conversation going and ended up being introduced to another company that was sharing the same open space.
To sum it up, having the right resume is never enough, adapting to any given situation is what will help turn an opportunity into something real. Happy hunting and good luck!