Heya guys! It feels like I’ve been blogging for a while but I haven’t really talked much about my work. I am one of those blogging while 9-5 kind of people, which explains my inconsistency posting. Some weeks I just simply have no energy or time left, but I am working on it. Right now I am working with trading in one of the biggest banks in Sweden. I started as an intern 2 years ago and been there since then. The work itself is not the most exciting thing, but working together with a group of delightful people has its charm. The workplace also offers chances to new opportunities to learn and challenge, which is very important to me. Last week we got a chance to ‘Blind Date’ with people with any foreign backgrounds (mostly refugees with economy education or experiences), and it was such an eye-opening experience to me.
This event is very similar to how I got into the bank from the beginning. The state’s employment services ‘arbetsförmedlingen’ is always arranging events to help people find jobs. A few years ago there were a lot of unemployed young people, me being one of them. They hooked me up with an internship as a customer services in the bank, and I got in on the second try. But little did I know, I was introduced to another interview 4 days later to the Trade Finance department and yes, I got the job, since I was already working at the bank, technically. So basically I was the applicants two years ago, but now I will be meeting our potential new interns. That’s why I was so excited to interview and get to know all those people with different backgrounds.
It was interesting and exciting, and I definitely learned a few things for my next job interview. However, the event was not nearly as pleasant as I thought it would be. Hats off to you who read CV and interview people on a daily basis. I think it’s an appropriate blog post to share my tips for job searching and interview, and also passive aggressively rant about what I didn’t like the event.
So here are my 5 honest tips for your next interview. I’m not gonna give you the basic ‘arrive in time’, ‘dress to impress’ and ‘no bone-crushing handshake’ kind of things because if you’re here, I assume the internet already told you about that part.
Keep it interesting, please.
Because firstly, the chances the interviewer will remember you is not that high. They read through and meet a lot of people with similar education, backgrounds and interests. If you can’t get their attention and communicate in a personal level, I’m afraid that’s end of the story. I don’t mean you have to impress, we invited you in to get to know you better, so don’t be shy. And secondly, because if you don’t keep it interesting, I’m going to start to think about how uncomfortable I am because I have to sit straight, how badly I need to pee and how my bra is killing me.
Confidence is great, but don’t act like you are better than others.
Maybe being humble is an unwritten social rule in Sweden, but I actually think it applies everywhere for a job interview. Of course I am delighted to see someone being confident and ambitious, but please stop talking about yourself as if you know better than us. Macho culture isn’t appreciated as much as you think and we now question if you can be a team player. Instead, be patient, considerate and do not try to dominate the conversation just because you are so eager to get the job.
Don’t treat the interview opportunity as a free therapy session.
This is one of the things I noticed people do and it totally breaks my heart. I know, those people have been through a lot, moving from countries to countries and trying to settle down. It was amazing to get to know their story in a very personal way, and I do want to give them a big hug to make them feel better. But I don’t think sympathy is going to land you the job. It’s absolutely awful to hear that your life was meaningless until you became a mother, but after years raising kids there isn’t much left for your career. But wouldn’t it be better if we can talk about that after you get your job, by being optimistic, showing you are able to learn and take responsibility.
If that isn’t the case though, and it’s totally understandable, I think my honest suggestion is to start working with something you’re familiar with, such as taking care of children, helping out in grocery stores. That way you can build up some confidence and know your strength.
Be genuine and don’t try to fool anybody.
We all do research before the interviews, and read about how to give a good first impression or what are the best answers to tricky interview questions. But don’t forget, we as interviewers also was searching for a job once upon a time, and we probably read about the same suggestions. It doesn’t feel right for me that applicants talk about him or herself according to instructions on the internet. We want to know the real you, what you are all about and to see if we can work together. And please be honest about your answers, I know it sometimes works when you ‘fake it till you make it’, but if you confidently say yes when asked about a specific finance term, we will want to discuss it further with you. If we find out you actually don’t know anything about it, we will get suspicious about what else you may be ‘faking’. So please speak truly about what you know and avoid that awkward moment.
Careful what you joke about.
You can disagree with me because everybody should be able to joke about whatever they want, that’s their freedom, of course. Everybody knows sexism and racism jokes are a big no-no in job interviews, but I thought it’s also common sense to not joke about and your bum being fat. I mean come on! What do you think we would response to that? We genuinely don’t care the size of you as long as you get along with the group and get work done. Your insecurity about your body is not something we want to know about you at this moment. Another tip, if you need to describe somebody, stay to the neutral descriptions such as hair color and length, height of the person and personality. Again, as an intern in the banking industry, I don’t think anybody cares about the size of your bum unless if can calculate interest rates.
Those are my honest tips after my very first interviewing experience. I hope they will help you with your next interview, or to better understand the process from interviewers perspective. Good luck!