(Closed) need advice on super intimidating job interview

posted 6 years ago in Career
Post # 3
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

First of all well done on geting so far and good luck for tomorrow!

You have already done so well getting through the telephone interview as they can sometimes be harder than the face-face interview itself!

Firstly, try not to think of them as a ‘swanky’ organisation as that will intimidate you. Remember the work any company does is just as important to that company itself, regardless of what it is they do. As you have lots of experience in the field you are being interviewed in remember to refer to past experiences you have had and have examples ready of times when certain things have worked well for you.

In regards to the interviewers, try not to let their job title get to you, treat them as politley and courteously as you would anyone else.

Wear something smart and that makes you feel good. It does not have to be a matching suit. A formal dress with tights and heels or smart trousers with a nice blouse / shirt is perfectly acceptable for an interview.

I would not explain your allergies unless you have a sneezing fit in the middle of the interview and then just apologise and continue the interview. If you dont make a big deal out of it neither will they.

I think the fact that you are already mindful of the ‘filler’ words will help you avoid them so please dont worry.

Remember these guys are aware everyone is nervous in interviews, it shows they care about the job and so they will make allowances for these nerves.

I hope this helps and again, Good luck for tomorrow, let us know how it goes!

Post # 4
1701 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

First, be respectful but not intimidated. They will want to see that you can handle high profile people professionally. Rehearse your interview answers so they are concise and to the point. Friendly is good but don’t be overly chatty. On a daily basis, work to eliminate ummmm, you know, and like from your vocabulary.

Your gray jacket and pants are probably fine, but make sure they are clean, pressed and have an appropriate business-like top. No cleavage.

Pull yourself together and go buy a pair of closed toe shoes. Open toes are not appropriate for a job interview in most professions, certainly not academia. I could probably deal with peep toes, but not if they were a cheap or trendy style. Men are really conservative thinkers about proper dress.

Other accessories should be pretty simple and non- distracting.

My advice to anyone would be to invest in a good quality, basic suit (either skirt or pants), conservative (not old lady) pumps and a couple tops. “they better be OK” doesn’t work here. You applied for this job, so you were hoping for an interview yet you didn’t have time for the right shoes or a suit?

I am 2 levels below the E. I interview 2-10 people weekly. I do make allowances for nerves and clothing budgets but first impressions count. Make sure you have tissues in your pockets in case your allergies act up.

Good Luck!

Post # 5
5405 posts
Bee Keeper

I would not wear open toed shoes to an interview. A very fashionable interviewer may think they’re acceptable, but the vast majority of executives won’t. I wouldn’t worry about having a suit, but I would wear the most formal work clothing you have, if you can’t get anything new. 

Don’t try to think of them as intimidating and swanky. Just act the way you would at any job or interview. Professional, but friendly and personable. 

Regrding the allegies, I wouldn’t say anything unless you need to because you have a sneeze attack. Take some Claritin or whatever works for you before hand. Good luck!

Post # 6
1629 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

Grey pants and jacket should be fine, entirely depends on what they look like. I would wear a plain white shirt.

Open toes shoes are not okay. If they wouldn’t let you wear it on the job do not go to the interview wearing it.

I would drug up, bring my own tissue and hand sanitizer, and explain nothing unless I started sneezing. Then I would say “I think I must be coming down with something” and apologize. 

“does anyone have any advice on how to avoid saying stupid things like “um” and “you know” and stupid filler words that make me sound stupid?” Just don’t do it. It’s better to take a minute to pull your thoughts together before responding or say “let me just think about that” before opening your mouth again.

Post # 7
82 posts
Worker bee

First, congrats for landing the interview! It sounds like a great job.

Second, I agree with the others in regards to the necessity of closed-toed heels. Run out to Payless or DSW and find a cheap pair of black closed-toed heels. Shove them in the closet and take them out only for interviews.

I agree with @GreenDream that pausing before you speak helps you avoid filler words. Another tip comes from my dad who taught me to say “That’s a very good question” before responding if I was caught off guard by an interview question or didn’t know what to say. It gives you a chance to pause and gather your thoughts for a decent answer while flattering their interview skills.

Try praticing with someone you trust beforehand so you have an idea of what skills and experiences you want to convey during the interview. The more specific related examples you have from the past, the stronger candidate you will be.

Don’t worry about the university’s prestige or the interviewers’ job titles. If you couldn’t do the job, they wouldn’t invite you to interview. Go prove them right. 🙂

Post # 8
1358 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I’m also an admin assistant! I work for a CEO, and I interviewed with several people all at once. I think what makes me popular with my boss is that I always overdress, and I try really hard to come off confident and relaxed. If you can pull that off, even if it’s a facade, you’re usually in.

The one thing I’m really conscious about when I interview is fidgeting. I just lay my hands in my lap so I don’t mess with my hair or anything. If you don’t know what to say, just let there be a pause…it doesn’t sound as weird as it feels, I promise. Oh, and if you don’t know the answer to a question, just be honest and say “I’m sorry, I don’t know much about that.” Lying or trying to make yourself sound more knowledgable can kill an interview really fast.

Post # 9
1956 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School

RELAX!!!! I think that’s probably the key to doing well in an interview, so try to take deep breaths and be your awesome, friendly, smart, together, competent self!

Unfortunately, I do agree with PP that closed-toed shoes are a must 🙁

And, as others said, take a moment to think before you answer questions, be succinct but give details regarding your prior experiences that would make you a qualified candidate for the position.  Be friendly, ask questions (maybe have a few questions in mind before the interview) and take an interest in everyone you meet.

Also, don’t be intimidated just because CMU is ‘fancy’, I attend and work at Columbia University, which is a pretty prestigious university and behind the scences, it can sometimes be a completely disorganized and untogether place, just like every organization out there…

I’m sure you are a kick-ass admin and they would be lucky to have you!

Post # 11
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Yay! Congratulations!!!!!!! 🙂

Post # 12
1855 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2013


Post # 13
911 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012


Post # 14
1249 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 1992

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!  Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I second trailmix: you will probably be in awe the first week or two, and then you’ll realize, Shoot, this place is so freaking disorganized!  This would never fly in the corporate world!!!  I’m an Assistant II at a very prestigious university in southern CA, and that’s how I feel ALL THE TIME. 

Enjoy your new job!!!!

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