Red Flags and Teddy Bears

I have two new interviewing tips for you: do your research and know what your nervous habits are. Today, I had a job interview at the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation. Doing my research really helped me put my best foot forward. As for nervous habits…let’s just say I re-learned something about myself.

There are two good reasons for doing your research. Firstly, if you come prepared and knowledgeable about the company it shows employers that you are willing to make the effort and are serious about the job. Secondly, if you do your research, you will probably find any red flags about the company you are interviewing with. Check sites like yelp or to see what current and former employees of the company have written. When I was checking out a prospective company, I found a review that said this:

“If you leave your desk for anything other than going to the bathroom, you have to send an email to everyone in the office saying how long you’ll be gone and where you’re going. Such as – ‘personal call – 3 minutes,’ ‘coffee run – 5 minutes,’ ‘stretching my legs – 2 minutes.’”

The company replied that they were addressing this policy and that it had “evolved organically.” They’re a public relations company, so I would have thought that they’d come up with a better excuse than that. Anyway, if you look at review sites you can sometimes find the little chestnuts like this before you choose to work somewhere. Exercise caution though. If a review is in all caps, it’s probably best to ignore it.

It also helps to be familiar with your nervous habits before you go into an interview. Today, for instance, I found out that when I’m nervous I start to tell a lot of jokes. This is fine as long as they’re good jokes, otherwise not so much. When my interviewer asked how my friends would describe me, I replied that a high school friend had said I was like a teddy bear with muscles. Luckily, my interviewer laughed, but it was a good thing the session ended before I got around to asking her why the chicken didn’t cross the road. Answer: Because he was chicken.

So do your research. Know thyself and thy prospective company. If you do that, you should be fine. Unless anything really terrible happens like the building catching fire or something, in which case you’re not fine—you should probably reschedule.

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About lmcginnis

I'm a senior here at UPS . I'm working towards an English major and a Spanish minor. I love any kind of creative writing; I'm president of the Writers Guild. I'm working on completing my thesis, a novella titled "Like Butterflies." It's about a witch-figure who can take away people's memories. In my free time, I like to practice karate and read Agatha Christie.