It's more nerve-wracking than a first date, your French AP final or hitting that clutch free throw in the playoffs: the big job interview. You know (okay you think) you're qualified, the gig sounds awesome and there's no way they'll find someone better than you to fill the position.
But then there's, you know, the actual sitting across from your potential boss and not sounding like a mess when he or she asks you what your strengths are. "I'm decisive?"
But there's hope for you in the form of MTV's latest "Rock Your Brain" video, "Nail That Interview." Sit back, relax and take a few notes as expert James Citrin, author of "The Career Playbook," walks you through the process and offers some seriously helpful tips on locking it down.
"Interviewing is one of the most important life skills out there," Citrin says. "Most people expect that the way to do that is to answer the question that the interviewer asks." But, unfortunately, it takes way more than that. The more important skill is to weave those questions into a story, a narrative that gives the interviewer a sense of who you are and what you're about.
Citrin says that people tend to make a decision in the first few minutes, so make sure you come out of the gate with crisp, clear answers that feel honest and comprehensive. If, for instance, you're a photographer trying to get a digital media gig and you're asked for your strengths and weaknesses, instead of saying you work hard, are good with people and just love taking pictures, but are not great with numbers or technology, try this:
"Number one, I've go all the technical skills of photography, but what I've been told separates me from everybody is is my ability to relate to my subjects," he suggests, adding that giving an example of a successful project you've completed will drive that message home. And while you might not know how the company's coding process works now, you'll commit to learning it.
The fact is it's a really tough job market out there for millennials, with people born in the 1980s and 1990s expected to make up nearly 50% of the workforce by 2020, meaning the competition is tight and good jobs are going to continue to be hard to find. But, this generation is also one of the most tech-savvy and confident ones in history, so keep that in mind when you're sending those resumes out.
"If there's nothing else that you prepare for, prepare for the question, 'Do you have questions for me?'" he says. "They're looking for the opportunity to see how you think, how much homework you've done, how insightful you are. That is your chance to differentiate yourself from everybody else who thinks the interviewer is just being polite."