It’s that time of year when Georgetown seniors are going on job interviews and trying to secure gainful employment for life after college. As someone who has endured rigorous interviews at top financial institutions like Merrill Lynch, I would like to share these helpful tips with you job-seekers out there so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
1. On your way to the interview, do not nervously eat seventeen street-vendor hot dogs. Hot dogs are delicious, and everyone knows it; but there is a time and a place for eating hot dogs, especially seventeen of them. Showing up to Merrill Lynch reeking of meat and meat-related burps won’t help your chances of securing a position in the Junior Analyst Program. The ketchup you spilled on your shirt and that quarter-sized spot of mustard on your cheek won’t help either.
2. Always make sure to wear pants to the interview. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “how could I possibly forget to wear pants?” Well, my friend, when you’re concentrating on seventeen delicious hot dogs, you tend to forget about little details like pants.
3. Keep your passion for hot dogs to yourself. Listen, everyone loves hot dogs – plain and simple. They’re awesome, and the interviewer knows that as well as you do. But, as your therapist will tell you, some places are unsuitable for expressing that sentiment, and your interview at Merrill Lynch is one of those “unsuitable” places. (Note: introducing yourself as “O-S-C-A-R” is not a good ice-breaker, and is also “inappropriate.”)
4. Do not awkwardly try to french kiss the interviewer when you meet him. He is not gay, and this can make the rest of the meeting uncomfortable.
5. Avoid crying during the interview. The Merrill Lynch Junior Analyst Program is all about confidence, and weeping hysterically just doesn’t convey self-assurance. The urge to cry may be overwhelming when the interviewer inquires about “all the hot dog business,” so if you absolutely must weep, then do so in a businesslike fashion. Also, make sure you do not hide under your chair (this can be embarrassing).
6. Do not retrieve the hot dog you are hiding from your suit pocket during the interview. You were saving that for later. Eating it during the interview is not only bad etiquette, but you also deprive yourself of your after-interview snack. However, if you must eat the hot dog, make sure to offer your interviewer a bite.
7. When asked “what the hell is the matter with you,” wipe the tears and ketchup/mustard from your face and refer to relevant skills acquired from your past internships and academic experiences.
8. If the interviewer becomes angry, remain calm. If you’re like me, loud noises confuse you, so if the interviewer confronts you and threatens to call security, just remain under your chair where it’s safe. Now would be a good time to eat that hot dog if you have not done so already.
9. When security arrives to escort you out, do not resist, and try to avoid dropping what is left of your hot dog. If you drop it, you will regret it later.
10. Finally, make sure to thank the interviewer for his or her time and send a polite follow-up email within two days.