Interview Prep (or Music to Work Out to)

March 11, 2010 at 6:34 pm (Uncategorized)

Yesterday, like thousands of youngish Washingtonians over the years, I had an interview with the USG.  After months of networking, applying, cover lettering, finger crossing, and whining, the (or a) moment arrived.  It was a gorgeous day in Washington as the first sun of spring demanded that I leave my coat behind.  While there are many important things to prep in advance of a job interview my “day of” routine is a bit more superficial.

Ann Taylor suit. 

Yes, folks, this is DC.  Don’t get me wrong, I have an Ann Taylor credit card and find that many of their office clothes are affordable, cute, and work appropriate.  They have fun accessories for those on nonprofit salaries.  Hence, what people call the “DC Ann Taylor uniform.”  And like many others have noted, this city is not exactly the shopping capital of the United States.   I believe one friend dubbed it “the city that fashion forgot.”  But, I am not a fashionista and I didn’t move here from New York for the apparel.  I moved here to chase important and intellectually stimulating work that can pay my bills.  So, for the first interview I believe in fighting power with their version of power. 

Armed in my simple Ann Taylor suit (I decided to leave the pearls at home for fear of overkill or being seen for what I am—a Long Islander pretending to want to be Chesapeake Bay), I made the executive decision to leave my hair not curly, but neatly wavy, as opposed to the full-on straightening process.   Knowing that the fluorescent lights in many government buildings are a bit, er, strong, I applied an extra layer of blush that would hopefully not clash with the faux light.  It was an elusive attempt to balance interesting, yet responsible.  Personality was trying to peek through my buttoned blazer.

But, that’s the superficial stuff.  The real game is psychological.  Like a first date, how exactly do you get in the frame of mind to talk about yourself after numerous rejections?  I find the music I listen to on the walk to the interview holds the key.  It’s no surprise that my personal pre-interview playlist happens to also be my favorite gym mix classics.  Here is a small sample in descending order for anyone out there who needs a timely pep talk or new old music to sweat to. 

  1. Lose Yourself—Eminem’s masterpiece is the ultimate running buddy.  Though I’ve never tried buying diapers with food stamps or been a “father and a prima donna,” I do believe him when he says “success is my only mother f*&^ing option/failure’s not.”
  2. Ali in the Jungle—I’ve already posted how this was my favorite song to come out of the Vancouver Olympics’ commercials.  How can you not get inspired when hearing about the “greatest comeback since Lazarus!”
  3. For Nancy (‘Cos it Already Is)—This old Pete Yorn song is always on my gym playlist–it just makes me run faster– like the artist himself in the video.  “Convince yourself that everything is alright/’Cos it already is…”
  4. 4 Minutes—Madonna and Justin Timberlake help you answer interview questions in appropriate four-minute intervals and “save the world” without missing a beat.

Happy running and interview prepping!

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1 Comment

  1. Dorian said,

    You are killing me! I want to know how the interview went! I know the title of the post is Interview prep, but I still want to know about the interview itself.

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