Nailing A Job Interview – I Swear It’s Easy

March 20, 2018

Do you remember that Sarina Russo College ad? The one with that ear wormy jingle “How to get that job” with Sarina speaking to camera ‘I was a legal secretary fired nine times!’

Whenever I’m asked to sit on a job interview panel – which for some reason happens quite regularly – that jingle pops into my head. I recently had a job interview myself (but more on that later).One of the fabulous things about the intramanet is that you can Google everything including “How to prepare for a job interview” which is handy when you’re getting ready to face to firing squad/panel.

Now, I haven’t read every article on how to prepare for a job interview but I wouldn’t have thought that you would need to include on any list ‘do not swear’ but apparently you do.

I was on a panel just before Christmas and one of the applicants swore – not just once – but numerous times throughout the interview. It went like this:

Panel: “Can you tell us about a time when you managed a difficult situation between your staff and senior management?”

Applicant: “Yes I can. I once managed a team that the senior execs thought was shit. But the team wasn’t shit; before I started managing them they hadn’t had strong leadership, which was a huge factor in other people thinking they were crap. To be fair though, they were a bit shit to start with but they did improve. ”

I was a bit taken aback by the casual use of the word shit in this context. Surely there are still places and situations where you know it’s not appropriate to swear. I can think of a few; in front of parents, elderly people, and children, members of the clergy or any Royal family, at any religious service or ceremony, at any large public gathering and in a job interview. Remember last year when Channel Ten reporter Tegan George was at the Jeff Horn fight at Suncorp with two girlfriends and they were harassed for hours by three awful Bogans? That started with the use of bad language and then escalated.

I use bad language I’m sorry to say. Often in this very column! But I was shocked to hear the job applicant swear, as were the other panellists. After she concluded her interview, we all looked at each other and one of the panel members said, “Do you think she realised we weren’t at the pub watching the footy?”

Maybe it’s society’s fault because we all swear so much more now. My friend recently had a huge fight with her partner and he raised her swearing as something that bothered him. She said she was genuinely shocked. When I asked her if she did swear a lot she said she probably did but didn’t really notice it.

A former partner of mine’s mother had a swear jar in her kitchen. True. BUT she did live on a property and the many men who worked on the place did swear like sailors and there were multiple grandkids running around. She made a tonne of cash and put the money towards the grog for the annual neighbourhood Christmas party.

I’ve taken on a new role recently and I love it! I had an interview which went well (I didn’t swear) I know this because I was given the job. But I didn’t get off to great start the morning of the interview.

I was nervous so got there so early the building wasn’t open. As I waited out the front a bird crapped on me (which interestingly EVERYONE said was good luck) all down the front of my navy shirt.

Fortunately I had my Back Up Outfit in the car for just such a moment. When I got out of my interview, the lady on reception asked me what kind of car I drove – I told her. “Ohhhhhhh, right. It was you then,” she said grimacing. I’d parked in the CEO’s car park. It didn’t have a reserved sign on it, but everyone in the entire organisation knew that where he parked. Whoops.  

The moral of the story being enough things can go wrong that are beyond your control. Do what you can to minimise your own risk and wear something you feel great in. That helps in any situation as does a smile.

Best of luck to all of you going for a job.

Alexandria Bernard on BloggerAlexandria Bernard on Twitter
Alexandria Bernard
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.

Alex's voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.