OPPS #ONSCENE about: How to Interview in the Arts
You spent hours prepping the perfect resume, and you spell-checked your cover letter 30 times over. Now, you have an interview for your dream job, internship, or program! And, if you're anything like me, this is when the horror begins to set in.Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make the whole process as smooth and stay confident no matter how tricky the questions get..
1. Prepare, but don't memorize.
If there's one thing that theatre people feel comfortable doing - it's memorizing! However, memorizing what you are going to say in an interview can be pretty risky,since it's usually impossible to know just what you'll be asked or how it will be asked. Instead of trying to stick to a script, try writing down bullet points of big ideas you want to cover during the conversation. If you have some of those anchors to refer to, you should avoid getting lost no matter what pops up.
2. Get there early, BUT not too early.
The possibility of getting screwed by traffic or the unreliable public transport, *cough cough* NYC, is a very legitimate thing to keep in mind as you prep for your interview. It's a safe bet to leave a bit early earlier than you normally would, even for commutes you think you know are quick. But, leaving too early can also put you in the awkward position of having to wait around for a long time once you've arrived, potentially psyching yourself out in the process. Leaving 15-20 minutes earlier than usual tends to be the sweet spot for a commute to an interview.
3. Dress as your best self (whatever that means for you).
Luckily, in the arts, there's no one right way to dress for an interview. It's all about what makes you feel like you're presenting your best self. If you’re not sure what that means. Blog post coming soon on what to wear…
4. Do your research!
One way to really impress your interviewer is to show that you've done some real research about the organization. A thorough read of an organization's website will usually give you plenty of information. That being said, don't just list off facts that you found on Wikipedia…Try to relate these facts to your own career goals and interests.
5. The Follow Up: Be respectful and enthusiastic :)
It's always good to send a follow up email soon after the interview, simply thanking your interviewer for taking the time to talk to you. Mentioning anything besides that tends to be a bad idea, unless you find yourself in a situation where you will require a final answer to make a time sensitive decision - like being between two opportunities, for instance. Remember that these decisions can take time, and the last thing you want to do is come off as pushy or bothersome!
Now, get out there and nail that interview!