I learned the hard way that there is more to an interview than just answering questions; interviews are full of social norms like punctuality and shaking hands. So that others may learn from my mistakes, I have broken down some of the less obvious complexities of the standard interview.
1. Don't Apply Drunk
I find that the problem with applying drunk is not bad grammar or spelling mistakes, but rather poor judgment when it comes to qualifications and an inability to remember what you actually applied for. I discovered during one recent interview that I had applied for a pre-med program in Chile and listed as my qualifications my familiarity with WebMD and over the counter decongestants.
If worst comes to worst and you wake up one morning with a hangover and a conformation email—show up drunk to the interview. You will want to be in the same mind-set as when you applied so that you remember what you applied for; it's a psychology thing.
2. Make Sure the Interview is in English
Or that you know the language you are being interviewed in.
Turns out that when I am put on the spot I loose the ability to conjugate verbs. Why do I want to live in Chile? To learn, to live, to teach…
Another useful tip: remember nouns. The list of farm vocabulary you learn in 9th grade can only do so much for your interview—unless you want to work on "el campo," which, if anyone asks, I do.
3. Have a Question Ready
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions at the end of the interview, always say yes. Even if you don't have real questions, showing interest and the ability to create inflection in conversation is critical. If you are at a loss for questions, ask your interviewer where she bought her pantsuit, or what time it is.
In my case Qué hora es?