Okay, O Brilliant resource of all knowledge–I need advice.

My sister-in-law is trying to find a job. A basic, subsistence level job, not a hard-to-get job, just a job, job. Doesn’t have to be a career. Just needs to pay rent. Hollywood Video would work. Anything.

She’s in Oregon, which has an economy that’s so far in the toilet, it’s headed out to sea.

On the strength of a resume I prepared for her, James tells me, she’s gotten a number of interviews, but has evidentally not managed to acquit herself well at this particular stage. She needs advice on interviewing. She’s working uphill on this one, because she looks about fourteen, which may be an advantage in dating, but a disadvantage when trying to convince someone to hire you for a position of responsibility. I have already advised that she dress as maturely as possible, but still, one strike against her right out of the gate.

And now we get into the “answering questions” bit. And I find I have no advice at all.

See, my grasp of improv bullshit is purely instinctive. I never prepared for an interview in my life, I just strolled in and took them, and with very few exceptions (such as the one where I had to like children), got the job. I’m pretty good with language, and I can answer questions on the fly, and I have the armored confidence of a rhino ambling across the veldt. This is not to my particular credit, I hasten to add, this is a result of upbringing and heredity and what all, but unfortunately I can’t really coach someone else in how to do it, because I never thought about it. This is fine for me, but crappy for telling someone else HOW to interview. You can’t just say “Okay, be good at thinking on your feet, and have a big vocabulary.” That doesn’t help. (And of course, I am now totally out of the interview loop, so there’s a skill wasted, along with my mastery of the standardized test.)

So! O readers, who may know much more, have you any advice on interviewing, on good answers for interview questions, or anything remotely related? I appeal to you! What works for you? And if you’re the sort of person who GIVES interviews, what is an immediate death knell, and what’s a good idea?

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