How to bullshit your way through a job interview

All of your failures are just character-building

bullshit Cambridge career Grad Graduate interview job job interview university

Remember that careers class from a few years back?

The one where the terrifyingly enthusiastic recruiter in implausible heels talked about ‘selling yourself’ to potential employers? Well, hopefully it won’t come to having to actually sell yourself (though I’ve heard it’s profitable) but when it comes to making yourself look like the best thing since sliced bread for that tempting grad job, a little bullshit goes a long way.

Just to make it clear, I’m not talking about lying. Saying you speak Spanish when you don’t is just asking for your interviewer to attack you with a torrent of excited español about last night’s Barca game, and then you’re royally screwed. But as someone who’s been working since they were 15, I’m convinced no-one knows what the ‘right answer’ is to some of the questions they ask in job interviews.

What motivates you?

Of course, there are ways of escaping the bullshit mill. CompScis and lawyers can auction off their souls to the City and wipe off their tears of regret with £50 notes. NatScis can open meth labs. And some Cambridge grads can swan off into academia, and avoid the pesky ‘real world’ for a few decades.

But I’m an English student, and Cambridge-related brownie points aside, getting funding for a PhD in ‘Kettles in the Victorian Novel’ is about as likely as a successful GoFundMe for your uncle’s crack addiction.

So, fellow disenfranchised students, we have two options: work in customer service, or learn to bullshit. Whilst customer service is one hell of a ride, up until you go insane (a woman in the coffee-shop I worked in asked to see the manager because her cappuccino was too frothy), I would propose bullshitting – sorry, rhetoric – is the better option. Just remember:

Everything is life experience

“I’ve always adapted well to diverse teams at work” is equal to saying “I was the only atheistic waitress in a Church café, and spent most of my time smiling blankly while old ladies asked me why they hadn’t seen me in church lately”.

But seriously, anything counts as life experience. Even, well, Life. After your weekly trip to Kuda has been and gone, having to bleach vomit out of clothes and stomach jägerbombs may well be invaluable to some jobs. Probably.

The future of our society

You can apply your skills anywhere

“Anticipating that our choice of venue would be divisive, I negotiated with the team to find an alternative venue that would be more accommodating to various tastes”  simply means “I convinced my soc not to go to Curry King for the Michaelmas swap”, and you know it.

Let them fill in the blanks

“I was entrusted early on with training several new employees in the basics of the job, and how to use the equipment” could mean “I was incredibly well-respected in the team, even after only six months”. It could also mean “I had a lazy-as-fuck manager who left me to train the new hires even though I can barely fry eggs”.

Make it official

“I negotiated extra privileges and was granted them” translates to “My supervisor usually didn’t care if I nicked a Coke from the soda refill machine, so long as I didn’t take the piss”.

I worked in the Regal for two months. The requirements were pretty much ‘are you 18’, ‘are you breathing’ and ‘please refrain from nicking the booze’.

Remember what they’re really asking

Question: ‘What makes a good team player?’
What they expect: Decent. Unobtrusive. Won’t ‘forget their wallet’ at work dinner. Will consent to being crapped on if so required.

Question: ‘Why do you want to work here?’
What they expect: In the immortal words of Matthew Inman, “Please spend the next few minutes complimenting me and gargling my company’s balls.”

Question: ‘Where do you see yourself five years from now?’
What they expect: ‘Still here, letting us slowly suck your soul out into the back of your ergonomic computer chair.’

And voila! You’ll be faking your way through adult life in no time.