Fight Club, the nihilistic book and movie based on the problems of the early 2000s became a pop-culture staple as memorable as a pink bar of soap made out of body fat. Tyler Durden became the voice of a generation and introduced America to three important things:
- 1) Brad Pitt’s abs
- 2) The idea that you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake
- 3) The eight rules of Fight Club
Concerning number three, most people are pretty familiar with the first two rules, but the other six seem to get lost between The Narrator writing haikus during work and Marla Singer stealing clothes out of washing machines. Not only are the eight rules great material to quote from in everyday life (try it sometime), they can be manipulated to be beneficial in all kinds of situations. Today, you’re getting the eight rules for a customized, University of Miami Toppel Career Center sponsored Fight Club.
Welcome to Interview Fight Club.
The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.
If you are a member of a real fight club or you go bar dancing on the weekend, the interviewer does not want to hear that. Do not talk about things that are irrelevant to the interview. Although one of your great passions in life may be collecting every color Mardi Gras bead in existence, unless you can tie that into the changing landscape of the New York Stock Exchange and how the amount of alcohol you consume over the weekend is correlated with the rising price of crude oil imports from the Middle East, don’t talk about it. Better yet, don’t even think about it around the time of your interview.
The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!
Welcome to the 21st Century, “talking” now consists of more than over sharing personal information in public. Talking now consists of Facebook postings, tweets, blog postings, and all other forms of online interaction. As much as you think your Facebook is private, it isn’t. Everything is public and nothing is truly deleted. To be on the safe side, just keep your wild, weekend escapades off of Facebook and every other form of social networking in existence.
Third rule of Fight Club: if someone yells "stop!,” goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over.
Most interviewers are polite. If you ramble or say an “um” or “uh” every once and a while, chances are they won’t attack you for it. The problem comes when you reach the end. There are many triggers for ending an interview; some are “have a nice day,” “good seeing you,” “thanks for coming,” etc. When you receive one of these cues, thank the interviewer and leave. Do not try to give a better answer to a question asked 20 minutes ago. The interview is over. Your time is done. Think about what you’re going to have for dinner and the thank you note you need to be sending.
Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight.
As much as you love your friends and family, there is no reason to bring them to an interview. The interviewer does not need to meet your mother, your grandfather, your baby cousin or any other part of your family tree. If you need moral support, bring a Beanie Baby or stress ball, not your five year old cousin. Trust me, nothing good will come of bringing extra people with you. (As a side note, if your moral support is a Beanie Baby leave it in the car. Don’t be weird.)
Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas.
You are not Superman, do not schedule five back-to-back interviews. Even if you are fully prepared for each one, with your bullet point answers written on mental sticky notes, you will get tired. Not even Sasha Fierce could go through the mental and physical strain of consistently being “on” in various scenarios. Your best bet is to spread out your interviews throughout various days. If you really need to knock out a lot of consecutive interviews, try to not schedule more than one a day or at least give yourself a couple of hours between each one.
Sixth rule: the fights are bare knuckle. No shirt, no shoes, no weapons.
Disregard this. Be fully dressed in complete business attire. Yes to shirt. Yes to shoes. Ignore the weapons part. Make sure you have multiple copies of your resume and a pen to write down information. Bonus points for putting your things into a portfolio; you can use a folder, but a portfolio looks more put together.
Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to.
It’s a common belief that the longer an interview goes, the more the interviewer likes you. If an interview ends after only five-minutes, something may have gone wrong (whether it was your fault or not). This is not to say that every successful interview lasts 2-hours. If you have thirty minutes for an interview, and you go those full thirty minutes, chances are you made a good impression. Answer questions in full and elaborate on your experience.
And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.
The most important part of an interview is being prepared. Always research the company and position before going. This does not mean going into the interview and mentioning that you know the company imports its break room coffee from Costa Rica. When gathering background information look for partners of the company, where most employees are recruited from, and more information that is directly related to the position you are interviewing for. Just don’t go overboard and recite your interviewers Twitter timeline back to them in the interview. We’ve already covered the “being creepy” section; don’t return home with a restraining order instead of a job offer. Lastly, have questions prepared and make sure to always be on time.
To be successful in your own “Fight Club training,” Toppel offers two services that are beneficial to your success:
- 1) If you have attended an Interviewing Skills workshop, you have the option of scheduling a one-hour mock-interview with an advisor. The interview is tailored to the position you are applying to and also provides you the opportunity to have it recorded, so you can look over it later.
- 2) Mini-mock interviews are 30-minute interviews done with a member of the peer advisor staff. The interviews are less formal and shorter, but still provide a good opportunity to practice.
Whether you believe in the Fight Club rules or not, interviews are an important part of the job search process and require time and preparation. Preparation should begin the minute you confirm the date and time and you should remain prepared until you write the thank you letter at the end. Use every resource available and just be you. Pay attention and in a couple of weeks you can say, “I am Jack’s newly hired employee.”