Job interviews can be quite stressful for music school graduates, but taking the time to properly prepare for your interview can greatly increase your chances of landing a suitable position.
Getting Ready for a Job Interview
When going to a job interview, conservative dress is usually best. It is understood that music school attracts creative people, but the business environment calls for a more understated look than what you might wear performing on stage or going out with your friends. Keep tattoos and piercings covered, stay away from revealing clothing, and stick to simple accessories. A traditional business suit might be too formal for a music job, but dress slacks, nice shoes, and tailored shirts in classic colors such as white, light blue, or gray are always appropriate.
Being late for a job interview makes a poor impression, regardless of the reason for your delay. If your interview is in the morning, set your alarm clock for 30 minutes earlier than normal to give yourself time to prepare and to eat a proper breakfast. If you’re interviewing for a job in an unfamiliar city, take the time to map out a route to your destination before the day of your interview-including an alternate route to take in case of excessive traffic, road construction, or other delays. Common Interview Questions
Although each job is different, there are still some general questions that you can expect to be asked during an interview. Preparing answers to these questions ahead of time can help you feel more confident during the interview process.
- How has your music school education prepared you for this position?
- What are your biggest strengths? What are your biggest weaknesses?
- What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
- How would you handle a disagreement with a coworker?
- Describe a time where you made a mistake at work. Is there anything you would have done to handle the situation differently?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Why are you interested in working for our company?
- Why are you the best person to hire for this position?
In addition to preparing answers to the questions above, you may also want to spend some time thinking about your personal musical style and musical influences. If you were asked to bring recordings to the interview, be ready to discuss each song individually.
While the traditional job interview involves the applicant talking to one person who will make the hiring decision, this format is becoming less common each year. Many music school graduates will find that they are interviewed by several different people in succession or interviewed by a committee of people in one meeting. Although some companies will notify you of this interview format ahead of time, others will not. It is best to be prepared for a committee interview so that you will not be caught off guard by a change in plans. After the Interview
After your job interview, it is a good idea to send a thank you note to reaffirm that you are still interested in the position. Although a handwritten note is best, it is acceptable to send an email if you are worried that a note won’t arrive in time for the hiring decision.