Article by Steve Patterson.

The job interview is one of the most nerve-wracking, gut-checking, my-life-is-in-your-hands moments in life. But it is also a great chance to be at your greatest.

Because every job worth interviewing for (and many that are not) will attract approximately 17,362 candidates (I made this number up) you need to be at your absolute best on interview day. That means looking the part (no food stains on your shirt, even if you are interviewing to be a food critic) speaking with confidence (this doesn’t mean yelling) and most importantly, truly WANTING the job.

You should only interview for jobs that you truly want. Otherwise not only will the interviewer know that you don’t really want the job, they will also be angry at you for wasting their time. Some say that it’s good to go on “practice interviews” for jobs you don’t want until the job you really want is available. Those people are usually unemployed.

So the first step of a job interview is…deciding where you want to interview. Find the job you want with the company you want to work for. Research the hell out of it (this means more than simply “Googling” the company and visiting their website. Go to the company’s headquarters. Find someone who knows someone who already works there and interview him or her. Then, FOLLOW UP with that person, thanking them for their time and asking if it’s alright to check in with them again or better yet to let you know when a chance for the actual interview might open up.

When your chance for the REAL interview comes up (and it will), do as much research on the person interviewing you as you did on the company you want to work for (note: this doesn’t mean stalking the person. There’s a big difference between “persistence” and “criminal prosecution”). There is not an interviewer in the world who doesn’t appreciate a candidate who has done their homework and who can pass on credible compliments. But this doesn’t mean “sucking up”. Only straws appreciate being sucked up to.

As for what to ask for in terms of salary, vacation time, schedule, etc. I have one word of advice: DON’T.

Most of those other 17,361 candidates won’t ask about that in their interviews, so why would you? Just find out what others in your field, with the same level of experience, are being paid and aim for at least that (once you are OFFERED the job).

Now, what are you waiting for? Figure out THE job you want, research the hell out of it, find someone there to talk to and BE THE INTERVIEWER BEFORE YOU BECOME THE INTERVIEWEE.

Finally, if you’re reading this while on the clock at your current job, unless you are self-employed, STOP! Bosses generally don’t like to pay their employees to search for other jobs.

Happy job hunting! Now go show how great you can be!

By Steve Patterson

Best known as Canada’s least moderate debate moderator on CBC’s hit show “The Debaters”, Steve Patterson is a veteran headline comic who has performed across Canada, North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. His material is a combination of off-the-cuff and meticulously crafted, up-to-the-moment social commentary. He’s also been known to break into song.  Patterson is a two time Canadian Comedy Award winner for Best Male Stand-up comic who has appeared at all major Canadian Comedy Festivals including Montreal’s prestigious Just for Laughs Festival. Visit stevepatterson.ca and follow @patterballs