I work at an advertising agency and am given the exciting job of sorting through resumes, where I pick out candidates that ‘tick’ the checklist. Generally, a creative and error-free resume, a related degree and some experience in the media and communication industry is what I look for. Being paper-smart, however, will only get you so far. My boss uses the BBQ Test as a rule of thumb to find suitable candidates.

You’re probably thinking ‘A BBQ Test sounds fun, where do you work!?’ While you may picture downing some beers and flipping some snags, it is a term used for being ‘socially adaptable’ in the workplace. In other words, you’ve most likely passed the credentials test and now it’s time to look at you on a personal level. Will your personality ‘fit in’ in the workplace? Would I, the employer, enjoy grabbing a beer with this person? Would they fit in at a work BBQ?

This step is where people often slip up. Many think that their paper self is the perfect candidate yet arrive at the interview a nervous-mess and unprepared.  Being BBQ ready is a lot easier than you might think.

Here are a few tips:

  1.     Be Yourself!

Pretty cliché and straight forward but don’t pretend to be someone you’re not! Let your unique personality shine as all the employer know about you as of right now is the girl with a good GPA and a little experience – the same as every other candidate they’re interviewing.

  1.     Be Prepared!

Be ready for them to delve into your interests and talents. Think ‘What makes me special?’ I know when I am faced with these questions, I am often puzzled and question what I even do with my spare time. A great way to overcome this is to brainstorm a personal elevator pitch- a 30-second spiel about who you are, what you do and why you are a great candidate. This way you’re going to be ready for the daunting questions!

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  1.     Don’t Get Too Hung Up On Your Education

Having a degree is great advantage, but it is not the be-all-end-all. My boss thinks a degree shows commitment as opposed to knowledge and experience. Lightly touch on your education, but focus more on your experiences and how they have shaped you. Remember, they already view you as eligible but they want to see if you’re ‘adaptable’.

Next time you’re facing a daunting interview, take these tips into account. Remember: You have already passed the paper test, now it’s about your personality!

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by Nicola Pappadopoulos