Applying for a job and preparing for an interview might be intimidating. However, part of that fear might come from inadequate preparation. It’s our own responsibility to work on our weaknesses and try and make them our strengths.

It’s OK if we need a little help, though. This is where the award-winning documentary director and editor Erin McGoff comes in.

The NYC-based filmmaker makes videos on TikTok ranging from “3 things you should never do when applying for a job” to “how to answer the most irritating interview question ever”, explaining the dos and don’ts candidates should be aware of.

Erin is passionate about democratizing access to career advice and being a friendly face to newcomers in the film industry, but her advice is useful to people pursuing other professions too!

More info: erinmcgoff.com | TikTok

Why should we hire you?

@erinmcgoffthere are tons of different ways to answer, but I love this formula 👌 #careertiktok #tiktoktaughtme #jobinterview #interviewtips♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Don’t:

– I don’t know, you posted the ad saying you need someone and now I’m here. – not a real answer

– You should hire me for my skills, experience, and personality. – too rehearsed, vague

– I will work harder that ANYONE ELSE you’re considering. – too short, not specific

Do:

That’s a great question. As you can see on my resume I have all the hard skills you’re looking for in a candidate. 

I have 10 years of editing experience, I know how to produce, and I have a degree in marketing. – hard skills

But I also have the soft skills you need for this job. I’m a team player, collaborator, clear communicator and I have a sense of humor. – soft skills

I’ve been following this company for a while now, and I know that you’ve been looking for someone who can take ownership of this role. I have ideas that I think will help this company reach its short term and long term goals. And I would love the opportunity to share them with the team! – unique value you bring

What is your greatest strength? (aka how self-aware and modest you are)

@erinmcgoffthis question is alllll about gauging your self-awareness! 💪 #careertiktok #jobinterview #tiktoktaughtme #interviewtips♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Don’t:

– Ummm… I don’t know. Nothing comes to mind. – unprepared

– Well I’m really good at making money. I have a lot of money and I’ll make this company a lot of money. – cocky

– I’m really really good at what I do. When you hire me today, you won’t regret it. – vague, arrogant

Do:

I think one of my greatest strengths is my ability to focus. I’m really grateful that I’ve always had the ability to focus. – humble, prepared

And it contributes to my ability to consistently meet deadlines. – how does is manifest?

Something I’ve been told in the past is that I have a really good attitude and I inspire those around me to be more creative. – relevant, soft skills, specific

I’ve had previous managers tell me that I’m dependable. They can always count on me to get the job done right and on time. – confident

What is your greatest weakness?

@erinmcgoffReply to @ssa.brook.pascal you can name anything as long as it’s honest & you’re taking tangible steps to better yourself ❤️ #careertiktok #jobinterview #fyp♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Don’t:

I work too hard, I care too much, and I sometimes am too invested in my job. – not really a weakness, try sticking to 1 thing, doesn’t talk about working to fix it

Do:

Something I’m working on right now is just my general confidence. I tend to have a lot of anxiety when it comes to public speaking or giving presentations. Honestly, even in this interview I’m feeling a little bit of anxiety. 

So something that I’ve done in the past year is I’ve joined a public speaking group, where we practice speaking in front of each other. and that’s been really helping me with my confidence and with my presentation skills. –  a true “weakness”, honest, authentic, quickly talks about how its being addressed, update

Things you shouldn’t say in a job interview

@erinmcgoffI could do a billion of these 🤪 #careeradvice #dontsweatit #careertiktok #tiktoktaughtme #learnontiktok #jobinterview #interviewtips♬ Coffee Music – Cafe Music BGM channel

If you’re late:

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Don’t:

Omg I am so sorry I’m late, the subway was delayed and I couldn’t find a cab lol, I’m so sweaty

Do:

Hi Jen, I am so sorry I’m late. I know being on time is important & this interview is a priority for me. This is so out of character and I thank you for waiting

Explaining a gap in your résumé:

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Don’t:

Yeah I didn’t go to college after senior year, I got really addicted to smoking weed and got super unmotivated..

Do:

In 2018, I had some things transpire in my personal life that made me have to step back from work for a little bit. But I’m happy to be feeling 100% again and excited to tackle my next challenge! 

If they ask you a question that you are unprepared for:

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Don’t:

Ummm, gimme a second… I did not… I did not think you were gonna ask me this question… 

Do:

Hmm, that’s a great question! Would you mind if I took a moment to think about my answer and we could come back to it?

Why do you want to work here?

@erinmcgoffdon’t talk about yourself—talk about the company! 🙊 #jobinterview #careertiktok #producer #internship #filmschool♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Don’t:

I guess I just always wanted to be a producer. Ever since I was young I’ve always been obsessed with working like behind the scenes, working on commercials with different brands. You guys have won so many different awards, I just think it would be so awesome to work for you – self-centered, unspecific, unspecific, sounds naïve, too many fillers

Do:

There’s so many reasons. First of all, I’ve been following years and I’m just a huge fan of the work you put out. I particularly love this campaign for 2019, and also this campaign from earlier this year. I love how creative, yet accessible it was, I bet that was very successful for your client. I’ve also spoken to a few people who work here, and I feel as though I’d fit in with the culture really well. I also really resonate with the company’s mission to create top working content. And from my past experiences, I think I have the perfect skill set to fulfill the duties of this job. – humble flattery, show you did research, specific, flex connections you have, talk like you already work there, talk about past experience and how that led you here. 

@erinmcgofffollow this formula to nail this question 💥💥💥 #jobinterview #careertiktok #lifehack #filmschool #fyp♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre

Tell me about yourself

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Don’t:

Umm.. OK well I.. I’m from X and my dad always wanted me to go to business school, even though I really wanted to go to film school, which was annoying. So.. I ended up going to X university because my dad said he’d pay for it, so I went and I was in the sorority and that was really fun, so yeah.. And I ended up here, so.. I hate my boss, so looking for a change – unprepared, too personal, negative, too general, mumbling

Do:

Well, I’m from X, I went to X University, and I graduated in 2017 with a major in business and a minor in media and communications. And then after college I moved to New York city, where I now work as an acquisitions manager HBO, which I totally love. But I’m looking to pivot to more of a boutique agency, where I could have a smaller team and more creative freedom – talking about past, present, and future

Things you should never do when applying for a job

@erinmcgoffIf you think your resume/cl don’t have typos, go check again! 🥲 #careeradvice #careertiktok #interviewtips #learnontiktok #resume #edutok♬ Oh No – Kreepa

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Send your resume as anything but a .pdf

Never send your resume as anything but a .pdf unless they state otherwise. No word documents, no screenshots, no illustrator files

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Not follow up 

Always follow up after a job interview. It doesn’t have to be immediately, but also not too late. Typically 3 days – 2 weeks is the sweet spot

Image credits: erinmcgoff

Have typos

So many people have typos on their resumes, and its little things you may not notice, but unfortunately it can make or break your application

Here’s what people have been saying about Erin’s TikToks