How to Ace Your Job Interview


For 15 years, I have been giving this live presentation in front of thousands of high school, college, and unemployed attendees. Based on the hundreds of letters and notes I have received about their employment success based on these principles, I decided to make this video. If you find it helpful, please share it with your friends. This is simply my gift to those looking to get the job they desire.


Note from Eric: Below, you will find a word-for-word transcript of this video. I provide this as an aid for the hearing-impaired and for those who might just want to read it rather than watch the video. This conversational style is not reflective of how I write. Be nice!
Hey, I am Eric Spellmann. And what you’re about to see is not scripted. This is the same speech I give to thousands of people every year, whether they be High School students, College kids or just people wanting a job. Now, is this what I do normally? NO! I own a company. And I make websites. And we do Online Marketing, and things like that. But what I’ve discovered by being a business owner, is that when I interview people for jobs, a lot of them screw up! They MESS UP! And they totally sabotage their efforts to get a job.

So, that’s what this video is about. I’m here to help you. Now some of the things I’m gonna say are harsh. And they’re gonna be in your face! And they’re not what you find in a textbook. And probably not some of the things people have told you. But they represent what we as business owners are looking for. So, that’s what I’m coming from. I’ve hired many many many people. And I’ve had to fire a few! So, listen up. I guarantee if you take to heart some of the things I say, and do some of the things I say. You’re more likely to get the job than just about anyone else. It really is that true.

Rule Number 1, You do not deserve a job! How many people have I ran into who think they deserve a job. I mean they get out of High School, they get out of College and they deserve a job. Guess what? You don’t! A job is something you have to earn. Let me be more specific. It’s something you have to win. Think about it this way. If 30 people applied for a job at my place. there’s only gonna be 1 winner, and 29 losers! So, when you apply for a job you’re trying to win. And you’re helping outvote everyone else of the island but you! If you really want the job you’ve got to fight for it! And I’m gonna be giving you some tips to help you do that.

First Step, understand how a company is even setup. The company is a machine. And the employees are the parts of the machine. So, every different part of the machine is a different employee. Now the big question I have for you is what is the boss? He’s not a part of the machine! The boss is the oil can. The boss is not in the machine, he takes care of the machine. And if he finds something thats wrong, he has to do something. And basically, he only has 3 options. What are they? If he finds 1 part of the machine that ain’t acting right, he’s got to either fix it, replace it or go out of business! You see those are the only options. So many people tell me their boss hates them and will fire them! But you really have to understand where that boss is coming from. You’ve got to understand where that manager is coming from. His job is to make sure the machine runs. And if he lets a part not work the way it’s supposed to, well the whole machine is gonna break down! So, he tries his hardest to repair it if he can. REPAIR IT! Because trust me, replacing is not what he wants to do. And when I say replace you realize I mean FIRE!

So, he doesn’t want to replace it because that will mean he will have to train somebody new. Trust me, we hate firing people! We would fix a problem rather than replace an employee. And if we choose not to do either one, we risk going out of business! So understand what our goals as business managers and as business owners are, is that we want to make sure the machine running. And we’re limited in what our options are!

So here’s a big question. Who can fire employees? I’ll be more specific. At my company who can fire employees? Yeah me. I get to fire employees, no brainer. You should had known that. But the next question is a little more tricky. Who can fire me? That’s right, I can be fired. Now you’re wondering Eric owns this company so how can he be fired? Yes I own the company but I CAN be fired. Very simply, you’ve got to understand who can fire me.

The people who can fire me are my customers! That’s right, customers fire me. I have to answer to them. Now how does a customer fire me? Basically, they stop using what I do, they stop using my products, they stop buying my services! And if I hire an employee that my customers don’t like, my customers will go to my competitor! So you see, I have to hire the right employee or I get fired, I get put out of business. Remember this, everyone can be fired. I don’t care who you are. Whether you are Bill Gates, whether you are the President of the United States, everyone can be fired by someone.

And everyone is trying not to be fired. So when you interview with someone or work somewhere and you realize this little equation, you start to understand why people act the way they do. And why they do the things they do as it relates to hiring and firing.

So, what are the top ways to get fired? I know some of you are wondering this video was about the job interview. Oh yeah. But trust me you need to know this before you go to the job interview. It will make for a longer career for you, wherever you happen to be.

So, what are the top ways to get fired? I think you might be surprised. One of the biggest is Gossip. Gossip is like cancer. Remember, the company is a machine and the boss is an oil can. And what happens with Gossip? What happens with one employee starts creating drama? What happens when they start talking about another employee? Does a machine require parts to work together in order to function? OF COURSE!

So if all of this drama starts happening, and if some employees are now mad at others and they don’t work well, what happens to the overall machine? That’s right! You have problems. And so the boss has to cut that cancer out. The boss has to get rid of the problem. And trust me. The boss knows who it is. You know you may think they don’t know and they don’t have their finger on the pulse of whats going on. But trust me, they know who the trouble children are. And they have to get rid of them. And yes, I’ve had to fire people whose sole problem was creating drama.

Being late is a big one. You’re saying what? Being late! We’re all human right. Yeah but you need to understand what the relationship is. Why is being late such a big thing? I mean especially some of you younger people you might be 5 minutes late at school, but that’s not big deal, no long term effects. Not so in the work environment. And here’s why. The key is to realize that I as a boss, I as a business owner, own something. Now here’s a question. If you come to work for me, do I own you? No, slavery has been outlawed. I cannot own another person. But what I do own is your time, I OWN your time. And how can I say that? Because I bought it from you.

I bought your time. You sold your time to me, it belongs to me. So if I am paying you for 8 hours of your time, you give me 8 hours of your time. If I pay you for 8 hours and you give me 7, basically you have stolen from me. Now I know that sounds harsh. You see when I fire someone for being late all the time, basically I’m firing them for stealing from my company. Because basically they have promised me 8 hours and they gave me 7! Now, is 1 person being late gonna cause me to fire them? No, I’m not that evil.

But I will tell you this. If you know you’re gonna be late, you call in. Today where everyone has cellphones, you call in if you’re gonna be late. At least let us know what’s going on. If you’re sick or there’s some family emergency, yeah that kind of stuff happens occasionally. But what I’m talking about is people who’re late all the time. So don’t be late.

Remember only first place gets the job. If 30 apply for the job, there’s got to be 29 losers. When you’re applying for a job, you’ve got to beat those other 29 people. So you can’t go into a job interview and be “Oh I hope I get this job.” NO! You’ve got to go in there confident, not cocky. Confident! And we’ll talk about that.

So, basically here’s how the interview works. here’s how the whole process starts. It all starts with your resume. You know I have a job opening and you apply. So you send me your resume. Believe it or not, the resume is the first part of your interview. When I get a stack of resumes in front of me, am I gonna read every resume? No! I’m gonna scan every resume, and based on statistics I would probably throw out half the resumes! 50%! Gone! Now, why would I throw away half the resumes? Because of what I found.

You see, the key is spelling mistakes. If I find even 1 spelling mistake on your resume, you’re toast! You might say “Eric that’s harsh. We’re all humans and we make mistakes!” Yeah but if you can’t get the most important document of your life correct, what makes me think any kind of correspondence going from you to my customers is gonna be correct? Folks I’m here to tell you your resume had better be spot on. It is got to be accurate, it’s got to be correct. I’ll have 20 people look at it to make sure there’s not 1 mistake because if I find 1, I’m tossing it! And you may say that’s not fair, I don’t care. I’m the boss! I am the manager, and I will hire the people who take the time and who understand the importance of that kind of thing (of the resume being accurate).

Also, I’m not a big fan of long resumes. I would rather have a 1 pager. And by the way, it better not be the same resume you sent to everybody else. It should better speak to the skills I’m looking for. If you gave me the same resume as the one you used to go work at the fast food place… You need to adjust your resume to speak to what I’m looking for. If I’m looking for someone with this skill, this skill, this skill, then I want you to adjust your resume to really talk about how good you are at those skills. So, make that resume right. And you’ll basically beat half of the people right there!

So let’s say you make it through there. The next step is we make the call. Now I don’t make the call, I have my receptionist do it. And so what she’s doing is calling you to set the appointment for the interview. But what you really don’t realize is that this call is PART of the interview! So, here is how it works. You’ll see what I mean. She calls you up and she says “Mr. Spellmann would like to meet with you.” Now when she calls, if you don’t answer no big deal. I understand you may be busy. But if you don’t answer and it goes to your voicemail. And your voicemail is some stupid garbage, if your voicemail is something supposedly funny for your high school friends and stuff like that.

And it comes across as inappropriate, it comes across as stupid. Guess what? You’ve failed the interview! You know especially you high school students and college students, you need to realize that there’s got to be more than just your friends calling that phone. And so just keep it simple, just keep it easy. “Hey this is Eric. I can’t get to the phone right now. Please leave a message and I’ll call you right back.” Something like that. It can have tiny bit of a flavour, but don’t make it obnoxious, and especially don’t make it rude!

That was kind of a first test. But let’s say you answer the phone. I definitely don’t want you answering it “Yo! Whatsup.” I don’t want you talk like you were to your friends. If you don’t recognize the number on your phone, just say “Hi” or “Hello”, and answer normally. because keep in mind, I’ve tasked my receptionist to listen to how you sound on the phone.

The other thing you’ve got to watch out for is speaking on the phone in such a low tone that your voice simply drowns out or you simply speak so softly that you can’t be heard. I WILL NOT HIRE YOU! Why? Because I can’t hear you. You see, you can’t be on the phone with my customers if my receptionist can’t hear you. If you can’t be understood, I will not hire you! Because remember I answer to my customers, I have to pick an employee that my customers will like.

So, talk normally. Talk like you want the job and you’ll be well on your way to getting past this part of the test, which many people think is just an invitation to the schedule. And yeah, my receptionist tells me which ones I should even go with. And then we call the others who didn’t even pass that test, and send them on their way. So, basically we’re getting down.

So let’s say you make it past that cut. And you are ready for the interview. The big question is what should you wear? This is always a big question and everyone seems to have different answers ranging from a suit, a nice skirt etc. And I am here to tell you I don’t agree with that. I’m not saying that’s wrong, I’m saying there’s a different way to look at it. And here it is. Before you go to the interview, I want you to do a little bit of recon. Go check out this company you’re applying to. And I want you to see what the employees are wearing. And then I want you to come dressed like that! there’s a reason for that. Because when you walk in the door and you already look like you’re a part of my team. Guess what? I’m more likely to see you as a part of my team. Now, obviously look at what I’m wearing? I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Now, if you didn’t know my company you would think everyone up here would wore that. So don’t show up in a Hawaiian shirt. So, do a little recon. Find out what everyone wears over there. And then wear a nice version of that. It helps us see you as part of our company.

So, you walk into my office. And believe it or not, I’m making a decision right then and there even before you say 1 word on I will hire you or not! If you walk in all slouched, don’t look me in the eye, just walk in all timid like – it doesn’t send a very good show. But, on the other side if you walk in there all cocky like you own the place, acting like this is a waste of your time to be even here, you’re toast! Just walk in normally. Confident.

When you come in, look at me. Now don’t stare at me like a freak, but look at me. Look at me in the eye. Now why is looking in the eye such a big deal? Because any cop will tell you when someone is in an interview and they’re talking with you, if they look away and say something, many times it was a lie! For the most part unless they force themselves, most humans when telling a lie to somebody will look away. So look me in the eye when you answer me. Once again don’t stare at me, but look me in the eye. It helps us connect, it helps me see you and feel that you’re being honest with me.

How do I feel about tattoos and piercings? Well, this is an interesting issue. And you may not like my answer. here’s a deal. Will I ever hire someone with visible tattoos or piercings? No, I will not. Now does that mean I’m discriminating? Yes it does. I’m discriminating against what I think my customers would like or not like.

What I have to do is when I see you, I have to decide if my customers will be comfortable with you when you meet them. Now, do I personally have anything against tattoos and piercings? No. You know many of my employees have tattoos and piercings. But the key was they’re not visible, they cover them up! I once had an employee who had 2 full sleeves of tattoos and he wore a long sleeve shirt. He understood that. And that’s just the way it is. It’s not that I’m against tattoos, it’s that I have to appeal to the people I’m trying to reach — my customers. And if my customers don’t like the way you look, then I would rather hire someone that looks the way they expect. And I’m not talking about supermodel stuff here.

I’m just talking about how you dress, how you present yourself. Now some of you might be saying “Well Eric it’s my First Amendment right to express myself however i want.” Exactly! But it’s also my right not to hire you! So, just keep that in mind. It’s not about what I like, it’s about what my customers like. because I don’t want to get fired.

Chewing Gum and Cell Phones. Don’t you ever go into an interview chewing gum! EVER EVER EVER. Because I’m one of those bosses that gets distracted very easily. Kind of an ADD kind of a thing. And if I see you sitting there chewing gum, that’s all I’m gonna stare at! I won’t hear whatever you say, I will remember you as the gum chewer. That’s all I will remember. Don’t do something that will distract me. I want to focus on what you’re saying. Does that mean I’m against gum? No, I love gum.

Just don’t chew it while I’m talking to you. Also, you better set that cell phone to vibrate. Or you better leave it outside the room. That cell phone better not go off. And if it does go off, you better not pull it out and interrupt our interview and check it! Now you’re wondering people really do that during the job interview? YES! Which is more important? Getting a job or answering that text right away. So you set it on vibrate. And if you have one of those loud vibrates, then leave the phone behind. because once again that’s like chewing gum. It distracts me. And especially if someone keeps sending it to you. I’ll remember you as the one with buzzing pants. And I surely don’t want to remember you that way!

So, we’re now getting to the interview itself. What are the interview questions that tend to come out? I’m not going to give you everyone of them, because a lot of them you can figure out yourself. They are specific to the job like do you know how to do this, do that etc. But I’m talking about the key interview questions you might hear in every single interview.

First, what do you know about my company? In other words, that’s me asking you what do you know about my company. If you’re surprised by this question, you shouldn’t be. So it’s my way of secretly testing do you even know what company you’re applying to and what we do. Before you go for an interview in any company, you better do a little research and figure out what in the heck they do, what in the heck they make. The more you know about my company, the more it shows me you care about even getting the job. Heck today it’s easy. Go to their website, do a little research on them. That is my first test to know whether I should just ask you to leave the room. What do you know about my company. Now I will not ask you specific questions like what were our sales last year etc. But if you don’t know what product I make, if you don’t know what service I provide, you have no business being in front of me! (20:14)

here’s one you need to be ready for. Why did you leave your last position? Now, you need to be honest with me. BE HONEST with me! Okay. But under no circumstances should you ever say this. Listen up, if you hear nothing else, you hear this. Don’t you ever say I had an evil boss! My boss hated me! My boss and I didn’t get along! Never say that. here’s the reason why.

Basically who am I? I’m someone who’s trying to hire someone to fill that part of the machine and get to work and work hard. If you basically tell me that you didn’t get along with your boss or you thought your boss was evil or y’all couldn’t get along well, that basically sends the message YOU might have problems working under someone else! So if you ever tell me that you had an evil boss or you didn’t work well with them or your boss was mean to you, that’s gonna be tough for me to hire you. I would rather have you say something to the effect of “This wasn’t where I needed to be. I discovered quickly that wasn’t what I liked to do.” And if you’re fired, just admit it. But don’t lie. And definitely don’t blame your previous boss!

This is one that may blow you away. Why should I hire you? Now folks, I’m here to tell you you’ve got to have an answer to this. Because usually it’s the last question that I ask. And most people that I ask it to, don’t have an answer and it throws them. I’ll be honest with you. I’ll give you the answer. And to this day if I had someone that I interviewed give me this answer, I would hire them on the spot! Because I’m yet to hear it. But basically, this answer what I’m about to tell you, is what we bosses and business owners have been wanting to hear.

It’s basically this. “Mr. Spellmann! I may not have as much as experience as some of the people applying for this job. But I will tell you this. I will work harder than any of them to do this job right. I will work harder, I will study whatever it takes to do this job.” That answer is amazing. Some of you must be saying “Well that’s cocky. It’s like kissing butt!” NO! That’s just honesty. See I don’t expect you to know everything. One of the big mistakes people make is they think they’re at a great disadvantage if they don’t know to do this in Microsoft Word, they haven’t touched this etc. Keep in mind that we, as bosses and business owners, have to train you on how to just do about everything. because we want it done our way!

So it’s not a matter of whether you know everything or proving to me that know that you know everything. I would rather hire someone based on their attitude and their ability to learn than the knowledge base they have. because I can teach you! I’m looking for someone who says “I’m willing to learn something new. I will do whatever it takes. I will work harder than anyone you’ve ever interviewed, Mr. Spellmann.” And if you say that with a straight face and mean it, it will come across that way!

Remember, college degrees get you to the top of the resume stack, but they don’t guarantee the job. I would rather hire someone who has a work ethic and willing to learn than someone who has a piece of paper on a wall and who thinks they know everything! Does that mean I’m not a fan of college people? No. Heck I have a Masters degree, I think college is great. But what I’m saying is don’t let that prevent you from applying for a job.

This is a question I hope you don’t get. Because this “Do you have kids?” is an inappropriate and in many cases illegal question for me to ask you. Do you know why? Basically it goes down to the ability to discriminate. Okay. A lot of times some evil bosses will say “Do you have kids?” and it’s a secret way of saying “Are you gonna be one of those people that has to take a lot of time off?” That’s a secret way of asking them.

You cannot NOT hire someone because they have kids. It’s the same thing you know hiring people who are this religion or that religion, or hiring people that are gay or straight or hiring people that are black or white! You have to hire them based on their ability to do the job. And those things are not part of that. So here’s a question. What are you gonna do when someone asks you the inappropriate or illegal question? Because they will. there’s a lot of idiot bosses out there who don’t know they can’t ask that or who are evil enough and they will ask that! The key is not to immediately get all up in their face and go “I won’t answer that!”

Let’s assume for a second they didn’t know they couldn’t ask that. And maybe they were just trying to be nice. “So if you have a family?” Then you need to simply turn it around. The best answer I’ve ever heard on this is this one. “That’s an interesting question. Do you ask all the applicants that question?” In other words, you’ve turned it around. And basically what you’re doing is you’re sending the message that this question is falling outside the round. If they take the hand, they’ll appreciate you being upfront.

But if they were secretly trying to figure out if you’re a single mom or a single dad and you were going to have lots of kids issues, then maybe that’s a job you didn’t need to have in the first place! So, watch out for inappropriate, illegal questions. But don’t immediately shut them down and don’t immediately slap them in the face for asking. Just turn it around and turn the question around without answering it.

At some point during the interview, I ask the trick question. Most jobs you go to, the higher paying the job, the more likely you are to get the trick question. Now you’re wondering what is the trick question? We’ll be going along and I’ll be asking all sorts of questions left and right about the job etc. And then at some point I’ll be looking you right in the eye and here is the question I will shoot “A fly lands on a ceiling. When it takes off which way will it go?”

And I’ll just sit there and stare at you. Now usually what you’ll do is you’ll turn around and say “Ummmm what? Can you repeat that?” And I’ll say “A fly lands on a ceiling. When it takes off which way will it go?” And I’ll ask it like it’s a totally legitimate question. And I’ll just sit there and wait. The biggest mistake in the world is for you to immediately answer. Okay. Because there’s only 1 correct answer to this question. And it is this. “I don’t know sir. But I’ll find out.” Let me say that again. “I don’t know. But I’ll find out.” You see there’s 2 pieces to that.

The reason I ask the trick question is to find out when you’re presented with something you don’t know the answer to, will you make crap up! Or will you be honest and simply say I don’t know. Remember it is OK to say you don’t know the answer to a job interview question, it is OK to admit you don’t know the answer. That’s why we ask the trick question, is to see if you will lie! No one knows which way a fly will go. Okay.

But we’re just trying to find out when you get in a sticky situation, if all you’re trying to do is impress me, will you make garbage up? The key to the answer is not just say ‘I don’t know.” But when you tack on that last piece “But I’ll find out”. That’s like a BONUS! Basically you’re telling me, when presented with a situation you’ll try to figure out the answer yourself before you come running to me. That shows motivation, that shows work ethic. I love that! That is the perfect answer. So, what is the answer here? It’s okay to admit that you don’t know the answer to a question. Be honest! But then follow it up with “But I’ll find out.”

Don’t make these mistakes. Okay. Here we go.

During the job interview, you BETTER NOT flirt with me. YOU BETTER NOT FLIRT WITH ME! Guy, girl I don’t care you don’t flirt with me. here’s the reason. When someone flirts during an interview. And yes it happens during almost every interview I do. When someone flirts with me, they’re basically saying “Mr. Spellmann, I don’t have enough skill or ability to do the job. I’m not as qualified as all those other people already here, but if you hire me there’s some little extra for you!” That’s what you’re saying! You’re saying you’re not good enough for the job, so you’re gonna offer something else.

Keep in mind that if you flirt and actually get a job with someone, that promise you made in the interview, they’re gonna come collecting on it! Okay. I want you to get the job because you deserve the job. Because you won the job. Because out of all those people there, you’re the best one for the job. Don’t discount yourself like that. It’s embarrassing. And I will never hire someone who flirts because no good will ever come of that!

Don’t give me your sob stories. I will NEVER hire you out of pity! I can’t tell you how many times someone will come in and say “Oh Mr. Spellmann. My mom is on the bed and my dad is in the prison and I’m supporting 18 kids. And I really need this job!” I will NOT hire you if you tell me that! Now why is that. Am I mean? NO. It’s because basically you’ve told me with all this drama going on in your life, you’re gonna be asking for a lot of time off.

Okay! I want to hire you because of you. Not because of what any of your loser family does or says. Make this about you! Don’t bring up your family, don’t bring up your history, don’t bring up your background. I want to hire you because of YOU! Not because of any history or baggage that is attached to you. Don’t share that with me. I want to hire you because you’re good. Because you can do it.

Also, check your social media. When I get down to the final 3 I’m gonna be hiring, I’m gonna start Googling you. I’m gonna start checking you out on social media. I’m gonna be looking to see who you really are. because see when you’re giving me an interview, that’s your Sunday school self. You’re giving all the perfect answers, you’re dressed better than you ever will be when you work for me. You are presenting yourself as perfection. But I want to know who you really are. And so I’m gonna Google you. I’m gonna check you out. I’m gonna look you up, and try to figure out who you really are. because that’s how I know if I hire you, you really will be.

So, you need to go through your social media right now and clean some stuff up. You need to get rid of some of those party pictures (you know which ones I’m talking about). You need to go clean up some of the posts you’ve made (even delete them) so that you come across as someone more likely to get hired.

Remember, when it’s all said and done, you have to SELL YOURSELF! I can’t tell you how many letters and postcards and things I’ve received over the years from different people saying Eric I heard you speak. I did some of those tips and Eric I got the job. And Eric I just wanted to say thank you! Okay. Sell yourself! You’ve got to remember. You’ve got to remember the most important thing of all. You know you’re the best person for that job. Now CONVINCE me!