From Our Readers Could You Ace a Job Interview? From Our Readers

There are people in the world who can convince you they’re amazing and everyone immediately loves them. They are confident and self-assured, and even if they can’t do something, they have no trouble convincing you that they can. And when everyone discovers they were totally full of crap, it doesn’t really matter because they’re just so darn charming.

This is not me.

Example: Job Interviews

Step 1: The Pep Talk

When I prepare for an interview I imagine the questions they will likely ask, and then I envision myself responding. In my head I follow all the rules that I read on the ten million “How to succeed in a job interview” websites. I am polite, friendly, confident and mature. I am not drunk or dishevelled, and my fingernails are squeaky clean. I can tell you which of my weaknesses is the strongest, and why it actually makes me the ideal employee and not a total basketcase. I can tackle any challenge with my die hard spirit and no obstacle is too great for me. In my head I know that my ‘go get em’ tiger attitude, will get your organization more tigers than have ever been gotten, and if you choose to hire me, you will not regret your decision because I rule!

I can do this!

Step 2: Be Punctual

On the day of the interview I arrive obscenely early and wander around the area for a while like a creepy stalker, because I’m so paranoid about being late that I give myself an extra six hours commute time in case the traffic is bad or there’s some kind of “Army of the 12 Monkeys” incident or whatever. You know that person you thought was casing out the joint like they were planning a hit? That was me.

It’s almost time for the interview and my feet are all swollen and blistered from walking around for five and a half hours in my stupid girl shoes. Mind over matter. I do one last bathroom check to make sure I don’t have lipstick all over my face or parsley in my teeth, before I go meet my hopefully soon-to-be new employer.

Step 3: Sell Yourself

They call me in. I march proudly into the office and offer up a winning handshake. It’s all downhill from here.

The instant I sit down I immediately forget everything I was supposed to say. It’s like I develop selective amnesia for every single thing I’ve ever accomplished, and when a question about my experience arises, I just become completely catatonic. But I’m afraid of silence because I think it makes me look bad, so I give an “ummm….” so long I’m pretty sure Guinness actually has it on record. When I am able to form words I speak tentatively, not convincingly, cramming my responses with lame qualifiers like “sort of” and “I guess” to the point where I’m not even sure if I can do the job anymore.

I can tell the employer is beginning to wonder why this supposedly highly qualified and experienced professional who wrote that killer resume, is mumbling shit about tigers that doesn’t even make any sense. Clearly this is just a crazy homeless person who, for some reason, happens to be wearing a super cute Nine West suit. The interview continues on its downward trajectory because the more failed responses I give, the more insecure I get. It is ugly and messy and looks nothing like it did in my head. But the interrogation continues, even though we both just want to nonchalantly crawl out the window and never see each other again.

Time is up. We awkwardly bid farewell. They will be in touch.

Step 4: The Follow Up

I spend the entire ride home thinking up the amazing responses I should have given to all the questions I was just asked 10 minutes ago. I am sharp and on the ball and nobody could possibly be better suited for the position than me. In my head I am a winner!

Step 5: The Decision

A few days after the interview I receive an e-mail from the interviewer. The subject heading is “Unsuccessful” . It’s cool, my heart actually works better with a knife in it. (But seriously, who leaves a subject heading “Unsuccessful” ? Way to judge jackass!)

Step 6: Get Back in the Game

Watch a Glee marathon with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

You can read more from Ella Paige on her blog.

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  1. Don’t worry Ella, you’ll land the right job. Here are some helpful tips:

    The interview process is as much an investigation on your part as it is theirs. One thing that really helps me in an interview is giving a straightforward answer when they ask a question and asking a lot of questions about the position and the long term growth potential of the company. This shows both interest in the company, your ability to be observant and gives you an opportunity to flesh out potential obstacles you may have with the position. Also, ask closing questions, like, “Do you see me as a good fit for this position?” or “Would you recommend me for this position?” Then ask them if they see anything you could improve upon that would make you the best fit for the position. This allows you to address any concerns they bring up and helps remove doubt from their minds. Then of course always ask, “So where do we go from here?” or “What’s the next step?” That way, you can either set up another meeting or know when you’ll hear back from them.

    I hope this advice has been helpful. I know you can do it. Best of luck!