In the last six weeks, I’ve had 12 job interviews, and each time I scheduled one, I set myself up for extreme disappointment. Why? Because I was way too hopeful about landing the interview in the first place, I failed to consider how many candidates I was likely up against, among many other things. Regardless, friends and family members assured me my odds were good and that I’d land “something” out of all those interviews. But when the interviewers reached out to say they’d decided to go in a different direction — or worse, completely ignored my follow-up emails — I was back to square one: “funemployed’ and browsing Craigslist jobs, Entertainment Careers, and the Tracking Board all over again.
Though it was tough having to begin my search a second time, I ended up scoring two interviews in one week. This time, however, I wasn’t so quick to applaud myself for it. I know how deceptive hope can feel, so when my roommate asked about my plans on Monday, I nonchalantly said I had another interview.
“Fingers crossed, but whatever,” I said with a laugh.
“Why not just call it a meeting?” she suggested.
This is actually an amazing piece of advice. Telling people you’re going on a “job interview” might not be the best thing if you’re not sure what the outcome will be, and I know from experience that it’s painful to talk about the interview aftermath more often than not. On too many occasions, I’ve gotten way too amped about a first or second interview and told friends and relatives just how badly I wanted to work with the interviewees. But when days and weeks of silence followed and my standing with the prospective employers remained unknown, I had no idea what to say when everyone I’d told about the interview asked for an update. It got really depressing to explain over and over again that I didn’t get the job or hadn’t even been told “no’ by the people who’d met with me.
So, as I continue my seemingly neverending search, I’m going to refer to every sit-down as a meeting. That takes the pressure off the interview itself, stops me from overflowing with excitement and false hope and encourages me to keep looking for other opportunities. It’s not good to put all of your eggs in one basket anyway, and when you approach the interview as a meeting, you’ll be going in much more relaxed than you would be during an all-or-nothing interview. It’s crucial to seem poised and avoid coming across as desperate, and treating the interaction as a meeting could keep you from falling into these traps. It’s also nice not to be rattled and nervous before talking to someone, as you can never anticipate what their energy will be like.
From the dozen interviews I’ve had over the past month and a half or so, I know there are a lot of tricks and curveball questions potential employers will try to throw your way to see if you’re a good fit for the environment. Recognizing this and taking a laidback approach to the whole thing will calm you down and maybe even increase your chances of getting called back in. If not? The world isn’t ending. It was just a meeting.
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