What’s the worst thing you’ve done while interviewing for a job? Tripped over your feet right before shaking hands with the boss? Walked in smackin’ on gum because you forgot to spit it out or realized your boobs were showing even though they started out safe in the pocket? Interviewing can be a painful or easy experience depending on how you comfortable you are presenting yourself.
My job has one of the most strenuous interview processes I’ve even been seen. First the phone interview with the team, then an invitation to interview with the staff: a day’s worth of group interviews and presentations. You meet with every single person affiliated with the staff. That’s a lot of people taking notes, eyeballing you, and forming opinions while dissecting your every word. I call it good old-fashioned hazing. After my interview, I was so exhausted and drained I couldn’t talk about it afterwards without getting irritated. Seriously, who needs five interviews and a two-hour presentation in one day to decide if I can do the job? Don’t you know after the first round? Ugh, I’m getting rowdy even writing about it.
Which brings me to my point. During “hell night” as I like to call it, I was so nervous I teared up with frustration from the steady stream of questions being thrown at me. I was so embarrassed but scrambled quickly to suck my emotions back in. I was angry with myself because I’d always managed to keep it together even when things got tense. What was going on? Well, I survived the rest of the day and surprisingly got the job. Now I’m on the other side of things and have the opportunity to watch other people in the process. The past two weeks I’ve seen interviews where the most random foolishness occurred. Thought me getting all in my feelings in public was wacky? Well, one woman actually sat down in the middle of her presentation and sipped from her water bottle like she was outside chillin’ on the back porch on a Sunday afternoon. Another candidate was 45 minutes late to the interview and NEVER even apologized to the director. Where dey do dat at? And how about boldly admitting you just started working on your presentation the night before like wanted the church’s sympathy to forgive you if you hit a wrong note? It was a mess. And the worst? The half cocked response to the answer “Why are you looking for a job with us?” “Because I can’t stand my boss and I’m ready to move on.” I was embarrassed for the one woman who cursed when her slides didn’t work, the guy who slipped and called his old boss a jerk, and just thought to myself…..are you freakin’ kiddin’ me?
Interviewing is difficult because you want to leave the employer with your best impression while showing glimpses of your personality. But some stuff needs to stay hidden. Like deep, deep in the closet under the winter clothes. So please don’t go the next interview late, with 5 slides and a 15 minute presentation when you know it’s supposed to last an hour and a half. And can we come up with a decent, civil answer for why you want to change jobs? “I hate my boss” ain’t gonna cut it. I sympathize with the candidates because I went through it myself and know how agonizing the day can be. But bad behaviors only show how little you really want the job. And no fancy suit, years of experience, or impressive resume is going to fix that.