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Job Interview was Poor--Lessons Learned Are....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ok, I thought I was prepared; studied my content area for 3 days but I wasn't prepared at all...this was by far the worst interview I have ever done and here's why:

First off, I got there at 4:00 and stood outside the door while another candidate was interviewing. I peeked in the door and saw a younger lady smiling and sitting very confident and speaking to the group of 10 committee members and they were all smiling back at her laughing with her and all seemed to be having a great time.

Right then, I knew I was in trouble.....then my stupid heart started racing and I begin to get nervous. I tried to focus on my breathing....in-hold, count 1, 2, 3, 4 then out 1, 2, 3, 4...in-hold, count 1, 2, 3, 4 and out...I focused on my heartbeat and did the imagery exercises where I placed my mind in the most relaxing place I could think of--down by the lake watching the ducks move slowly across the water. 4:15 came and then 4:25 and my appointment was for 4:30 so I was close to going on to do my "sell." 4:30 came and went and they were still in there, I hated to interrupt, but I began to wonder if I was going to be late and had just assumed that the person in the chair at the end was interviewing. Maybe she was just part of the committee, I thought. I almost opened the door and interrupted them to check when all of a sudden, a man at the back door knocked for me to let him in. He was in a tie and looked professional so I let him in the building. As it turned out, he was on the committee and went inside the room where he told the others I was outside, I guess. Because right after he went in, the main person came out to greet me and tell me it would be just a minute.

Whew, I thought! That was a close one. I almost interrupted an interview session!

Oh, did I forget to mention that on this day it was in the 30's? We had been having 80 degree weather for weeks and on this one day this? My allergies were driving me crazy too--not only was it extremely cold it was very windy and raining to the point of almost sleeting. Now in Texas in April, we don't usually have that kind of weather---that was a bad sign too, I thought. Because of all the weight I have lost, I didn't even have a coat!! Had to drive to the nearest town and go to Burlington's Coat Factory to get a dang coat!! Would have looked stupid to show up without a coat, I thought.

Lessons learned from the interview:
1. Do not let them ever trip me up with the trick question "tell us a little about yourself." From now on I will have a memorized statement ready to go. It will never include anything personal--just set the stage for the interview with my best strengths and accomplishments. It will be to hook them as to why I am perfect for the job.

2. Never interview in the afternoon/evening if I have a choice to do it in the mornings. I'm tired and my energy is waning--they are tired and want to go home. All anyone is thinking about is "what's for dinner."

3. I will have a better response for the "what is your greatest weakness; what is your greatest strength" next time...I have a good greatest strengths answer but need a better answer for my greatest weakness and how I can take measures to improve in that area.

4. I will be prepared with the "do you have any questions for us" question. I always have a standby I use, but yesterday, it was answered in the main persons response before he got to the end, so I couldn't ask the same question again--I looked silly because I was caught off guard. Next time I will have 3 or 4 ready to pull out and use for that one.

5. Finally, I am done preparing and studying for these interviews. I know my content and have done the jobs and am very familiar with what I would be doing. The questions they asked me were situation type hypothetical question anyway and had nothing to do with the content of my field. Reason? They don't know my field anyway....only someone who is actually in my field knows what I should know and this group of people....clueless.

The positives are:

in 3 months, I have had 2 interviews. I have a friend who has a similar degree as I do that has been sending in applications since 2010 and has yet to get one single interview. That tells me that my paperwork is catching someone's eye and that my background and experiences are intriguing at least enough to want to know more about me.

I am getting experience in the interviews. Just like yesterday, even though it was a disaster from the start from the way I answered the "tell us a little about yourself question" which open all kinds of cans of worms. I will be prepared next time and this will never happen to me again.

I am not in this alone. All the decisions we have made as a couple are shared and I take 50% responsibility and DH takes 50% responsibility and just because he is retiring and will be getting a monthly retirement check, he is still responsible to contribute to our situation since he is partly responsible for it as well. I will no longer try to shoulder the whole responsibility of our finances and feel guilty because I have failed, gotten older, can't get hired, or whatever. It is causing me great stress and because I feel desperate to get a job, I am applying for jobs that I really don't want just because of the money they pay.

Which brings me to my final point. As part contributor and not responsible for our entire financial situation, I will only be applying for jobs that I would really like to have. They pay much less, but I don't care. I would rather be happy than have the money anyway. After all, DH can make a dollar or two as well. We are after all a team, it's we, us....not just me! I!

So there you have it....poor interview, but great lessons learned. I will be prepared next time and it will be for a job that fits me and that I really want!
Lessons learned!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Seems I need to resubscribe to your blog each time I find it, Paula -- sorry not to have seen this brilliant one when you first posted it several weeks back: it is AWESOME. You completely expemplify the wisdom of consciously 'transforming poison into medicine' or using a tough, toxic ordeal to uplift you along the path you wish to pursue. WOW! Now that you have seen your 'worst,' that is so 'done' - forever. On to your True Blue best, and I suspect you've already proven that to be so since April 11.

    Amazing Woman, You. Yup, you inspire me, in so VERY many ways, Dear Friend!
    2973 days ago
    I am not familiar with who you are overall but am freinds with Boonie and saw she replied to you.

    Sounds to me like you are returning to the work force after time off. If you have a local communit college, you should see if they have any classes or assistance for "returning to work". THey can help yuo with interview processes today, how to set up your resume etc. Many times this is a free service.

    I know if I had to start over right now, I would be mortified because now they interview over the phone!! How can you make a decision about me by tlaking to me on the phone? I hate talking on the phone and get all stiff and formal! YIKES!

    Keep learning lesssons and you WILL find the job for you. I love Bonnie's advice!
    2987 days ago
    I know this is going to sound really weird, it did to me at first also. My uncle told me this trick to help me with being nervous. He is a very outgoing person and never met a stranger in his life, lol. He said walk in a place not thinking how you need this job, but how they need you. Treat the interview like your showing up doing them a favor, not in a snooty way but in a i'm here to help your company be better way. I wish I had this advice during my last interview! He says use this technique with anything your wanting. If you go to buy a car for example, don't be over excited about the one you like and treat it like your doing the salesman a big favor for buying it. Because you actually are, they get commission. So you will be able to get the deal your wanting. I tried this yesterday and it worked. The home on the lot we were buying was furnished for show, I absolutely loved the bar stools but I would have to find a similar set and buy it. Well I told him I wanted the bar stools and that would really make me happy with the buying of the house. He wrote on our paperwork that the bar stools stay with the trailer. He just gave them too me, no extra cost or anything. lol.
    Wow I didn't plan on writing such a long comment, what I was originally going to say before my uncle popped in my head... It may not seem like your doing well, but you are doing great, your very motivated and look at the positive. I just think that job wasn't a good fit. They don't deserve you if they didn't consider you for the job, because they clearly don't see what we see in you.

    2987 days ago
    Lets Skype and practice. We can get all dressed up and have fun.
    2992 days ago
    I really believe that you took more away from your interview than had you walked away feeling more confident. I'm a firm believer in that things happen for a reason. The perfect job is out there waiting for you. Keep learning. Keep being positive. Keep having faith in yourself. It will happen, I am sure of it.
    2993 days ago
    Hey Paula -- I haven't been on Spark enough lately to read many blogs, but am so glad I saw the title of this and read it. It's true that lessons learned are always a positive, so you've got a wonderful attitude about that....it's also true that what we feel is horrible sometimes isn't...and what we think is great sometimes isn't! emoticon

    Back when I first found out I was being laid off in 2011, I interviewed for a job with a semi-competitor of my then-employer. I thought it was the best interview I ever had!! Really - I was soooo psyched about it. LOL

    I was stunned when I didn't hear anything right away from the recruiter, so I called to check on things. She told me they weren't interested in me. Imagine my shock! They didn't realize it was my BEST interview ever! Ha!

    God knows what you need, and when you need it, and all will be well. Trust your heart and your gut, and the right doors will fly open for you!

    And...yes, the weather here in Texas nas been absolutely whacky this week, hasn't it???
    2994 days ago
    Paula you did great!
    Think of all you have learned from this and really all you accomplished.
    What a great learning tool this was, if nothing comes of the interview. But don't sell yourself short my friend you are amazing!
    Love and hugs,

    2994 days ago
    Paula, I am so proud of you. This was not the right job anyway and you learned so much. As someone who conducts interviews a TON (maybe over 100 last year alone). The candidates who are really really relaxed and come in with confidence ALWAYS do best and are the most liked. As you said, you know this stuff, you have the skill, you just need to go in there and make them see how perfect you are.
    2994 days ago
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    Today I was reading a quote and I just posted it to my status. I thought of it as I was reading your blog. You ARE the winner in my mind because you took the time to reflect, learn from the experience and put ideas into motion! Oh....the quote......

    A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them. --John C. Maxwell

    Again I must say that I feel you are the winner!

    2994 days ago
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    I love your positive thinking! Interviews are by far the worst, but everything happens for a reason -- and you see right on track! I am sure you will get the job for your next one :)
    2994 days ago
    Hope you ended up doing better on the interview then you think. Also, I've found that what helps me with having questions prepared. Instead of relying on remembering them I have them printed out on a piece of paper and I scan through them picking out questions that they haven't already answered.
    2994 days ago
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