Learn From My Pain!

This morning – as I maneuvered between rooms, getting ready for work – I heard the email notification from my phone – and because I have become slave to the aging iphone 4 – I run every time it calls out to me, anticipating good news regarding Knowledge Bank or correspondence regarding my recent job search. Nothing makes a day start better than a good-news email at 7:30 in the morning. Consequently, nothing makes a day start worse than a bad-news email at 7:30 in the morning. But because I can sometimes be over confident -there’s a little foreshadowing here – I always assume my inbox bears good news, but this morning would be different.

At 7:30 in the morning – before normal business hours – I received an email stating that after much consideration, another candidate had been selected for the position I had interviewed for 22 hours and 45 minutes ago. When I read the email, I immediately had 3 thoughts:

1. Who could have been a better candidate than me?_XCL2986

2. How can “much” consideration be given in 22 hours and 45 minutes?

3. They probably sent this email to the wrong person. I’ll wait for the apology to come later

today.

I went ahead to work like every other day. At the exact moment I’m typing this sentence, it’s been 7 hours and and 15 minutes since I received the “mistakenly sent” rejection email and I have yet to receive the apology email. This leads me to one conclusion. It’s time to swallow the hard pill and accept the fact that I’m not getting the job.

Thankfully, I’m still employed with what my parent’s generation would consider “a good job”, but I still felt this was a perfect “you gone learn today” moment for the CORE readers. So, here’s your lesson…

There are approximately 27 million Americans who are currently unemployed in this country. A significant number of these are teens. Additionally, there are millions of other people who are underemployed. How would you feel if you were the best dancer in school, yet you’re selected to play the tambourine instead of selected as a majorette? That’s almost what it’s like to be underemployed.

So, as we approach the summer break and teens across the country begin applying for summer jobs, I want to share a few lessons that can be learned from the brashness and stupidity I displayed prior to and during my interview.

Lesson 1. Give yourself some “just in case something happens” time.

When reading the second paragraph of this post, did you ever wonder why I was being so exact with the time? The time is branded into my memory because I was 15 minutes late for my interview. Being on time is rule #1 when preparing for interviews and I understood this 16 years ago when I applied for my first job. Unfortunately, there was a massive concoction of failure that added to my tardiness, but it’s still my responsibility to allot enough “just in case something happens” time so that I am punctual for my first impression. Just like we save money for those “just in case” moments, plan on giving yourself “just in case” time when preparing for an interview. Normally 15-30 minutes is sufficient depending on where you live. Yesterday I sure needed fifteen. smh

Lesson 2. Who you talking to?

Have you ever gotten a little sassy with your mom and she hits you with the “who you talking to” response? Think of mom the next time you are preparing for your interview. Not because your interviewer “brought you into this world so they’ll take you out”, but because it’s important to understand the position, personality and temperament of the person that’s interviewing you. The person conducting my interview, was the person that I would be reporting to if I was awarded the job. He wasn’t a big personality guy. He was very mild mannered. He didn’t seem to be into a lot of small talk (maybe because we were short 15 minutes.) But, I’m sort of the opposite. I view the interview as my time to shine (because it is). I want the interviewer to know that I am confident in my skills and abilities and I have no problem verbalizing that. Problem is – and this I can’t prove – I think I may have been too enthusiastic and maybe too ambitious for him. I don’t believe in being someone you are not, but I do believe there were some nonverbal cues from the interviewer that were indications for me to tone it down a bit.

3. Be Yourself

Your personality is just as important to your viability for a new job as your experience and skills. Let the hiring manager know who they maybe hiring during the interview. You want a company to accept you for who you are. Now, I’m not condoning the neck tattoo or wearing purple lipstick to the interview. However, I am condoning the vibrant personality associated with the person that wears purple lipstick on the weekends.

4. Watch Your Mouth!

The interview is a time for you to sell yourself, sell your skills, sell your strengths and sell your experiences. I think I sold myself straight down the river. I sold myself, I sold my skills, I sold my strengths and I sold my experiences. I should have stopped there. I went ahead and sold my ambition too. Now in some circumstances this can be perceived as an asset to the interviewer. But you have to be conscience of “who you talking to”? The guy who was interviewing me had recently lost 3 members of his team. He had only been in his role for 5 months. So the last thing he needed to hear from me was how this position would help further my career. It’s important to know when to hit the brakes. If that job was at an intersection, I cruised straight through the red light.

There isn’t an exact science to perfecting every interview. Truth is you could follow every lesson in this article and still not land the next gig you interview for. But as you’ve learned in some of my other posts, perseverance is a key ingredient to success in life and just because you’ve
heard 2 no’s doesn’t mean your next interview won’t end in a yes.

C.Hale

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