I didn’t know it was possible but I now believe a person can actually get worse at interviewing.
Rest easy, folks, my Skype interview two days ago went just fine despite the booming thunder and howling winds outside. The connection was strong, and I made the panel laugh a few times with some jokes. I will find out in a few weeks if I made it to the second round, but in the mean time I have some notes about the brilliant things I’ve done during interviews to humor you guys, even some faux pas from this Skype interview.
When I first graduated from college my interviewing potential peaked. Like lots of college graduates I went on hoards of interviews and perfected my answers for “where do you see yourself in five years” and “tell us your greatest strengths and weaknesses.” I impressed them all and I got lots of calls back (nevermind that I went with the very first place that offered me a job and told all of the others their call came too late…ah! I never dreamed I’d have choices!)
But those days are gone now. The economy is different and I am no longer a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, 21-year-old with a resume to beat all of the other college graduates in internships, volunteer work, study abroad time and work experience. It’s amazing how fast those things fall off of your resume after you’ve been in the workforce for a little while. Despite having a solid work ethic and giving it my best, I have now fallen level with the rest of the pack. What I have to offer is similar to what many out there have to offer, and perhaps realizing this, my interviewing skills have tanked.
I am now going on interviews for the first time in almost a decade. All of life is different. I have new wrinkles and suddenly two very long gray hairs have sprung up out of the top of either eyebrow (considerably longer than all of my other eyebrow hairs for some reason). Here are some of the fantastic things I decided to do on some recent interviews:
- When talking about my passion for the community I work with, I managed to burst into tears. I care about them so much! So much I could cry. And I did.
- When asked if I was comfortable interpreting sensitive, inappropriate language from a speaker to a client, I dropped the f-bomb. Twice. You know, just to be sure they got the picture that I was good with that stuff (courteousy of my recent Skype interview).
- When asked where I saw myself in five years I answered something to the effect of “who are we kidding? Probably right here in the job I’m applying for now.” I suppose I felt we should all just face facts about women staying on the first rung of the corporate ladder as long as we can get pregnant and leave the workforce for decades at a time.
- When asked about my weaknesses I said I wasn’t good with body parts. True story: I pass out at blood and I’m pretty lousy most of the time dealing with anything medical, but I felt the best way to convey that was to say “I’m not good with body parts.” Brilliant elocution.
- When asked to describe a situation where I had a conflict with a co-worker I began a story, decided it wasn’t a very good one, remembered a better example, began that story, and then finished it off with another story that I thought drove the point home better. So um, apparently I’m pretty hard to get along with. They wrote lots of notes after I answered that one.
- When discussing the challenges of changing technology in my field of work, I decided the best example was to discuss VHS tapes and their captioning capabilities. Nevermind that I write a blog, manage our office Twitter account or the fact that I’ve streamed tv from my computer for close to five years. Nope, I went with VHS tapes. Winning!
I don’t know what comes over me. It didn’t used to be this way. I used to rock at interviewing. Perhaps I’m out of practice but some of the stuff I do on these interviews surprises even me and I’m the person issuing the responses. When does that sagely wisdom stuff kick in? I could use it right about now.
Anyone out there want to give it a go? What are the stupid things you have done on interviews?