I just need to moan about yet another bad interview. I am so depressed and feel like I’ll never work again.
This time, again a different problem. Although this is guess work, in all three cases, because I don’t get feedback, just the absence of an offer. Sigh. This time, I was determined to stay calm and in one piece. I did do that, and it was hard. I determined to do nothing that might trigger emotions the morning of the interview, so I skipped my dance/shake routine. I also didn’t listen to music, but read in the subway on the way there instead. As well, I gave myself plenty of time to get ready and left very early, so I was not rushed at any point. That also helps with staying in one piece. I spoke to myself kindly, and located parts and asked them to sit this out, telling them that all was safe.
I also had a good enough suit and had polished my shoes. So. It might have been good to have had a haircut, but I have an appointment for next week, so there was nothing I could do on short notice.
I also talked about having an interview at a small church group I sometimes go to, and several people wished me luck, so I had that bit of support also, and the interview wasn’t a secret.
Those are all good things I need to do, and I am proud of myself for doing them.
I think the problem is I need to go back to what I was doing years ago, namely reading lists of interview questions from a library book, reading sample answers, and making up answers ready to go. When I try to be honest, it doesn’t work. I need readily constructed stories that make me look like a corporate superhero. It seems unjust that I have to do this. It seems stupid to me. But I think that’s how it is.
I have noticed before that when I have this sense of being truthful in interviews, it doesn’t help me get the job. These managers are looking for smart, packaged answers. I guess having the answers available does show you know how to play the game. I don’t think they greatly care what really happened. They want you to fit neatly into a prepared slot in their minds, by saying things they think show you are ‘good’.
I didn’t immediately think of my answers to their questions as problematic. I did notice that the main manager did not seem at ease with me walking me out. I suspected maybe it was my personality, because I caught him saying something under his breath to the other interviewer, something about one of those quiet ones – presumably he had wanted me to talk more. The recruiter had actually told me the manager prefers answers that are to the point and not rambling, but as it turned out, he rambled himself, so perhaps was looking for the same from me.
I was asked about what I felt was my greatest accomplishment in the last six month. I thought about it, had nothing prepared for this, and said I felt I did well adapting to such varied circumstances, situations and requirements in my last few contracts. When what I should have done is said I accomplished something they are specifically looking for – maybe something like that I became such a valued team player so quickly on a very diverse team in my last role. Which is somewhat of a lie, but they are looking specifically for a good team player. I’m stupid. I got a lot of low ball questions like that and didn’t take advantage of them at all.
Tell me about a situation where you dealt with conflict – that one is trickier. I should have had a story ready about how I was a miracle worker with a difficult person I suppose. Instead I said I’d had to interact with a manager who was very emotional and jumped to conclusions. I’d dealt with her by slowing things right down and figuring out what the problem actually was. They asked if our relationship had improved, and I should have said tremendously, and instead I said a bit, over time, but that people have their personalities and don’t change much! Which is perfectly true, but not what they’re looking for to fill in on their pre-printed interview sheets.
I suspect if they really liked me, if I had a shining personality that charmed them to bits, they might overlook these answers and give me the contract anyway. Since that’s not the case (even though I remained calm, even though I was adult the whole time 😦 ) , I won’t get a call back.
Trying to tell myself that I’ll get it right at some point. This time though, so many things that could go wrong were fine. I wasn’t triggered by therapy or by exercise at the time. The location was easy and so getting there didn’t stress me out. Next time, I might have to go when triggered, so emotional regulation becomes beyond my reach.
All I can do is proceed. I’ll get out a book of questions and answers, I’ll make some stuff up and memorize it, and hope for the best.
And these aren’t even great jobs. They’re short contracts, six months, no benefits. It’s hard not to feel like a loser, when I can’t even land one of these, but I musn’t. I have to keep trying, keep on top of it, hard as it is.