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The Interview: Sell and Be Sold

Posted by | November 8, 2016 | Interviews

Via LinkedIn : A certain desperation sets in when you’re looking for a job. Slowly cover letters become more similar, hours can speed by as you dizzily apply to jobs that a month ago you wouldn’t have considered, and sometimes you get responses from positions to which you have no recollection of applying.

After a spring spent applying to internship after internship and hearing nothing encouraging in response, I unconsciously adopted the mindset that I would be lucky to be accepted to any position. I stopped looking for a position that was any kind of perfect.

I had been looking forward to Monday, October 24th for weeks. In September, I had been doing research on organizations for which I wanted to work and blindly sent a resume and cover letter to what I thought would be my dream job. I was stunned to not only receive a response from them but to have gotten an interview. I felt validated, excited, and accomplished. Not only had I garnered their attention, but I was invited to come into their headquarters to meet with their founder.

The earliest date they had available for an interview was over a month away, so for weeks I worried and daydreamed about how October 24th, the date burned into my mind, would go. When that Monday finally came, I felt like how I do on my birthday- it was a normal day where I still had to do normal things, but there was a halo over everything, and I couldn’t not be excited.

I traveled the 30 minutes to the interview, and arrived feeling calm and prepared. I was given forms to fill out upon arrival, and I took a seat in the waiting area next to a woman filling out similar forms. I asked her if she was also interviewing, and she said she was. She told me her appointment had been for thirty minutes before mine, and by the time she was called in, it was past even my appointment time. We seemed to be the only two people waiting, so I felt some frustration at the delay considering there was no one being interviewed before us and we weren’t told what was going on.

As the other woman finally went into her interview, I settled into my seat to wait out what I believed would be a lengthy conversation between her and the organization’s founder. To my surprise, she emerged not ten minutes later, shaking her interviewer’s hand and thanking her profusely in a polished voice she hadn’t used when speaking to me.

I was called in next, and despite my annoyance at the delay, I was excited to learn about the company and the position. We entered a small, windowless room, and I awkwardly sunk into the couch my interviewer gestured towards.

“So,” she began, “what made you interested in us?”

I began my answer enthusiastically, discussing my personal interest as well as my past experiences.

“Okay,” she said, when I was finished. She proceeded to describe the duties of the position, the hours, and the benefits. And then it was over.

She told me they would be reaching out to my references as we stood and she ushered me out into the waiting room I had occupied only moments before. Despite my confusion and disbelief, I shook her hand and thanked her for the opportunity. Almost in a daze I walked out into the cool fall afternoon, and stood on the sidewalk, unsure what to do next.

Slowly the stupor lifted, and I felt myself fill with anger. I had waited weeks for the interview, traveled into the city, and been ready to have an in-depth conversation about a position in which I was quite interested. Instead I had been met with poor communication, an interviewer who didn’t care what had come out of my mouth when she asked a single, vague question, and an organization that did not respect its applicants. The five minutes I had spent talking to the founder had given her no more information about who I was and what I was capable of than she had had before.

Having experienced the organization and its staff, I suddenly couldn’t imagine working there. Not only had the interview been conducted poorly, I had felt no enthusiasm from my interviewer about the work she did. I’ve had interviews with people who are proud to work where they do, and it’s easy to recognize that excitement in someone. The woman I had spoken to that day had had the attitude that I was a checkbox on her to-do list. She wasn’t interested in hiring an employee, but a cog in her machine. She mentioned nothing about herself or her company, and had done nothing to convince me I should want to work with her.

I realize now the respect I need to have for myself when applying for jobs. I used to accept with gratitude any response about a position, so desperate was I for a job. But if a company does not even respect itself enough to conduct effective interviews with people they might hire, I realize now that that is not a place I want to work. As a young adult who has heard for as long as I can remember that finding a job is more difficult now than ever before, I failed to accurately see my worth as a potential employee. In the future when I am applying and interviewing for a job, I will remember that as much as I am trying to sell myself to the company, I need to be sold on the company as well.

#StudentVoices

Source : LINKEDIN | The Interview: Sell and Be Sold

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