I haven’t been through many interviews in my lifetime. The few interviews that I have been through, I always felt let down and sad about myself afterwards. I thought I had left a terrible impression, that the employer hated me. Even after a few days passed and the job would call me to say I got it, I still thought the interview went terribly.
I suppose it’s some deeply rooted self-esteem nightmare hidden in the folds of my brain. I’ll dig it out of there eventually.
My practice interview with the Ball State Career Center went quite a different way. I felt prepared for the questions and confident in myself.
For my literary citizenship class, I was required to participate in a practice interview with Eric Deckers. I was terrified. I scrambled around Muncie for an interview suit. I practiced in the basement at work while I was counting the endless pile of lanyards (retail inventory, love it). I piled my hair into multiple different types of buns, seeing if I could ever tame my massive, frizz into something professional. This, was the end result.
I sat in the Ball State Career Center, feet tapping, just wanting this thing to be over. The suspense was the worst part. Finally, it was time for me to go in. I put on the most professional face I could muster, and gave it my all.
And it wasn’t so bad.
There were two questions I was completely unprepared for.
1. Tell me about a time when you didn’t get along with a supervisor.
This was a trap. Definitely a trap. You do not EVER want to bad mouth a supervisor. I danced around my experience working at Buffalo Wild Wings. I spoke about a supervisor playing favorites, and how I never quite understood the social ropes. He said this was fine, but I must be very careful next time. Do not fall for this trap.
2. What kind of salary are you looking for?
This one threw me for a loop. I had no idea what a social media marketer should be making. Eric gave me some wonderful advice. You don’t ever want to throw out a number first, the company interviewing you will either think you are highballing it or low balling it. Try to turn the question back to them, asking things like, “What did you have in mind?” If they answer, you’re off the hook! If not, just say something like, “Well, this is something we can negotiate at a later time.”
There is something about interviews that make me really itchy. I feel plastic in my fancy clothes, light make up, my wrist tattoo covered with bandaids and sleeves. The person I’m showing them is not really me. The me I know can’t shine through the stress, the sweat, the suit. How much of yourself should you show in an interview?
Eric says, despite your nerves, show most of it. During an interview, the person isn’t only looking to see if you are qualified, they are also trying to see if you are a good fit for the company. You must show them your personality. If they don’t want to hire you due to who you are, you probably wouldn’t have been happier working there anyway. Take things as they are.
However, you do have to hide your crazy. At least until they say, “We like you.”
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