40+ applied jobs. 15 phone interviews. 7 in-person interviews. 0 full-time job offers. This has been my life since I’ve been out of college. To say I am on the edge of despair is an understatement. Personally, I am not someone who deals with rejection very well. I have been lucky in the past that internships and jobs I had secured while in school I got almost on the spot. Interviews had never been a problem for me. This has not been the case however searching for a “real” job.
After about the 4th in-person interview I started to get down on myself. I couldn’t understand why I was not getting job offers after feeling well in the interview. Was it because I wasn’t qualified? Did I say the wrong thing in the interview? Was my age playing a factor? I would discuss to my family and friends about how negative I felt searching for a job and how I was WAY too stressed out about it.
But, then I had an epiphany.
Looking back on my first interview, I was a nervous wreck who stumbled across her words when speaking and sat awkwardly unsure of what to do with her hands. A lot of “umm’s” and “yeah, so..” were used more than I would like to admit. I had never done a real interview for a company and in all honesty went in unprepared.
Spoiler Alert: I didn’t get that job. Or the next 5 interviews I went on.
Each interview I had gone on these last three months had different titles, industries, company sizes, and even locations. Yet, no offers were coming in for me. Opening up the generic HR email saying the company was moving forward with another candidate was like being sucker-punched by a 4-year old.
If I had to write a book about my life it would be called, Diary Of A Serial Interviewer: Does Practice Makes Perfect? due to the amount of interviews I had gone on.
The last interview I went on however, I felt a tad different. With a couple notches in my belt, I felt much better about answering the employee’s questions sitting across from me with no hesitation. I engaged in witty conversations with the interviewers and came across much more relaxed and relatable. This cool, calm, and collected person I had become was due to the experience from going on so many interviews. Most people wanna know common things about you. Sooo the same questions would be asked almost every time.
Some questions that I guarantee you have heard in interviews include…“Tell me a little bit about yourself” or “What would you say is something you struggle with?” or “Why did you apply for this job?”. The list could go on. But instead of giving plain answers I now knew key words that made me sound more confident and not rehearsed like a robot.
Nobody said the job hunt is easy. It’s stressful, long, and feels like one long exam that tests your mental sanity. But like everything in life, practice makes perfect. Polishing up on interview skills such as: body language, common phrases that can be used, and preparing for any questions that may be asked will truly make you a boss at interviewing. Even though I have not nailed down a perfect job yet, I feel 10x more confident talking to potential future employers based on all of the interviews I have gone on.
My advice for post-grad girls: don’t look at a bunch of interviews as a bad thing. Instead, take it as a class being put on by life (free-of-charge) that will give you an edge for the future.