Job hunting is literally like being on a website like Plenty of Fish, OKCupid and/or Tindr. Think about it.
You put yourself out there with emails, faxes and mailed applications only to wait and see if someone bites. It’s like speed dating, you try a bunch of different flavors in your field of study or previous employment and pray you find the perfect match or at least something to settle on until something better comes around. You call some people, maybe chat and then hang up wondering if they liked you and if they will call you back.
Interviews are the first date. It’s so important that you put your best foot forward. So, what do you do? You put on you business best, maybe even your business casual best. You make sure your hair is done in a way that is both respectable and proper for the work environment. You practice smiling and holding out you hand for handshakes that you know you’ll have to give. You put on lotion so your hands aren’t dry and pray they don’t start sweating because you are, in fact, nervous about this interview. You spend hours in front of a mirror making sure all of that looks okay and even more time in your car practicing because, fuck it, you can’t have too much practice smiling and extending your hand for a handshake.
On the drive there you practice saying “Hello, nice to meet you,” because you don’t want to sound nervous and squeaky. Guys probably practice lowering their voice a bit so they sound manly, but I wouldn’t know because I am not a guy. Every person on the road is merely an obstacle in your way to the job. You’re late! You’re not actually late but you figure that some jerkoff is going to cause a thirteen car pileup that will make your commute take an extra 15-30 minutes. Taking a train or metro there? Well, forget it, you’re not getting there sweetheart. Your date, the interviewer, is going to take your lateness as a sign that you are just completely unreliable. In your mind they hate you already. Damn.
Surprise, you actually made it on time. In fact, you made it there fifteen minutes early! Good job! You park or exit the tunnel and see the building you hope will be somewhere you’ll need to go to for a long time (at least until you find something better). You enter. A nice later directs you to the waiting area where you will be doing mental gymnastics until some guy or gal comes out in a nice suit and introduces themselves as the person you’ll be interviewing with. You practiced this, you practiced smiling, saying “Hello, nice to meet you,” and holding out your hand for the important first handshake. You do it. In your mind you botched it. Your voice cracked, your hands are sweating more than normal now and maybe your smile is looking a little Joker-esque. Damn.
Nevertheless, you both proceed to an office. It’s clean, the chairs are semi-comfortable. This person you are talking to is very high up in the company and you feel a bit sick looking at all of their awards and degrees on the wall. You begin to question whether or not this person is merely using you as a break in their day. This person in the nice suit begins to tell you that they have reviewed your resume and liked what they saw, they then go on a spiel about what their company is about and where you would fit in “if” selected.
“If.” That word bounces around in your head as they proceed to talk. Even though you are trying your hardest to maintain eye contact and not at appropriate times, that word, “if,” continues to echo through your whole entire body. Are your palms making a puddle on the arm rest, crap, beter nonchalantly wipe them on the pants you spent thirty minutes picking out.
At the conclusion of your interview the interviewer looks at a stack of paper, shuffles it around and puts into another pile with even more papers. At this point they’ll say something to you along the lines of:
“Any questions for me?”
“It was a pleasure to meet you.”
“You’re so funny/charming/sweet.”
“You’re the [insert number here] person I’ve seen today.”
After that they’ll usually let you know when you can expect a call back “if” they select you. “If”
This is your second chance to use you smile and shake combo, don’t mess it up. You’ll feel like you did. You say goodbye to the nice lady at the front desk and leave the building back to your car. Maybe you feel good about the interview, maybe you don’t, either way you will spend the rest of the car ride hoping you hear back from them in a week or so. A week is a very long time, you realize as you drop your car into drive.
The ride back home seems slower not because you’re calm but because you keep running the whole thing through your mind wondering how you could have locked in the job that day. Maybe you could have told a joke? Maybe you could have had a firmer handshake. Did you brush your teeth this morning?
Either way it is completely out of your hands and all you can do now is wait to hear from them.
Just like with dating, for your own mental health, try not to dwell on it. After an interview go workout, write a poem or watch some anime. The worst thing you can do to yourself is sit around moping about how it could have gone better, you will, but give yourself an hour max to sit in self pity and move on from it. Apply to my jobs, keep putting yourself out there. The thing you should take from every interview is that someone wanted you. Someone viewed your resume and took a moment to read it over a couple of times. They even contacted you just so they could meet you in person. Never forget that the people interviewing you are taking time out of their day to talk to you, so they are going to try and keep that number as small as possible and find the right candidate from that select group. Try your best to make every interview a positive experience.
Listen to them as well. If they ask about something that is super relevant and sought after in the line of work that you are trying to get into, make sure that something finds it’s way onto your resume. Your resume is your dating profile when it comes to applying to jobs so, put your best foot forward always. Always be looking at your resume, it can always be better. Figure out what are some needed skills for your line of work and make sure you have them on your resume and in that beautiful brain of yours.
Eventually you will find the right place for yourself as long as you keep pushing and stay positive. Not getting a call back is not the end of the world. I forgot that when I fell into a deep despair over this one place not calling me back after what I thought was a great interview. Truth is, I don’t know what would have happened if I worked there. I could have hated it. You just never know.
Anyway, this ended up a lot longer than I thought it would be. TL,DR version: stay positive, be happy and keep on trucking.