I freely confess that I have been one of the world’s worst interviewees in the job world. My first interview ended with me being speedily ushered out of a giant global airline company. The second one got me a job but probably more through dumb luck than any skills.
Back to the first one. I was ill prepared (which is always a very bad thing), dressed inappropriately (another goof) and I didn’t mesh with the culture of the organization. When I realized that I was being viewed as ‘too fancy’ for the job, I responded by telling the woman that nothing was too fancy for me since I had heaved sheep over fences. That was one sheep too far. I was gone immediately.
The second one involved a different approach. Changed clothing down the economic scale, and decided to just listen. That didn’t work too well at first since instead of offering too much information I offered too little and suggested the interviewer simply read my resume. I have no clue actually why I got offered the job after that inauspicious start.
So what advice do I have? There is kind of an emotional aroma about various places and circumstances, and it can be critical for us to be very receptive to the clues in the interview, many of which are subtle. Interviews, or for that matter, all relationships whether professional or personal, have a certain style. No matter which side of the interview you are on, you need to assess the ‘fit’.
There are interviews also in the non job world. Such as meeting a future spouse’s or partner’s family. Or how about if you are asked to join a group, or a community event. Do you fit in? Do you even want to? And yes, you do have a choice about it.
In many ways throughout life, we have to decide if we want to fit in, if we want to spend time with these people. Are they a bunch of cacti- like people with very sharp edges? Or are they friendly and welcoming, where you know you will feel at home? Being in tune with yourself as well as your surroundings helps each of us avoid potential mistakes. Bad spouses, terrible jobs, fraying relations in your community. Each of these can make you miserable. It is sort of like trying on a new pair of shoes only to find that they pinch horribly and you want to get rid of them shortly after buying them.
Being comfortable in an environment where you feel you can thrive is critical and it takes all of your analytical skills and people antennae to be sure you get the right fit. Have you had this kind of an experience? Let me know. I’d like to hear from you. And be tenacious with your next pair of ‘shoes’!