Does interviewing put you on edge? Tune in to hear Andrea Dake’s nightmare interview story.
Far beyond any other aspect of job hunting, we hear overwhelmingly from our members that interviewing is by far the most intimidating and stressful part of the process. We get it! Believe it or not, we get just as anxious for you when you’re asked to interview for a position and we are professionals! We’ve got lots of great tips to offer you – we can role play, answer your specific questions, teach you how to address the gap on your resume, show you how to field those “trick questions” (“what is your biggest weakness” anybody?) and lots more. Just ask us! Even then, we’re not always going to nail Every. Single. Interview. We all have distractions in our lives, let our nerves get the better of us, have a super stressful morning, etc. All of which could affect us throughout the day.
Now, sit back, relax and let me tell you about an interview that I BOMBED not that long ago…..
It was a crisp, winter day in the early weeks of 2012 and I had just moved to Knoxville, TN about 3 months prior. I had taken a few months to settle in and decided to start job hunting after the New Year. I worked with a head hunter to find a job and within days was confirmed for an interview at a large, publicly traded company in Knoxville. Wonderful! I wasn’t all that nervous about the interview – I had moved to TN from New York City where I had worked with a head hunter there to find my first job out of college and she was BRUTAL. Seriously – she tore me to pieces the first time I met with her. She told me EXACTLY what to wear, how to style my hair, told me I needed a manicure and asked if I owned some pearls. She even gave me a list of other firms to name drop as places I was also interviewing at during my first interview (one of them being Lehman Brothers, which doesn’t hold the same prestige these days).
Anyway, the day before my interview, my throat gets sore and I start sneezing. I tried to self-medicate with a heavy dose of denial as I prepared for my interview. The next day, it was even worse. I had a fever, my ears were clogged and I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t breathe out of my nose, couldn’t stop sneezing and couldn’t control what was coming out of my nose. Awesome. But I felt like it would be really bad form to cancel my interview, so I went.
I met with a Regional VP and the Regional CFO of the company. The CFO was great and I felt like I had masked my symptoms pretty well. Then I met with the VP – not so great. I have no idea what it was but I had to say “excuse me?” several times because I couldn’t hear his questions. I had to breathe out of my mouth the entire time because my nose was SO stuffed up, which is super attractive. I ran out of tissues during the interview and all of mine were nasty. The room was spinning, my eyes were watering. I was a total catch.
Needless to say, I did not get called back for a second interview. I took a position at another company a few weeks later and life went on. 18 months later, I was asked to interview for a position working for that same Regional VP’s boss in their corporate headquarters and landed the job with little to no issue! Oh sweet, sweet irony.
Looking back, I should have handled that situation differently. First of all, I should have CALLED (not emailed) my head hunter and told her the issue. Calling lends some authenticity to the situation. Then I should have offered to call both of the gentlemen I was scheduled to interview with and explained the situation with some (but not gross) details and immediately rescheduled the interview for the following week. Then when I would have come back to interview, I should have immediately addressed my rescheduling, and thank them for their flexibility and understanding. But, in my fever induced stupor, I decided to go to their office, sneeze on everything and then be shocked when they didn’t want to shake my hand at the end. Coulda. Shoulda. Woulda.
I will say that if I had gotten that job, the chances of me getting the even better one later on would have been nil, so there’s my silver lining. In the end, we all have to make judgement calls. Just try not to make them with a fever of 103 and while on way more cough medicine than the bottle recommends….