As we said in Part I, I recently found myself reflecting on two clients of late who made us earn our keep! While there were unique elements to both situations that made them stand apart, they represented mindsets and behaviors that we often see repeated. This is the second of two blog opportunities dedicated to chronicling their experiences and sharing in their own words what they learned and wish they had known from the start. Sitting down with each of them, post-job acceptance celebration, here is Part II of what they shared:
What were your most difficult questions?
Tell me about a time when… The behavioral questions were hard at first, and it took me awhile to think of good examples. But once I got going they started to come. Some were examples from my volunteer work and some from jobs long ago. I didn’t want to keep only talking about my current job, so I tried to pull examples from throughout my past.
What would you say was the trickiest part of the whole experience?
Discussing next steps in an interview while waiting for a call back on my top pick, I was tempted to reveal that I had a better offer in the pipeline. I wanted to be honest and leave a good impression, but I had to learn that I don’t have to share everything and there isn’t much about my job search they need to know. I learned to treat every interview as its own thing unto itself and not worry about the juggling I was doing behind the scenes. Slow playing this one while trying to speed up that one isn’t easy, but you guys are Black Belts in this art so with your help I was able to make it all work out.
Were you always 100% qualified for each role?
No. I had a few sleepless nights because I was afraid they were going to test me on things I didn’t know very well. I finally realized that I knew what I knew and my experience was what it was. I couldn’t cram 45 YouTube videos into my head and effectively pull it off in the interview so I just had to be okay with what was. Once I had accepted that, I had a much more relaxed approach and felt a lot better.
How did you so successfully clear your phone screens?
I made a war room. Moving chairs and taking down pictures, I built a war room. I suppose I could have used a large table, but for me I wanted to use an open wall. Before each phone call, I would tape up the resume I had submitted for that position, my interview prep outline, the job description, and any other relevant information. I know we sound better when we stand up, so I stood at the wall throughout the phone call and was able to refer to notes and printed details. When it was time for the in-person interview, I took everything down and placed it in a folder so I could review it up until the time I left my car.
How did you close out your interviews?
Well you taught me to always ask about next steps, which I did, but before that I wanted to end on a positive note. So I usually asked what they thought had been a recent positive improvement or event, or what was their favorite part of the job. I just felt like asking about their least favorite thing would leave me connected with that negative emotion and I really didn’t want to do that. And yes, my final question was about next steps, accompanied by my exclamation that I would love to be a part.
This concludes our short series chronicling the experiences of two novice yet successful job seekers. They didn’t know what they were doing when they started, but now they know enough to write a short book. We hope their experiences serve to be useful to you, and who knows… we might meet future candidates who give us material for a Part III!