I’m attempting the somewhat terrifying task of transitioning from Peace Corps life to long-distance job-seeking for a future in New York City. To go back to the beginning of this story of transition, click here. For the second installment of my adventure, click here. The following is a quick update of my progress.
Interview Numéro Trois: My patient and friendly NYC recruiter liked me well enough to refer me up the chain and scheduled a skype interview with the person who would likely make the final decision on who they hire. It was just yesterday and ended somewhat incomplete with the interviewer asking to continue the conversation next week. That said, I haven’t really digested how it went well enough to say what went wrong and what went right. I will say this: nothing about it was as I expected, yet it was a pleasant experience.
I dressed well and found a quiet conference room to set up my computer for the interview. I practice skyped to make sure all was technologically sound and I could talk about myself effectively in spite of the anxiety. I rehearsed answers and double-, tripe-, quadruple checked that I looked well-groomed and professional. Then for whatever reason, my interviewer called me on my cell and it became a phone interview.
But the roles seemed reversed in our “interview”. She opened with asking for what questions I had about the position, and most of the conversation consisted of her talking about the role, the work environment it exists in, and how I would work with her if I were offered the job. Then I got to talk to the woman whose shoes I would fill, who also just wanted to answer my questions. It was a great chat and I learned a lot about what I was applying for—honestly just became more and more convinced that it’s exactly where I would thrive right now—but I don’t know that I sold them on me as a candidate. If anyone reading this has advice or comments about the peculiarity of this interview, I would love to hear it. As it is, I look forward to continuing my discussion with them next week. I’ll keep you posted. For now, I make these simple recommendations for a skype interview:
- Obviously, you do want to dress for the part on a skype interview. They can see you, duh.
- Make sure ALL of your means of communication are charged and ready—if my phone had been dead or close to it, my whole “skype interview” would have fallen through.
And a couple comments about job searching in general:
- Prepare, but I guess expect the unexpected! And if you have anxiety, do NOT have caffeine or large amounts of sugar within several hours of any interview.
- Yes, these tips take a lot of effort to follow. But if you’re not willing to make that effort, it’s likely due to a lack of enthusiasm about the career path you’re trying to go down. That lack of enthusiasm is almost guaranteed to show in an interview. Also, maybe there is something you could focus on that better lights your fire, thus being a better use of your time—I know we don’t always feel like we’re in a position to be flexible and/or picky. Some of us just need an income. But you can always apply for more than one kind of opportunity—apply for jobs you qualify for and can do that would get you that much-needed paycheck. ALSO apply for jobs that maybe you’re a bit less confident that you qualify for, but that you know you would LOVE doing. In many cases, your passion will more than make up for some lack of qualifying details. The worse they can do is say no. ;)
- And ALWAYS keep this in mind:
To those who are reading these tips and feel like they’re dying under the weight of hating the job search: I totally get it. I have always felt that way. For years, I was looking for a job that paid the bills and/or might someday give me an idea or direction of what to do with my life. Sometimes (like when you’re trying to pay your way through school), that’s just life. I hated it because I would try to follow tips like those in these blog posts, but I didn’t care about the companies I was applying to work for, making me feel disingenuous. I would dress up and try to brag about myself, but didn’t really have any experience, making me feel pretentious. And I’m a bad liar—people would just see right through it all.
But now I’ve accrued some experience, I have found what lights my fire, and I know what I’m aiming for. It makes for a completely different job-seeking experience. The tips I have been outlining here apply to everyone, but are definitely the easiest to follow for those in my current position, not for those who haven’t quite reached that sense of purpose. But I suggest getting to this point BEING your sense of purpose. Let your search for direction and meaning be the motivating factor that lights up your enthusiasm in your job search. The key is seeing every position you apply for as an opportunity for defining who you are as a professional. Potential employers will see that energy and, possibly, want to give it direction.
All that said though, I am still in the middle of my job search and am open to any tips or comments with regards to the process. Please share your stories, too.