What I learned during the interview process

When I was actively searching for jobs, the interview process always freaked me out.

People asking you to basically brag about yourself…it really wasn’t something I was good at. I would prep the night before and then freeze on the phone or worse, in person!

I wanted desperately to be perfect.

Why?

Because I had been so out of practice with interviews. You have to remember, my last job interview was almost seven years ago. A lot had changed and these were for more professional positions…positions that I wanted desperately, but never felt good enough to have.

There’s no doubt that the job search is hard! It’s another full-time job. And honestly, writing cover letters and submitting various versions of my resume was the last thing I wanted to do after working all day. I was so mentally drained when I got home that I could barely muster cohesive thoughts let alone translate them into a Word document.

Nevertheless, the very few (three, in fact) interviews that I had taught me a lot!

  1. I DID NOT want to be in sales
  2. I could use these moments as practice
  3. I needed more skills related to the jobs I was pursuing.

Sales? Practice? Skills? Whaaattt?

Let me explain

I did not want to be in sales

I was once told that I’d be good at sales because I have a great personality. While I appreciated the character compliment, sales just never fit me. A lot of people have great personalities and don’t work in sales, and there’s a reason for that.

For one, being in sales takes a completely different mindset. You have to be good at persuasion, spend time learning product and then translate that into a genuine conversation with a customer. And that’s even more difficult if it’s not what you want to be doing. And sales was something I didn’t want to be doing.

Yeah, but isn’t the money decent?

Sure, but to me, my mental health and sanity far outweighed the money. So this is a great example of how money isn’t everything.

My first two interviews following college were for sales reps positions with AT&T and an office supply company. Now, I’m not knocking people who work in these industries and find fulfillment in it…that’s great! What was most disheartening for me was that these job descriptions and titles were labeled as wanting people who were SPORTS MINDED and MARKETING MINDED.

Perfect! Two of the industries I was trying to pursue, right?!

WRONG! Those titles and job descriptions couldn’t have been further from what I ended up interviewing for…sales.

About 5 minutes into each of these interviews, I quickly realized this and shifted my thinking to using these as practice interviews, paying more attention to how I answered or how I presented myself, rather than focusing on getting the job.

In the end, both companies called back…because, again, I’d be great in sales, remember?

I never returned their phone calls and moved on.

I could use these moments as practice

I kinda explained this above, but I used the very few interviews I had as practice to help get me back in the game. I had done so much and accomplished a lot between the last time I had a job interview until now. So, I was welcoming of all the resources and live action I could get.

With each passing interview, my confidence grew just a little bit more. And I had to keep reminding myself that every bad opportunity was leading me closer to the right one. Little did I know that it was all just a leading me in a direction and desire to pursue freelance writing and work for myself.

I needed more skills related to the jobs I was pursuing

I’ve touched on this topic in a previous post, but I find it so important to my current development that I have to mention it here. By the time I was denied for a job that I truly wanted and would have been great at, I realized that I had to find a way to develop the skills that I wanted. I also hadn’t written anything in a while because I felt so defeated by my failed attempts at finding a job. I didn’t have the motivation to write anything.

In fact, I almost gave it up altogether. But deep down, I knew that I couldn’t just walk away from something that I felt in my heart was right, just to take another corporate or office job that paid better. I’d be giving up on something that hadn’t even started.

So, I set out to gain those skills. And I can honestly say, I feel more fulfilled and like I’m actually gaining skills that are invaluable. I’ve been able to read up on things in my industry and watch 14 minute YouTube training videos.

In the end, the interview process was just another thing that I can reflect on, now. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you to keep pursuing your dreams and always remember that eventually, you’ll be right where the universe needs you to be.

It’s a frustrating process. Trust me, I know. But I have found something so rewarding in this endeavor that I feel I can pass these thoughts along to you, hoping you find some encouragement in my struggles.

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