Feeling Great About Job Interviews (even if you don’t get the job!)

I recently went on an interview after not interviewing for a position in over twenty-five years. I had worked at the same firm for over fourteen years as an office manager and paralegal. I then worked with a new attorney helping him open his firm and running it with him for six years. Life happens, leading me to care for my brother (who is quadriplegic) for the last six years. During that time I obtained my bachelor’s degree hoping to obtain a career in some type of management. My aspirations were, and still are, to assist people in living happier lives in their careers, thus benefiting them and the company for which they work. My entire life has revolved around helping people. It is what I do. It is what I love. It is my passion.

The problem – what type of position do I look for? Where would that be? How do I find it? So, I decided to begin looking for any type of job that would be in an organization where I would eventually find my niche. I applied for whatever I could at a University, hoping to benefit from the ability to take classes to obtain my masters. This is one of the toughest places to secure a position, as it is government run and has so much red tape.

I went through the application process and applied for various positions, including administrative assistant. I was contacted for an administrative assistant position. A bit over qualified, but I didn’t care. I just wanted a job there, any job. The day of the interview I wasn’t nervous at all. I was fifteen minutes early. I was ready! I went into the interview and one of the first things they said was “You’re resume is very impressive, but…” (the ever dreaded, but…) “You are over qualified. Why did you apply for this position?” Instead of sinking in my chair and thinking, “Oh great!” I had a perfect and truthful response. The interview went so well. It was smooth. It went so smoothly that it would put the models on a shampoo commercial to shame. They were talking 10-20 minutes for each person. They talked to me for over a half of an hour.

When I left the interview, I didn’t feel like I would get the position, due to their fears I might leave. I tried to qualm their fears as best I could, but felt I didn’t quite succeed. Even still, I left elated. I felt a sense of confidence in myself that was lacking prior to the interview. Even though I felt i would most likely not get the job, I felt like an olympian that has just won a gold medal (okay, well maybe a bronze).

Bottom line – interviewing for any position is never a waste of time. If you go on a hundred interviews, it is best to look at each of them as a learning experience. Don’t be afraid to call and ask why you didn’t get the job. You might be lucky enough to find someone who is actually willing to tell you what you could have done differently. You might also find that it had nothing to do with you.

Try not to focus on the fact that you didn’t “get the job.” Focus on what you learned from the experience. Know that you didn’t get that job because it wasn’t right for you. Whatever you do, stay positive. Your energy – the way you represent yourself, comes through in the interview. If you go into your 100th interview thinking, “I’m not going to get this job.” You won’t get the job! You have to treat each interview as if it is your first, but with the experience of all the past interviews. Just like every day of your life…live each day as a new day, but use the wisdom you have gleaned to live it well.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill

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