In my adult life, I’ve pretty much been offered every job I’ve ever interviewed for.
Actually that’s not true.
There was one spring break during my undergrad days when my then boyfriend, J, and I were traveling through Idaho on our way down to canyon country, and we convinced some land managers to interview us for upcoming summer field work. I had three interviews in the space of a couple days.
The first interview J and I both blew because we were driving from Washington and had forgotten to take the time change into account. We showed up precisely one hour late for our appointment. The manager we had arranged to see was a big, stern man. He was not very friendly, though he did interview us. It was only after we had left his office and were analyzing the interaction that we realized our mistake. He never said a word to either of us about being late. But he didn’t contact us again to offer us positions on his field crew, either.
The second job interview I blew, that long-ago spring break, took place in front of a panel of people. I had never interviewed in front of a panel before, and was intimidated both by their formal-looking conference room and by their formal, obscure questions that I had no idea how to answer. “Tell us about a time you handled conflict in a previous job.” “Tell us your greatest strength and greatest weakness.” Maybe I should’ve been prepared for that kind of an interaction, but I was young and ignorant and nervous, and I completely blew it. When I left the office afterwards and J told me about his well-thought out responses, it was all I could do to keep from crying. He got that job. I did not. (I later went home and asked Google everything it knew about common interview questions. You can ask me just about anything now and I will hit your question out of the ballpark. Or at least, I won’t turn into a stuttering, nervous mess.)
The third interview I went to that spring was more like what I had previously been used to. I was taken into an office and sat down with two employees, one of whom had a scruffy beard and wore a knit hat. They chatted with me about my employment and educational background, and told me what the crew they were hiring for was going to be doing when summer came. I did get a job offer out of that meeting, but it came late, and when it did I had already agreed to return to my field crew from the previous year.
So, I do know something about failure. But I still hate it.
Today I was turned down for another job. I interviewed for it last week, and I thought I did really well in the interview. I was chatty but professional, I came up with thoughtful answers to both the usual inane questions and to the unusual, well-thought-out questions. I had questions for my interviewers about the organization. I was enthusiastic.
But, I didn’t get the job. The email I received today was of the awful, impersonal variety that doesn’t really tell you anything except for the very obvious: That jobs are hard to get, and there are a lot of people out looking for them right now.
“Dear Ms. ___,
Thank you for your interest in the position at our organization. I regret to inform you that we have selected another candidate based on their qualifications and experience for the position.
We had a highly competitive pool of candidates, and we appreciate you taking the time to apply and interview with us.
I wish you the best in your job search.
*Sigh.* It’s not the end of the world, but I hate job searching; it feels like I imagine it would feel to be thrown into the dating pool again: Scary and frustrating. I am not thrilled to be returning to the hours of reading the job boards, making perky phone calls to strangers, or tweaking my resume and cover letter to make myself seem the perfect fit for one specific job, one job of many.
But here I go. As my neighbor in Washington once told me when I was apartment-hunting and a deal on an amazing-looking place fell through, “It will all turn out for the best. You’ll find something else that really works for you, and maybe it will be better than the opportunity that didn’t work out.”
Here’s to hoping!