Interview Fails

I’ve been looking for work.  Went in to my dream job and got to have the meeting where I was informed of a winning ticket of the layoff lottery.  So I get to interview for a new position.

Unemployment is a package deal that comes with a treasure box of the unwelcome, and it is alarmingly easy to fall into the traps hidden inside.  A shaking of one’s confidence, concern for how to stretch out your cash on hand and keeping the bills paid, working hard to get an interview, having to walk in and fighting a sense of not being good enough, fear of rejection.  With all this is seems like depression is making a comfy bed for the unemployed and inviting you to lay down and sleep. I’d have to admit I’ve had a nap or two there.

Yesterday I had an interview.  I’m sure you have been there in this phase where you wait for a response and panic and paranoia come join you. Oh man am I gonna get this job? I totally screwed up on how I answered that question. I should have worn something else. Crap I didn’t sit up straight.  We take all these things as inputs to answer the question: “how did the interview go?”

Today, however, I find myself answering the question of how did the interview go in a completely different manner.  I don’t care about what I wore, or if was slouching at a particular moment or if I put my hands together in the right way to convey a sense of wisdom.  Today is a different day, and Today Is Great. I think about what this company was doing and I am just saying over and over again, “That’s pretty freaking cool!”  I’m enamored by the prospect of doing things I love: Python, Selenium, Robot, Django, etc.  I’m chomping at the bit thinking about the prospect of getting to test AI.  I don’t even know if I got this job or not.  I actually find myself thinking it doesn’t matter.

I find myself revisiting other interviews in my head and thinking of a company that has found a new way for customers to pay for their product that costs the customer nothing – and without going into details that are not mine to share; it is pretty dang cool!  I got to have just enough detail shared with me that I can walk away with a new way to evaluate problems and maybe I’ll get to use a similar technique someplace else.  I am the better off, simply for having been to the interview, even if it didn’t result in a position for me.  Our default assumption is to think of an interview that doesn’t result in an offer as a failure, and I don’t think that is true anymore. I think of the interview where I could tell the hiring manager was on a collision course with disaster, and I’m thrilled I am not taking a trip on the same train that is about to crash.

I’m convinced that none of these interviews have been a waste of time.  They all have benefited me.  Did I get a job from any of them?  Not yet, but I am convinced that one of the people I am interacting with will be instrumental in activities that result in a position that is a good fit for me and for the company I give my skills to.  Everyone else I have talked to has helped my by teaching me, exposing me to new things and sharing with me a bit of their day to day life that has left me better off.  There are no failures in interviewing, there’s a sharpening of the clarity that is needed to find the perfect fit, there is meeting other people in the same industry who share their perspective, there is learning about a different technology that might be helpful, there is learning about what another company does and I am sure there are other surprises that await me as I go to more interviews between now and my next role. For that I am grateful.