We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve sat on seek.com.au or mycareer.com.au, eagerly applying for a handful of roles in desperation that one of them sticks, so that we can leave our current workplace as soon as possible.
The following day, the phone rings. The hiring manager tells us they’d like to arrange an interview for a role we applied for. Now in the light of day, after a good sleep, that role is no longer as appealing as it seemed the night before. You agree to attend, but then the day of the interview you think to yourself, “I just can’t be bothered going.”
Perhaps you no longer feel that you would jump at any opportunity? Perhaps, after further research, you’ve found roles that are better suited to you? Or perhaps you just don’t feel like being exposed to an interview situation, the questions, the polite exchange of pleasantries, and the general judging that comes along with it, on that particular day?
I understand. There have been MANY times that I’ve felt this way too, and I used to push myself to go to these interview anyway.
Why go to that interview when you don’t want to?
When you’re going through the recruitment process (and even if you’re not actively searching for a role), practice makes perfect!
The meer act of putting on your suit, shaking hands with the hiring manager or recruiter, answering their questions about your experience and asking them relevant questions to have them be interested in taking this conversation further, is a learnt skill and something that with time will become innate to you.
The more interviews that you go to, the more you will start to see a pattern emerge in terms of format, and questions that you get asked. In time, you will also develop patterns around your answers. You’ll see which answers work best, and which don’t work as well, and this will mean that when THAT job comes up, the one that you REALLY want, you’ll already have practiced and will be ready to go and knock their socks off!
By this time, you will have seen a wide array of interviewer types (and the personalities that go along with them), you will have been exposed to many different questions (some that you would have never thought that you could be asked), and you’ll generally feel and act more confident, and at ease in your own shoes at an interview. And this makes you very attractive to potential employers.
(Oh, and you’ll also get over the *oh my gosh, this is the best job in the world, the only job for me, I have to have it* syndrome, which will allow you to breathe easy before interviews in general)
You can never make too many useful connections these days. It’s best not to burn any bridges by not turning up to an interview that you agreed to. One day you skip an interview with hiring manager X, the next day, hiring manager X is your new boss at work! First impressions last, and it’s hard to undo the idea in someone else’s head, that you’re unreliable and flighty!
Be responsible for your actions. Look at the positives. As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. In this situation, not only are you able to practice your interview skills, but you can use this as an opportunity to really build your rapport building skills.
See if you can strike up a conversation of interest, that really engages your interviewer. The art of conversation with strangers doesn’t come naturally to everyone, is a learnt skill, and is one that is increasingly important today. Building this muscle will help you tremendously when you go to networking events (which, by the way, you should be going to!) will help in creating successful business relationships (you’ll get buy-in easier as well as respect) and will also teach you to build that elusive skill of like-ability.
It’s happened to me so many times. I didn’t want to go to an interview. I made myself go, was so relaxed about it because I knew that I didn’t want the role, I ended up getting on with the hiring manager like a house on fire as a result, built great rapport, enjoyed the dynamic, loved the role explanation, and ended up really seeing myself working for this company (after being so sure that I didn’t want to).
Sometimes we make judgements way sooner than we should. We think we know what the role will entail just by looking at the position description. We believe that the company sounds boring, when in actual fact, we’d be part of an amazing, high-performing team. We would rather stay at work yet end up meeting the manager/mentor that we’ve been looking for to inspire us.
Lastly, if you’re banking on a particular position to come through that you really want, don’t stop interviewing until you have the offer. Anything can happen until that point in time, and you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, only to have nothing come of it.
Don’t miss what can be an amazing opportunity because of assumptions! I’ve found, that it’s always the unexpected roles that take you by surprise, and have ended up being the dream jobs I was waiting for.