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As of yesterday, I’ve officially been laid off for 5 months now. 5 MONTHS!
And as of yesterday, I had my first job interview in those 5 months.
I’ve mentioned previously that the job market where I live is pretty bad. I knew that getting another job in academic support or as support staff within post-secondary education would mean being unemployed for the summer and going back-to-work with the back-to-school crowd in the fall.
Therefore, I foolishly spent most of the last 5 months holding out for news on being rehired and didn’t really take my job searching as seriously as I should have been.
I was really anticipating and sort of relying on getting my old job – but I found out 2 weeks ago that that wasn’t happening after all.
Thankfully, I was smart enough to keep an eye on multiple job boards, and applied for a very similar position at the University back in mid-August. After a delay on their end, I got an email last week (at 10:30pm, no less) inviting me to interview for the position, and had my interview yesterday.
The interview was made up of two parts – the formal interview and a 10 minute presentation I had to prepare and present related to working with “at-risk” students. It took me about 2 or 3 days to prepare the short presentation, but I was simultaneously preparing for the interview by learning about the services available on campus, the university’s policies, etc.
I was very confident going into the interview. So much so that I opened a new chequing account with Tangerine bank. (Please use my referral code – 32872052S1 – if you sign up! Pretty please?)
My thought was if I had successfully landed a similar role last year at the college with less experience and with the interview being the same day I was broken-up with, I had this! (And it helped that I had discovered that my would-be boss/hiring manager is very good friends with one of the people I listed as a reference.)
But the interview was a lot more intense than I had anticipated!
Expecting the interview at the University to be similar to the interview I had at the College did not do me any favours. Everything about this interview was so much more focused and directly relevant to the position – including the interview panel that was made up of my would-be boss, 2 would-be coworkers and an HR rep. (At the college it was one manager, one co-worker, one HR person and 2 other randomly selected college staff members who only had a basic understand of the role.)
The presentation and interview took an hour, so there was a lot of
rambling talking on my part. I wasn’t nearly as focused as I’d have liked to have been, and I know I fumbled on one or two questions – including one about how to deal with ambiguous questions. (But there was at least 20 questions, so I guess that’s still a 90% success rate, right?)
My would-be boss was very hard to read. His expressions (or lack there of) gave me no indication if I was on the right track or not. The 2 would-be coworkers seemed to like me, though. They were both nodding their heads in agreement with a lot of what I said and smiling a lot.
I did leave things off on a what I feel is a very high note. When I asked a question about outreach efforts, one of the co-workers faces lit up and he said something to the effect of “Wow, that’s a GREAT question!” and eagerly turned to the boss for an answer. (At least that’s how I remember it happening…) The boss answered the question in detail and added that this role would play in a big part of implementing more outreach. Up until this point, there hadn’t been any mention of this being part of the job, so I really feel like I conveyed that not only am I on the same page as them, but I’m also thinking about the future success of the program. GO ME!
Unfortunately, this high dwindled quickly. By the time I got to my car, I had gone from feeling “great” about the interview to “good”. As the day progressed, I started questioning myself even more as “better” answers started popping into my head.
But, I keep reminding myself that I did do a good job. Yes I fumbled here and there, but I didn’t screw up or completely miss something important. I was friendly. I was professional. I was myself. I did the best that I could, and now it’s up to them to decide.
In the meantime, I’ve learned from my previous mistake and will continue to apply for any new opportunities that arise.
What signs do you look for during an interview to tell if you are doing well or not?
Why is it always so much easier to focus on the “negative” than the “positive”?
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