So, How Did Your Job Interview Go?

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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”?

About the Author
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Amanda is the owner and creator of My Life, I Guess... a personal finance and lifestyle blog that started back in 2013. She strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes and making the most of it.

 

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15 thoughts on “So, How Did Your Job Interview Go?

  1. Alicia

    So much easier said than done, but let it be. Don’t undercut yourself with the perfectly scripted answers you could have come up with outside of the pressure environment, and after hours of thinking about it. Of course those will be a bit more thoughtful and focused.

    I’m rooting for you. :)

    Reply

  2. Anne @ Money Propeller

    Rehashing interviews in your mind sucks! I know exactly what you mean. That’s awesome that you put out a great question there!

    Reply

  3. Erin @ Journey to Saving

    It sounds like you did well to me, especially considering it took an hour! I’ve never been through such a rigorous interview in one sitting. Asking great questions is definitely key in being remembered, so I think you scored well with that. It’s hard not to walk away from an interview thinking you could have done better, but my fingers are crossed for you!

    Reply

  4. Myles Money

    The guy with the red hair seems to like you a LOT. The other guy, not so much… :)

    Don’t beat yourself up about the interview: it sounds like you did a brilliant job. And asking the outreach question could well have clinched it for you. Keep us posted when they call you back for a 2nd interview.

    Reply

  5. May

    Oh how I despise interviews. I am sure you did fine and it is easy to overthink it afterwards. I completely bombed my last interview – but was lucky that my references and background saved me. Good luck!!

    Reply

  6. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver

    I look for smiling and nodding, too! I always hate interviewers that don’t nod or smile, even a little bit. I mean, come on. It’s an interview, people are nervous! You could TRY not to be a jerk! I just went on an interview 2 weeks ago, and 2 of the interviewers didn’t smile or nod AT ALL (I also didn’t get the job, but that’s ok- it was a huge long shot).

    It’s easier to focus on the negative because that’s what burns into your brain! I know, haha :) But it sounds like you really prepared and were thorough, so I have high hopes for you. Crossing my fingers! :)

    Reply

  7. debs @ debtdebs

    Panel interviews are always intimidating. I guess the hiring manager thought the other two were smiling enough for all of them, so she didn’t want to ‘tip the cart’. ha ha I hope that you get the job or an even better one may come your way. It’s always best to expect the worst and hope for the best. Good luck, Amanda!

    Reply

  8. Bridget

    I ALWAYS feel that sense of “nailed it!” immediately after the interview, then about an hour later I’m like “oh god it was horrible”. Chances are you can’t appropriately assess how you did… but chances also are that you did just fine.

    Don’t sweat it. I’m sure you did great!!

    Reply

  9. KK @ Student Debt Survivor

    I’m sure you did awesome. It’s always easy to “over-think it” and think about what you “should have said”, but don’t do that to yourself. Today I interviewed a candidate for a job opening on my team. He was so nervous and I felt so bad for him. I remember how nerve racking it can be to interview, especially with the team you’d be working with.

    Reply

  10. NZ Muse

    The weird thing about interviewing is having to pump yourself up and really throw yourself into it, committing to the job. And then to stay sane, you need to totally disengage and forget about it – write it off in your mind. Sigh.

    Sounds like you did pretty well. Gosh 5 months is a long time! You deserve your big break.

    Reply

  11. Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income

    I love when people come in prepared for interviews. It is so refreshing and shows a lot of initiative and drive. Those that have zero questions for me just leave me baffled…so do you really want the job or are you just interviewing and hoping someone makes a mistake and picks a warm body. I don’t expect interviews to go perfect. Our HR makes us throw in random, unrelated questions just to see how people react in an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes it’s kind of funny, but we can’t really score a person based on the question. We just want to see if they totally melt down or not. “If you had to be a car, what kind of car and why?” What the crap does that have to do with health care.

    If they keep asking questions that is good. If it seems they just went with what they have without exploring more in to the questions then maybe they aren’t that interested. I will ask a few more questions if someone intrigues me and go off of script on occasion just to learn more. Sometimes I have someone else in the interview and they start reading questions faster or appear to get excited when a candidate does a good job so that is a tell as well.

    Reply

  12. Jessica Moorhouse

    Having been on basically a million interviews in the past 12 months, I so feel your pain! Interviewing is so emotional and draining! But just remember, sometimes the interviews you think you didn’t go so well actually did (and sometimes the ones you feel like you aced, you didn’t). My current job, when I interviewed I totally didn’t think it was a perfect interview and was surprised when they kept calling me for another interview. And one of the interviewers was super hard to read (I thought he was so not digging me), but it turns out he’s super awesome and that was just his interview persona/game face. Good luck! I know it’s hard, but if you just keep trying something will happen. It took me a full year to get the job I really wanted, but I’m sure it won’t take you as long (I was also jumping careers).

    Reply

  13. Myles Money

    So how did it go in the end? It’s a couple of weeks since the interview: did they come back to you yet with any feedback or an offer?

    Reply

    1. Amanda

      So far, I’ve heard nothing! I’m too scared to contact them to be sure, but I’m pretty sure it’s a no. So, I’m moving on…

      Reply

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