For most of us, interviews are hard. Some go to plan and some don’t. Whatever the outcome, take something from them, good or bad and most importantly, keep going and never give up. A good mantra to remember is to celebrate gracefully, lose humbly, and when things don’t go to plan, learn from it. By developing this mindset, you will grow and make the most of interviews.
Thomas Edison, the prolific inventor and creator of the lightbulb, is often cited in stories about dogged determination and persevering until you succeed. He is testament to the argument that you should keep going even when you fail, you only need to succeed once to achieve your goal. You can quite easily apply this mantra to interviews because it can sometimes take a few rounds and setbacks to nail one. He apparently made over 1000 attempts to create the lightbulb, imagine if Edison gave up – the world would be a bit darker.
May / June 2020 will see a lot of graduates break free from education and set about embarking upon their chosen career path. The competition for opportunities in the marketing space will be fierce, and for those who haven’t had much interview exposure, it can be quite a daunting task and many will be a bit rusty when it comes to answering a set of questions in an environment which they’re not used to. So, we understand that you may take it personally if you keep going to interviews and don’t get invited back to the next round, but you mustn’t!
The first thing to do is keep perspective and remember it’s not life or death. It’s an interview and nothing more. Also, be very aware of how far you have come, see it is a learning curve and then ask how much it will matter in 6 months or 2 years’ time. Not much I’d imagine. Also take on board that it is one person’s impression and sometimes, you may simply be not right for their environment and, believe me, that can sometimes be a good thing. Not every company is as great as it seems.
It’s also perfectly ok to not know what you want at this stage of your career/life. I think there are very few people who know exactly what they want to do. If you aren’t one of those people, do not worry, it’s a long path and your career will take lots of twists and turns. A significant amount of people are unsure of their career path, post-University, but discover a passion that excites them a few years down the line. Take Phil Knight, for example, the pioneer of Nike was an accountant before he went on to build one of the biggest brands the world has ever seen! It may be a case of trying different things, exploring new adventures, or taking a temporary role because it keeps you busy while you look for a role that you really want.
However, when an interview doesn’t go to plan, do pause for reflection and maybe a bit of self-analysis too. It’s sometimes worth asking yourself how you came across. Did you convey your true self and abilities? Did you align your salary expectations to the job and market conditions? Did you do enough research and ask the right questions? Did you have a solid idea of what the company stood for, its heritage and market position, or what the job truly entailed so you could align your experiences to the role? Getting the answers to these questions may help you develop your interview skills and help you get better at them. It will also help you find a good fit between what a company wants and what you can offer. It’s amazing how much the small things can make such a significant difference.
It can be tempting to dwell on a failed interview a bit too much, if we’re being truthful, there can be something quite cathartic about having a moan. I still blame the ref every time Villa lose. But it’s important to realise that it’s not going to get you anywhere. Your time will be better spent doing something that will change the outcome of your next interview rather than complaining about it. Also, let the knock backs drive your determination and make your resolve tougher than ever before. You will have learned valuable lessons and through coming unstuck can make you more successful in the long run.
During your job search, it is worthwhile keeping yourself employed rather than doing nothing. I’ve seen people work in all sorts of places before hitting on their desired career path. Even if it’s a job you don’t love, it demonstrates that you have a work ethic and being out of work can sap your confidence a tad as well as your bank account.
Most of all, do not panic and put yourself under unnecessary pressure. If you keep your focus and position yourself so you will find out about jobs, professionally and socially – it will happen.
Your time will come.