Bursting Bubbles – Interviewing is the New Dating

Bursting Bubbles – Interviewing is the New Dating

This guest blog post was written by friend of humanworks Mina Kwak and is part of the Bursting Bubbles series. We are happy to share that since writing this post, Mina has accepted and started a new job!

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Unpopular Opinion: Interviews are just first dates without the cocktails.

2020, amirite? Like so many people, due to COVID, I am on the search for a new job after 8+ years. I am back on the market. This creates a lot of emotions within me. Even though it was a mutual breakup, and I understood the reason why for the breakup, I mean being laid off, I had a lot of conflicting feelings. Should I reinvent myself? Is it too late to start over? I have to revamp myself…on my resume… What sites do I put myself on, which ones actually work? Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed and the list goes on. And then it hits me… Oh my, I have to go back out on first dates, I mean interviews again! My hands are sweaty just thinking about it.

All jokes aside, at least on the first date, you have an appetizer or a beverage to think about if the date is not going well, but in an interview, you got bupkis! I at least have been fortunate enough to get some interviews during this time and I come out thinking the same thing every time. Will they choose me? Was I enough? What could I have said or done better? And then I wonder, what are they thinking? Do they want to choose me? Do they think I am enough, and I wonder if they hoped I would have said this or done that? Then, I replay the interview in my mind until I get the news of yay or nay. And when this happens, it hits me, how did they make me feel? Did they seem interested in me? Did they do their research on me? Did they ask meaningful questions or was it a cookie cutter interview? Because if they did not, then I already have it in my mind that even if I get chosen, will they make me feel this way in the position… Maya Anglou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Unfortunately, not all interviews are encouraging and fruitful. The one that stands out in my mind was an instance when I showed up to the interview, I was made to wait more than 20 minutes, and when they finally showed up, they seemed rushed, not prepared and a hint of resentment of having to be there. I got the scripted, so tell me about yourself, and why do you want to work here. I just remember feeling shocked. If the roles were reversed, and I showed up this way with this attitude, it would have been a short interview and no call back.  Conversely, one of the best interviews I have ever had was when I felt that it was an honest conversation. I felt that they were getting to know me and to see if I would be a great fit for the company. You hear it all the time, the right person, the right seat, but how do you get there without that honest conversation?

I’m putting my best foot forward when it comes to interviews, but I’m not changing or reinventing myself to fit in to a company’s mold – especially one that doesn’t make me feel valued. I can be the right person in the right seat as me, as all of me. And that might be new to recruiters and hiring leaders…

So…Pop – Bubble Burst – New Perspective.

When I go interviews now, I go in as if I am interviewing the interviewer. I go into the interview with all my research and questions and I have my checklist of things I look for. Because this is the first point of contact, I have with the company, how do they conduct themselves while interviewing me? How well were they prepared? Are they giving me scripted questions, or do they seem genuinely interested to see if I would be a good fit? This process should not be a one-way street of power. It should be a shared exchange of information so that both parties can make the best decision for the company and the possible new employee. This new perspective has given me the confidence to take on interviews without fear and anxiety but does give me the butterflies (the good ones) in my stomach, and that is a great feeling!