How I Learned to Love Job Interviews
John Millen | HR| By
When I was graduating from college way back when, I flirted with law schools but decided the world didn’t need me as a lawyer. As a communications major and former student body president, I thought I could do any number of things so I’d spread my wings and looked at a variety of jobs.
GAUNTLET OF INTERVIEWS
But this meant running the gauntlet of job interviews. (I eventually did more than 30 interviews.) I was hesitant at first, but after a few job interviews I learned to love the process–and was actually bittersweet when I accepted a great offer in marketing with Procter & Gamble.
Here’s how I learned to love doing job interviews, which I teach others today:
THINK OF IT AS A GAME
The problem with job interviews is we get to into our own heads and attach too much importance to the interviews. This creates self-awareness that drives up anxiety and zaps our confidence.
When I thought of the interview as a game, I became more objective, seeing myself as a participant in this game rather than the victim under scrutiny. It was a big relief.
Along with the objectivity came opportunities to be amused. I remember smiling to myself when the very short person who was going to interview me got shook my hand and then got behind the desk.
I sat in a very low chair and the interviewer’s chair was raised very high so I was looking up hill while I answered questions. Rather than feeling intimidated, I felt amused by the comical situation.
SELL YOURSELF AS A PRODUCT
I realized early on that getting a job is really a sale process and I happen to be the product I am selling. With this mindset, I was able to feel comfortable talking about my value proposition and my key benefits for employers. Again, it wasn’t about me, it was about my product.
Part of the selling process is being rejected. None of us likes to be rejected so I went looking for a way to deal with the potential hurt. My solution came from a book that suggested one might need to do up to 100 interviews before getting a job. I followed its recommendation to create an index card with the word “NO” written 99 times, followed by one “YES.”
This was a great trick for my mind. I happily lined up the interviews for anything and everything hoping that I’d have the opportunity to slash through another “NO” on my way to “YES.”
As I say, it took me some 30 interviews to get to YES (nine or so at P&G, which is famous for its lengthy interview process).
The thing is, the time went by quickly and painlessly because I found myself having fun. I used this mindset many times since, in job hunts and other aspects of life, and it’s worked like a charm every time.
Give it a try–it never hurts to love what you’re doing.
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