Have you ever gone into a job interview knowing there was little to no chance that you would get the job? Probably.
Having defeated yourself before entering the interview room, the position probably went to somebody else. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Two hours late and not a prayer in the world
I really wanted this job. It was a rare summer internship opportunity at a network television station in Kansas City coveted by nearly all of my fellow journalism students at the University of Missouri. On-air news reporter. Just getting the interview was a significant accomplishment.
And I was going to get that job — until I wasn’t.
I piled into an old beat up car with three of my buddies for the two-hour drive from Columbia, Missouri, to Kansas City on that Saturday morning. The interview was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and all was well until we got close to our destination.
The old car broke down on I-70. There was no way I was getting to the interview on time, the job would go to somebody else and my worst nightmare would be fulfilled. We had the car towed and the tide started to turn. A friendly mechanic, noticing that one 19-year-old was wearing a coat and tie while the other three looked like three college kids on a Saturday, took mercy on me and drove me to the television station.
It was noon by the time I arrived; two hours late. A surly news director answered the door with a look that made it clear he was neither happy nor in a hiring mood.
I got the job.
The temptation was to blow off the interview and not even show up. The problem was that I really wanted the job! So while weathering skeptical looks, I made appropriate apologies and briefly explained what had happened with a “what are you gonna do?” shrug of the shoulders. Maybe it was my nonchalance about the day’s events, or maybe it was because I knew I’d never get the job, that I relaxed and nailed the interview.
The worst outcome became the best. I had the job by Monday and spent a wonderful summer learning my craft. It happened because I had the poise to deal with an impossible situation and focus on what I wanted. Also, because the station news director saw something in me, despite everything, that he wanted to have on his team.
There is always a chance the job will be yours, if you want it badly enough.