The worst interview of my life didn’t start out that way. It was all very professional when I spoke to the Human Resources representative who called me for the interview. He gave me a lot of information to help me prepare, which many companies don’t provide. I already felt that I had a good chance of landing this position because of my experience in that specific job and also because my son worked for the company and was well-respected.
On the day of the interview, I dressed professionally and arrived five minutes early. As I waited, the other job candidates began arriving. This is when I began to realize this might not go so well. Their conversations were loud enough that I was able to determine that these younger, college student, candidates had worked at this company previously and knew the employees in the Human Resources Department that were going to be conducting the interviews. I tried to remain hopeful due to my years of experience.
I began to feel my hopeful attitude fade as the two young ladies conducting the interviews came out from their offices, 25 minutes late, in jeans and t-shirts. We were then taken to the company’s cafeteria for the interviews. That would have been fine, but there were employees on their breaks that were seated close by the interview tables, most were talking loudly, TVs were blaring in the background, and there was construction work in that area. I was totally unprepared for such an unprofessional interview, so it was hard for me to stay focused on the questions that were being asked. I think some of my answers may have sounded incoherent, because I couldn’t concentrate due everything going on around me. An even bigger distraction was hearing the other job candidates being interviewed. I could hear everything they were being asked and their long-winded answers. I knew, as I was observing the chaos around me, that this job would not be offered to me. At that point, I wasn’t sure if I wanted it anymore.
I was in no way prepared for the atmosphere in which the interview took place. My advice to job seekers? Always keep in mind the possibility that an interview could take place in a variety of settings. Your ability to block out people and sounds, maintain focus on the interviewer despite distractions, is a lot more important than most of us realize.