Interviewing is Painful: Tips for Interviewing and Being Interviewed

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2012 | Workplace Issues |

I recently interviewed for a new secretary. It made me think about how painful interviewing is for both the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer, Me, doesn’t want to make a mistake and hire the wrong person. It has to be someone who can do the job, get along with co-workers and most importantly put up with me. I think a lot of hiring has to do with how you get along with the prospect. Do you have a “good feeling” about them?

The truth is you really don’t know when interviewing. There is no way to know. When I was interviewing for an associate to work with me several years ago, I thought I wanted someone knowledgeable in employment law. I ended up with someone who had no experience in employment law and it has been my best hire ever. What made me decide to offer this person the job? It was the way he talked about his kids when I inquired about his family. His response was warm and genuine. I thought, “Well, I don’t know how he will be as a lawyer, but at least I know he is a good guy!”. And boy was I right. He is a super nice, genuine human being and an excellent lawyer. So my tip on this would be go with the person you like and the person that has morals that you admire.

When I was interviewing secretarial prospects recently, I thought how yucky and nerve wracking it must be to interviewed in today’s world. There is so much competition and jobs are at a minimum. The pressure must be intense. The Houston Chronicle columnist, L.M. Sixtel, recently wrote an article on interviewing. Her article is titled, “Stay upbeat when job hunt brings you down” Great advice in general and especially so when you are interviewing. My roommate in law school got so many rejection letters she quipped, “I will wallpaper my bathroom one day with all my rejection letters.” She had a great attitude and still does, and she is a federal magistrate.

What should you do when going on an interview. The women I recently interviewed had done their research on me, meaning they checked me out on the internet and my website. Both did this so there was no advantage to either one of the prospects. Both were professional and both had good credentials. Again, it came to a gut reaction and I chose the one that I liked the best. (It didn’t hurt she was also a dog lover.)

This may sound too simple but I think in the end it is the best way to approach the process. When you are interviewing you want to make the best impression possible but you also NEED TO BE YOUR SELF. The more genuine you are, the more likely you will be chosen. Plus, look at it this way, you don’t want to work somewhere that requires you to be someone other than yourself. It is not going to work in the long run and you will be miserable.

When I was in my last year of law school, law firms would interview students at the school for positions. In those days, women were in the minority at school. Employers were concerned about hiring women because they might have kids and that would interfere with work, or at least that is how they thought. Anyway, I was a rebel in school and quickly got tired of the interviewers’ questions to skirt(no pun intended) this issue without violating the law. They couldn’t say, “Are you going to have kids?” so they would say, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”. I became very tired of this so when two partners from Mills Shirley (my law firm) asked me this question, I said, “Sitting in your chair!”.

I later learned that they were hung over from partying the night before , so my comment WOKE them up. They thought it would be very fun to spring me on the other partners in Galveston.

So, I was invited to come to Galveston for a second interview. Only problem was they forgot that they had invited me. When I showed up for my interview, I was handed an application for a secretarial position which kicked my Italian personality into gear. I said I drove all the way from Waco and I was here for an attorney position, period!

I learned later that there was quite an uproar in the back over who invited me and who forgot about it. Anyway, I have always said they were so embarrassed about the entire affair, they felt they had to offer me a job. When they offered me the job, I thought they were a crazy firm. Then I figured that might just be the perfect fit for me, and 32 years later I am still here.

Moral of the story, be yourself when you interview. That is the only way to live life and the only way to get the job that works for you!