I’m starting a new job this week and I’m very excited about it. This job will be an excellent learning experience and I’ll be working with great people and you really can’t ask for more than that as far as I’m concerned. It’s in an area of law that I have not practiced before and I am excited to learn everything I can as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
I knew the minute I walked through the door for the interview that I wanted this job. It sounds a little crazy, but life kind of works like that for me — with jobs, friends, boyfriends…even when I first saw each of my two cats — I just know when something is a good match within a few minutes.
The flip side is that when it’s not a good match, I also know it fairly quickly. As you may have also experienced, finding a new job is usually a process and you won’t be surprised that I have suffered through some very interesting interviews over the past couple of months. I find interviewing to be a lot like dating — I can usually tell in the first three to five minutes whether it’s going to go well or not…and when it doesn’t go well, whether it is my fault or not, it’s pretty torturous to sit there and keep talking…
These recent interview “experiences” have given me the chance to make some observations. They aren’t very profound, but I’m writing them anyway because I think people often forget to stay grounded. Friends and aquantances who have meant well have recently tried to give me lots of pointers on what to say or not say in an interview, what color suit to wear, what kind of watchband to wear and other overly obsessive advice. I’m always presentable — in interviews at least — and if someone likes the work I’ve done and we get along, but they don’t want to hire me because I’m wearing a leather watchband instaead of a metal band, then we are for sure not a good match. I am who I am and I’m confortable with that, so I try to stay calm and take it all (the advice and the interview) with a grain of salt and I recommend that you do the same.
I personally hate canned interview questions and I find it much more resourceful both when I am the interviewer and the interviewee to just have a converstation about the job itself, past work experience, the expectations of both parties, etc. If you find it helpful to ask what I think my three best qualities are (like I haven’t rehearsed it), good for you, but you are speaking a lot louder to me by asking a canned question like that than my answer will to you. Although I do have to admit that just once I’d like to say: I’m strong, dependable and good in a ninja fight like the credit card commercial from a few years ago.
I try to be myself in an interview because that’s who I’m going to be every day on the job. If I can’t name ALL of my law school professors on the spot (PS ~ this information is on my transcript) or know exactly what my LSAT score was (which I didn’t know when I was recently asked in an interview), I don’t worry about it. If it’s not an otherwise good match, I try not to be concerned about it at all. And if it is a good match and I have to admit that I don’t know something, then that’s just how it is and I don’t obsess about it or let it defeat me. After all, I recently had to admit that I don’t know anything about the area of law that I’m now working in and I still got the job.
These are my observations: be yourself, stay calm and don’t worry about it too much. Not everything can be a good match and when it’s not, it’s ok to let it go. And when everything seems really bad, I always remember that things will work out because they always do, even if it’s not necessarily the way I thought they would.