Welcome to another milestone in my life, I interviewed for a position! Now, I've had a job for about five years and it's been a crazy ride over there, yet, I've never had a job interview.
Talk about the most stressful time of my life. To set the scene: I've spent four days back and forth from IKEA, buying furniture, building furniture, cleaning and making five thousand trips to the garbage room. I travel back home (a literal five hour trek) to work two days in a row and then I'm back off to the city with my family! Basically, I was on the verge of death via exhaustion. So, as I'm on the ferry, packed tight amongst my family, our suitcases and boxes of stuff, I check my phone. As I scroll through my inbox I see an email from a man I've written a cover letter to about interviewing for a position I'd applied to a month prior. At this point in time I'd completely forgotten I'd applied. Honestly, I was convinced by this point that I just hadn't got the position and moved on.
With that being said, I had also at this point gone through the worst enrolment experience I've ever had in my life. Like, the second year enrolment date completely screwed me over and had me course planning the hour before because the other three sections of classes I actually wanted filled up slowly before my eyes as my enrolment date was literally two and a half weeks into the enrolment period and four days before open enrolment. Like- I'm having anxiety just writing about the experience right now. MOVIN ON....
The next three days I try to enjoy the precious time I have with my family before I'm abandoned alone in the city to begin a proper adult life. SO, by the time I'm abandoned it's Saturday. Interview is now officially on Tuesday. Naturally, I stress the f*** out for two days straight because I now need to meet someone I don't know on zoom in an apartment with no desk or furniture and where my stuff is rather everywhere or in a box.
Which brings us to the list portion of the blog post, here is a compilation of things I would recommend:
*Full disclaimer, I am not an expert but these are things I appreciated being told.
Practice Out Load
Yes, I paced around my apartment saying, "Hi, my name is Alyanna. I'm a second year in the Beedie School of Business at SFU, with plans to pursue concentrations in Strategic Analysis and Finance because of my interests in planning and research......" and so the elevator pitch progresses.
And damn am I thankful I did because the first question I got hit with was, "Tell me about yourself." This whole sounding crazy thing also tends to make you sound more confident in your answers as well as prepares you to hear yourself speak. To all my introverts, this is probably just a tidbit for us because one thing that is hard to do is get used to saying good things about yourself out loud.
Do your Research
Know what you're getting yourself into. We love a good organizational culture these days and the people hiring you are probably judging you based on their organizational values. Plus, answering questions is so much easier when you feel you're the right fit for the position and have that upper hand when someone asks, "If you were to run into someone who didn't know about our organization, how would you describe it?" It happened. I was shook. I was prepared.
I saw this on Instagram so I don't know if it would be a Beedie approved way of doing it but- PAWS stands for Personal Academic Work Skills. When asked about yourself, this is a good guideline for what to hit on in your elevator pitch.
Now, this I know is a Beedie approved way of responding to situational based questions. During the Interview Workshop I had to take, they emphasize that you respond to questions such as, "Tell me about a time you worked under pressure" with a superSTAR answer. STAR stands for Situation Task Action Result. Basically, when you're telling your story, explain the situation, the task at hand, what YOU did to address it/fix it and then the good results that followed because of your decision making skills.
At the end of the day I feel like if they think you're not a good fit, you probably won't enjoy being in that environment. So, be yourself, because what's the point in being fake when you can take your talents elsewhere.
Say thank you, smile and be grateful for the opportunity to be considered. Even if you don't get the position, I'm sure you'll take away something for next time. If I know how to do anything in life, it's to contemplate.
The interview itself was ok, I was nervous for the first bit. Format wise, they introduced themselves in the beginning then continued to just ask me question after question for literally half an hour. There were two interviewers which I wasn't expecting. I answered everything to my best capability though and just acted like myself. Although I paced around for two days stressed af and was scared the majority of the time- it's weird- I'm so happy it happened! Now I know how I perform under pressure and reflected a lot on what I've taken from all my work and academic experiences so far.
I was so emotionally exhausted by the end, so another piece of advice I'd give is: eat something before. Make sure your angle looks boom on Zoom and be yourself. Or, if you're my brother, "I like interviewing, it's like a free therapy session."