I was fresh out of high school. My default state was a mixture of tired, hungry, and hungover. I had exhausted my cash reserves almost completely, budgeting only for Spotify premium and beer(My priorities were steller).
I was arriving at the point in my life where a decision had to be made. Work, or study and work.
Working was inescapable. I was eventually going to have to face the mercy of job interviews and workplace learning curves and I wasn’t prepared. I hated high school with a passion. Nothing nauseated me more than thinking about it, but if school was first place, working a 9-5 in an office was the runner-up. I didn’t want to study or work.
I was conflicted, so I drank more beer and called it a morning.
I decided to dip my toe in the water and see what working for someone would be like. I’d worked “jobs” in high school, but they meant nothing. No attachment, no expectation, no conditions. This would be the first time that I would actually have a real job.
I applied to every business I could find, for jobs I didn’t even think I could do. It didn’t matter, I was confident in my ability to learn. “Yes, I absolutely do know how to train seals to talk.”
What adults fail to tell you about applying for jobs, however… Sometimes, oftentimes, you just won’t get the job.
But this was MY fault 100%.
My ability to “Job Interview” was abysmal at best and immeasurably catastrophic at worst.
My Job interviews went a little like this:
“Why should we hire you?”
“Well, you’re hiring and I need a job.”
This was followed by 30 seconds of awkward silence before the zoom call disconnected.
It was awkward. Always awkward.
One time I got to the last round of interviews. I was doing great, I was by far the strongest candidate. I received an email with a list of questions about the job, they were so easy.
What I missed, however, was at the bottom of the email it read “When sending us your answers, please reply to all. Your answers will be sent to our CEO and he will be completing the Interview process.”
I obviously didn't read this, because I’m clearly incapable of reading. Honestly, I probably did read it, my brain just decided to dedicate maximum effort into translating those words from “reply to all” to “Buy some beer.”
I sent in my answers confidently, I knew something others didn’t, the job was mine.
Except, it wasn’t…
The CEO didn’t get my answers. I “replied” and didn’t “reply to all” which meant that my email didn’t reach the CEO. I was automatically removed from consideration for not reading the email properly and not sending my answers to the right person.
I was devastated...I was so close. It didn’t seem fair.
What makes job interviews so awkward? Well, the truth is, you’re the reason it’s awkward.
You’re trying to balance being honest, while still trying to get the job. You can’t possibly tolerate the things about yourself that make you human, oftentimes these are the qualities that make you a good employee. You may see that you’ve exposed yourself, giving your potential employer another reason not to hire you, but in their eyes, they’re seeing honesty and guts. It takes a lot for a human to tell a story with 100% honesty - not holding back any details that expose themselves.
You also struggle with the fact that employers don’t usually reciprocate at all(from my experience). You’re left attempting to judge the conversation through their body language instead of focusing on telling the truth. If you’re like me, you’ve also been caught zoning out in interviews(which apparently doesn’t show that you’re focused).
- Almost all of your social/Workplace issues can be solved through confidence. No one is born with it, it's simply something you get used to having, and it all starts with one big fat lie. Lift yourself up, wipe the look of concern off your face, and pretend to know exactly what needs to be done. Over time, you’ll rub off on yourself.
- Without sounding like a doorknob, market yourself. When an employer asks why you think you’re better for the job than anyone else, confidently explain why you believe you deserve the job. Don’t let your fear stop you.
Don’t back down
- We all have a list of beliefs that dictate who we are. They dictate what we eat, who we hang out with, and what music we listen to, and that’s ok! Defend your beliefs through thick and thin. For without your beliefs, what are you?
I can’t guarantee that if you follow this advice, you’ll land that job and your entire life will be in order. What I can guarantee is, if you follow this advice, no matter how many times you fall, you will always find a good enough reason to get up and keep going.
I didn’t land that job, I didn’t land any job. I’ve never had a “real” job.
Not long after that disastrous job interview, I took a course in copywriting and customer service and began my freelance journey with my business partner Joshua Williams.
A while after that, NOX Media Group was born.
I couldn’t get past the last stage of a job interview, so I made up my own job.
Now I get to interview potential employees. You’d think that through my experience with awkward interviews, I’d make an effort to help during these processes, but I don’t. In fact, I intentionally make it as awkward as I possibly can just to see how they respond.
Maybe one-day I'll interview a kid fresh out of high school, and he’ll bomb badly. So badly in fact, that they'll give up and start their own business.
We’ll have to wait and see.