Job interviews always made me super nervous. I could never be comfortable since I was too worried about making a good impression. I resorted to becoming a robot, spitting out scripted answers that I thought the interviewer wanted to hear. Afterwards I always felt a bit empty, as if I never got the chance to show the interviewer who I really am.
After AoC Academy I was looking for a new job. This one place called me in for a group interview, where we would all compete for one opening.
I walked in and noticed all the applicants were either awkwardly making small talk with one another or quietly keeping to themselves. Old Me would have done the same thing. I would have been so nervous about saying something dumb that I’d look to just blend in. I would have kept to myself from the start, and hoped to merely tread water until the one on one interview, then say all the right things that could get me the job.
Post AoC me had another outlook. I decided this interview would be different; I was going to make it enjoyable. Rather than blend into the insecure environment, I would change it. At AoC we learned how to bring value to a situation and pick up the energy level when meeting people. I realized those same principles and practices could apply here. I started chatting and bantering with the people that worked there and the other applicants. Next thing I knew I felt comfortable, relaxed, and was the guy who made the whole environment a bit easier on everyone.
About halfway through the interview we were asked to speak for three minutes about something we were passionate about. Old Me would have waited to go. I would have let other people set the tone. While those people were speaking, I wouldn’t be listening. I would spend the entire time caught up in my own head thinking up what I should say. I would have gotten up and with a shaky voice gone through the exact script I had put together in my head. It would have been remarkably average.
Post AoC Me handled it differently. I seized the chance to go first, seeing it as a fun opportunity and a chance to show I wasn’t afraid. I tapped into something I felt passionate about (facing fear on a daily basis) and just let it rip. It was fun, it was interesting, and it got a positive reaction from everybody. I wasn’t afraid that I’d look weird, sound bad, and say something dumb. In the past those thoughts would prevent me from really being able to speak from the heart in this type of scenario. Now, it didn’t phase me at all. I had the confidence in myself that it would all come out fine. I’d never had that before.
When the one-on-one interview came around, I kept that energy going. We spent the first bit talking about basketball before getting into financial compensation. Old Me would have been afraid to ask for what I thought I was worth. I would have suggested a low wage so as not to sound arrogant, then after a few weeks resent the fact that I hardly made any money. New Me has higher standards. I’m not going to settle for what I know I don’t want. I decided what my time was worth and stuck to it. The interviewer respected that.
Two days later I got a message. The interviewer said he loved my energy and personality, and it came down to me and this other girl. Since she had a much more flexible schedule to work with, and since I needed a certain number of hours per week, they went with her. Although I think the real reason was that, as a Lakers fan, he refused to hire a Celtics fan…which is understandable.
Not getting the job didn’t matter all that much. More important than that job was having this positive experience where I went to an interview, was relaxed, confident and able to show off my true personality. After that interviews didn’t make me nearly as nervous and I no longer feared going. I’ve always known I’d be better off if I could just relax and show my personality. After that week at AoC I now have the confidence and know-how to actually do it.