After going through at least 15 in the past few months with basically all of them leading to a “sorry you’ve been unsuccessful” call, this prompt is one that hits close to home right now.
The most disappointing one was definitely my first one, but not just because it was my first knock-back in five years. I really wanted the job. Like really wanted it. I was currently still employed at my previous work, but hating every minute of it. I wanted to get out of there. I had friends working at the place I was interviewing for. The pay was good, it was supposed to be a lot of fun, the uniform was better. I had ample experience for the position.
I walked in confident. Maybe too confident, I don’t know. They’d asked me to prepare some stuff prior to the meeting, and I’d done that to as high a standard as I could manage, and presented it in the nicest way I could think of. They were impressed with it, that much I could see. They were really nice, I felt like the interview went really well.
Towards the end, I found out I’d been interviewing for a different store than I’d applied for. One much further away. I didn’t say anything. I desperately needed to get out of my current employment and I really wanted to work for these guys. I’d just make it work. It wouldn’t be ideal but I’d do it and arrange a transfer later on.
I left thinking I’d done really well. I thought I was as good as hired. My experience speaks for itself, I thought, and the interview went smoothly.
A week ticked by. I was starting to worry but it had taken literally months to hear from them after I applied, so I didn’t let myself stress too much. I shot them an email asking what was happening, and got one back the next day saying they were still sorting things out. It’s fine, they’ll call, don’t worry, I told myself. So I kept waiting. The next week, I got a call. Freaking finally! I thought.
“Sorry, we were really impressed by your preparation and everything but we don’t know if you’d be right for the store. We’ll keep your details on file though.”
I couldn’t have been more floored if aliens had dropped out of the sky right that moment. What?! How did this happen?! I was so upset and disappointed. I’d really wanted it and I thought I’d done well in the interview. I had the perfect credentials for the job. How could they say no?
I’d learnt a valuable lesson from it: don’t get your hopes up for things completely out of your control. After I lost my job shortly after, this lesson would come into practice again and again. I never let myself get that disappointed again. Luckily. If I did, I would have been a mess by the time someone finally offered me something.
Looking back, I think I didn’t get it because I was so rusty at interviews. I took their niceness for me doing well, instead of politeness. I probably said a bunch of thing wrong. I wore the wrong thing. I probably came off as desperate. I’m not sure. I just know that by the time I got to the interview where I was offered a job, I felt like I was very different. I carried myself differently, answered the questions differently, took my time, dressed much more corporate. I also understood that for every job that was advertised, roughly 19 other people were going for the same role too. I didn’t know that going into the first interview. I knew they’d had a few applicants, sure, but not that many. It’s certainly a sobering fact to learn. It doesn’t matter how good you are, there are 20 other people who potentially have more experience than you. It’s a rough world right now.