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>Fearless Interviewing & The Other Kind


It’s official — I got my rejection email from the job I applied for. It was worded so sweetly that it almost seemed as if they were giving me a gift, doing me a favor. I’ll have to save it just in case I ever have the opportunity to tell a candidate to please, just please — go away.

I’m not great at interviewing when I’m at my best, and Saturday, I was at my worst. First of all, I’d worked myself into a tizzy, trying to imagine the questions they’d ask and what I’d answer and what their follow-up replies to my answers would be, and… Second of all, two days before the interview, I caught a nasty head cold. My sinuses ached and my whole brain felt as if it had been baked in phlegm pudding. Finally, I woke up on the morning of the interview and my nose was leaking like a faucet. I took some cold medicine that dried me up but left me feeling cloudy.

So there you go — nervous, sick AND medicated. My replies to their perfectly reasonable questions made me sound as if I’d never taught a day of EFL in my life. (Remember Elvis Presley at one of his final concerts, trying to sing “Are You Lonesome tonight?”?) I panicked when I couldn’t spit out an answer as fast as they asked the question, and my brain locked down, which led to a domino effect regarding the remainder of the questions. Oddly enough, there was a part of my brain that was watching and analyzing the ongoing fiasco and calmly humming “Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over.” My library dream suddenly got legs and walked away from me as fast as it could go.

I’d started reading Fearless Interviewing by Marky Stein before the interview, but had felt too muzzy to concentrate on it properly. In the days since my inglorious performance, I have finished the book. One of the most helpful points that the book makes is that interviewees should develop some strong “Q statements” about themselves. They should be able to cite specifically what they’ve done in the past, using numbers if appropriate, or specific examples.

Even though I’m opposed to writing in my books, I’ll make an exception for Fearless Interviewing, because Stein provides spaces for the reader to write down and refine and hone their Q statements as well as other questions that interviewers like to throw out. After I’ve licked my wounds, I plan to have a fearless interview next time out. The other kind just sucks too bad.


12 responses »

  1. >I am sorry you didn’t get the job, Bybee. Being sick for an interview can be the worst. I know from experience. At least you gave it a go though. The interviewing book does sound helpful! I just went through interviews–being one of the interviewers on the panel. I had to read questions from a script which were just horrid. I told my manager that we really need to rewrite them.

  2. >Awww-that’s too bad. I hate job interviews (to be honest, I’ve had maybe three or four)…somehow I feel like a slab of meat that’s being poked and prodded to see if the cut’s good enough. My main problem, though, is that I start to sweat a lot. And then I’m self-conscious about whether it’s showing on my shirt. So then I start to fidget. And I end up looking like a crazy person, I’m sure.Here’s hoping another library pops up soon!

  3. >Ugh – jobs interviews are the worst. I think I’ll stay at my current job just to avoid them in the future. In any case, I was sorry to hear your news. I hope something else comes along that you’re interested in and you can use all your great new tips from that book.

  4. >Job interviews are the pits. So many factors go into our attitude and general presentation and into their questions and evaluations. Hope the book helps and maybe the universe has a better opportunity in store.

  5. >I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t get the job. Interviews are the worst. I hate them, and I mean hate. I’ve bombed every interview I’ve had, except the last one – because I didn’t want the job really badly I wasn’t as nervous as usual. Being sick and medicated surely didn’t help. Here’s to next time!

  6. >So sorry about the job application. Job interview can be tough – actually, they terrify me.But the fact that you’re reading “Fearless Interviewing” tells me you’re bouncing back with style. 🙂

  7. >Sorry to hear that this one didn’t work out well for you, bybee. But it sounds like you learned a lot from the experience and that you have a plan for the next time…don’t give up.

  8. >So sorry to hear that. I know it doesn’t help, but we’ve all been there. Try to look at the interview as practice for the next. Don’t worry, you’ll find something!

  9. >Oh, I’m so sorry you didn’t get that job. I totally understand that domino effect. My job is basically done all day long in front of an audience, and if I make a mistake, I tend to make several, because feeling flustered from the first mistake makes me prone to more. I had a day like that today, so I can really empathize with how your interview went. By the way, if you happen to see me review Free Food for Millionaires before you can get it there, let me know and I’ll be happy to send it to you. It must be a pain to wait so long for books you’re dying to read!

  10. >Oh, bummer! But better luck next time. And Heathcliff? Heathcliff?! I’d rather have the cartoon character.

  11. >Sorry about the job. And I’ll echo the refrain that job interviews suck.

  12. >That’s pretty rough, going into a job interview for a job you want, with a cold! I’m sorry you didn’t get it……it is depressing to be rejected, no matter what positive spin I try to put on it. It’s not any better in the government – here in Canada, even when we are employed by the Federal Government and are permanent employees, we still have to apply for any positions elsewhere in our section, department, etc. I got rejected once for forgetting to put ‘wordperfect’ on my resume, since they wanted the word and not just a general description of having computer skills! The book you have sounds good, though remember to think outside the box -a coworker told me once that in an interview, she was asked what she did that was creative or new for her team, and she said she brought in treats to lift morale! She got the acting position…’s hoping another job comes along really soon that you want to try for 🙂


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