Job interview

All of your experience has prepared you for this moment: the job interview. All of your years studying and working to get that degree in the field of your dreams, the months since graduation spent hunting down jobs to apply to, have all lead up to this opportunity to be hired.

After the interview is even worse. Your mind is racing, Did I get the job? Maybe I shouldn’t have answered that one question that way. Could they tell I was insanely nervous?

It’s a stressful time. Your life could change with one phone call. You’ll have only a couple weeks to move (if you are relocating) and this could be the start of your career. This could set a course for the rest of your life.

So how can you calm your nerves and stop stressing between your interview and the results?

First of all, stop pacing. I know you feel really antsy, and rightly so, but pacing is only going to make it worse. Instead of dwelling on this possible life change do something to distract yourself. All this nervous energy has to be useful for something – use it to build or create with your hands. Bake a cake. Build a bookshelf. Slap together a collage. You can do anything as long as it doesn’t involve wearing a hole in the floor.

Stop dwelling. Yes, that one question could’ve been answered differently. Yes, you’ve come up with much better responses to their questions now that the pressure is off you to answer them. Yes, there is a chance that they interviewed someone who is more qualified than you are.

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But all of that is a moot point. It’s in the past. There’s nothing you can do about it now (including emailing the company and writing a long rant defending yourself – I know you’ve thought about it, but I can tell you now that that is a bad idea), so it’s best to just focus on moving forward.

And, in that, you must convince yourself that you are worthy of this job, you are qualified for this job (otherwise you wouldn’t have been called for an interview), and any company would be thrilled to have you. Although whether or not you’re hired by this company is out of your hands, you’ve done everything you can at this point and, if this job isn’t the one for you, you’ll find something even better. The universe will provide, don’t worry.

Apply to more jobs. Or do something about jobs you’ve applied to in the last couple weeks that you haven’t heard from. The more times you’ve sent yourself off into the job application void, the more likely you are to get a call back. Turn your nervous energy into something productive that’s still job-related. I know it may be hard to do so, since you may very well be offered the job you just interviewed for, but, if for whatever reason you are not, you have a backup plan. And if you are offered the job, it’ll feel really satisfying when those new applications want to continue the conversation and you have to turn them down.

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Be patient. Did the company say that they’d get back to you in a couple weeks? Has it been exactly two weeks down to the hour of your interview? Give them another couple days, especially if you know that you weren’t the last of their interviews. It takes companies time to hire someone, and that hiring isn’t always on the top of their priority list. It’s possible that something higher priority may have come up.

After those couple of days, if you haven’t moved on, feel free to give them a call or shoot them an email. Don’t straight up ask if you got the job, but ask how the process is going and when you should expect to hear. Be sure to reiterate how excited you are about this opportunity and the company.

Hopefully you’ll get a response back quickly that’ll give you some sort of answer, be it a rejection or an explanation of why they need more time. Trust me, you aren’t annoying them by checking in (unless you email them before they said they would tell you – that might be a turn off). Checking in may also show initiative and, if they haven’t selected someone for the job yet, it may put you at least higher up on the list.

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Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you don’t hear anything back at all, and that feeling of rejection is slowly creeping into your psyche, it’s okay. It sucks to be rejected, it really does, and it can make you feel awful. But you have to again remember that you are worthy of a job and qualified.

Your whole education and past experience hasn’t been for nothing, I promise. Rejection from one (or five or 10) companies does not make you a failure. It just means that you weren’t what they were looking for at that time. The truth is, there will always be someone out in the world who is more qualified for a position, but remember that you are also more qualified than someone else, and you may be the best person for the job in that round of interviews. It’s all about timing.

Don’t lose hope in your journey. You’ll reach your goal and be able to get the job you want. As Jinkx Monsoon said, it’s all just water off a duck’s back.