Michael Scott is me in every interview or important meeting I have ever had/attended. For a while I thought my degrees would position me for a job in Human Resources—i.e. the people behind hiring and recruiting. This is quite ironic, considering there have been times I have forgotten how to breathe while introducing myself to an employer. During my school career, I have attended two “Career Showcases” at my university. In both years, I could not help but do more people-watching than interviewing. Students in their best suits, finest smiles, and gleaning padfolios. Chances are, there were probably others people-watching, too, and seeing me standing in the crowd with the false confidence of my counterparts.
The show unfolds as we try to find common ground with hiring managers who stand like gods before us. Make sure to shake his hand firmly so he takes you seriously, don’t jitter as you pass him your resume. Then you say your goodbye’s and hope whatever version of yourself you presented hit the mark.
I have become so jaded by this process. All withstanding, I have the utmost respect for people who have gone down these conventional channels and out with a job on their own merit. My sister, who is undeniably my greatest role model, did so with grace. At the end of the day, there are people who find genuine connections with recruiters and land a job. This is the norm, after all. However, time after time, I feel a bit disingenuous after my own encounters. The cause of this feeling could be either situational, internal, or a mix of both. Perhaps it is that I seek a far more meaningful connection than a 30 minute interview would allow and I need to lower the expectation? Or could it be I have not built the confidence needed to take these opportunities in stride? Questions aside, this could explain why I was a dual major in the first place—to have a backup for Business Administration with Psychology. I can navigate interactions with every day people than large corporations and their corresponding agents.
I am fortunate for the family connections that have led to the internships I have had to date. If it weren’t for my parents (aka my greatest spokespeople) my resume—aside from school activities and research positions—would be quite sparse. Still, I would be lying if I do not acknowledge the accompanying guilt I have felt by using a helping-hand. This is partially why post-grad education is all the more appealing to me. Graduate school will not only refine the tools I learned in my undergraduate career, but I could honor my acceptance as an achievement of my own doing.
What are your thoughts on interviews, using connections, and finding your genuine-self despite nerves? As much as I dread these professional encounters, I will continue to have them so they seem more fluid over time. I think it is important in the meantime for all of us to be aware of the rationale behind our feelings.
I think this post’s theme comes at a present time of reflection. I have pledged a commitment to two internships this summer that I will divide among the week (the first on Monday’s and Wednesday’s and the second on Tuesday’s, Thursday’s, and Friday’s). The orientation for the first internship is set for the 31st and both begin the week of June 5th. Work has been on my mind to date yet I will continue this blog despite the obligations ahead of me.
Also, this reflection on the details of the interview process might lead some readers, including my dad if you are reading this, to believe I am “over-thinking” it. If you’re like me and you’ve been told you are an “over-thinker” then here are my thoughts on it. There should not be a stigma on so-called “over-thinking.” In my view, the term in and of itself is merely a mentalism for people who may have a more heightened self-awareness and deliberate details with more scrutiny than their counterparts. I am not saying that people who engage in this mental activity are out-performing others—they merely process information differently. Further, I think being self-analytical (not to be confused with self-critical) can reap benefits long-term.