The Day I Messed Up My Interview


When I’m talking to coaching clients sometimes they seem surprised when I tell them that even though I’ve got a recruitment background I’ve still messed up interviews before.  Yes I’m human and I make mistakes.

Here’s one time that I did and I’m sharing it here in the hope that you can learn from my errors.

Last minute interview anyone?

At 5.30pm one windy Tuesday, I was presented with an opportunity to  interview the following afternoon. The client had no time on Thursday or Friday so I showed how flexible and adaptable I was by saying Yes to an interview with less than 24 hours notice.

I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to prepare even though the role was for a short term contracting position. But I’m a spontaneous high energy person and I thrive on high energy and constantly changing environments so I didn’t think it through and I thought that it would be right.  I should have known better than to say yes with that much notice and when I didn’t have any time to prepare. I was going to a Christmas function that night and I had another event on the following morning which didn’t leave any time at all.

It was a busy day. I had calls from friends asking for urgent career advice. I’d had other things to attend to and I an important first meeting with a new client. So in the adrenalin of the day I didn’t really check in with my own intuition. I brushed it aside.

In my efforts to be flexible and to line up an opportunity quickly I lost out.  I didn’t listen to my inner guidance system.

Not the best start

The afternoon didn’t start off well. I allowed my GPS to provide the most efficient route even though I’d driven past this particular office many times and I knew the right route but I have this thing about not driving a minute longer than I need to.  So guess what happened? The GPS told me to turn right a few times along the ‘most efficient route’ where it was impossible to turn right. If I’d just listened to my intuition. Sigh.

And I got to the interview. I was wearing a suit and nobody else was. I hadn’t been advised that it was a totally dress down environment but it was.

Just as well I can think on my feet!

And so we got to the interview. Two members of a panel. Pleasant enough. Until they started hammering me with behavioural interview questions. At least six on no prep and not enough sleep. Awesome. Just as well I can think on my feet!

The fun times continued with some odd questions that seemed more relevant to a permanent position than a contract one which made me wonder even if I did get an opportunity to work with these people – would I want to? I wasn’t impressed with how they were conducting things and how they demanded to see me with less than 24 hours notice.

But then I realised that who I was most upset with wasn’t actually them at all. It was me. How had I done this? Really? Me? Someone who could have known better. But hey I’m human and I’m so far from perfect.

Want to learn from my  errors? Take note of my tips below:

Listen to your intuition

If something doesn’t seem right to you it probably isn’t.

Never accept an interview without at least 24 hours notice

Ideally 48 hours. If you miss out because of this so be it.

A Chat is never a chat it’s always an interview

Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Photo credit: deposit photos


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