Archive for August, 2015


Out

The expected result came about in the end. I stand before you, unemployed as the day I was born.

There was one moment of excitement yesterday when, at about 5:15, my phone suddenly rang. It was my preferred choice of employer calling. I was thrilled for about five seconds before I heard the tone of her voice. It was a rejection call.

I know that she was just being polite but I wish she’d done it by e-mail. That call made the day worse than it otherwise would have been.

From here, the plan is to take the next three weeks and do very little with respect to job applications, and then ramp it back up when school starts.

I think the wise move is to maintain my approach with regards to cover letters and my resume. I’m not sure what exactly I did right, but the fact remains that nearly one in every two employers I applied to called me back for an interview. That’s well above average, and so I see no reason to alter my approach on that front.

Given this week’s results, I’m going to make some tweaks to my interview approach. That’s a little easier said than done though. Of the eight interviews, there were three that I thought went particularly well, but none of those interviews led to a job or even to a second interview, and I’m not really sure why. I’ve emailed these employers asking for some feedback, but so far I’ve only had silence in return. It’s the reverse of the situation I described in the above paragraph really. With my application materials I know that I must be doing something right, but I have no clue what it is. With interviews, I know that I must be doing something wrong, but I’m equally unclear as to what it is.

Or, perhaps I’m not doing anything wrong. Perhaps it’s just a numbers game. In one of the interviews which went well, I know that 50 people were interviewed. I could very well have interviewed better than 42 other candidates, but that still wouldn’t have got me a call back because there were only four positions.

Statistically, the odds of landing any of these positions were about 1 in 10. In the above example, they were actually 1 in 12. As such, going 0 for 8 isn’t really much of a statistical anomaly. Certainly less so than going 16/37 in interview calls. So it’s possible that I’m not doing anything wrong at all, and that I’ve just been slightly unlucky.

I felt that I went in confidently, that I knew my shit, and that I came across as friendly, outgoing, and personable. But perhaps that’s not the impression I gave for one reason or another.

I don’t know. And right now I’m not going to worry about it too much.

Two Strikes

We’re two days in, and it isn’t going well I’m afraid.

Out of the 8 interviews, there were three that felt to me as if they’d gone exceptionally well. Unfortunately, one of those places sent me an email saying they’d be going “in a different direction”, and another one didn’t call me back for a second interview.

So that’s two strikes. All I have left to hope for at this point is that the third employer (which doesn’t conduct second interviews) gives me a call at 5:00 tomorrow, or that one of the other five employers is more keen on me than I gathered, but I’m not too hopeful on either of those fronts.

Right now I’m frustrated. Really frustrated.

I think my feelings are best summed up by my boy Hades:  

This isn’t the end of the world, but it’s the start of a big headache on my end. It means that instead of having a relatively relaxing final year of school, I’m going to be just as stressed throughout it as I was last year. It means spending hours applying for jobs which I am decreasingly interested in, and waiting for replies which never come.

But I’ll save most of that worrying for September. Right now I’m going to take three weeks off, think about this shit as little as possible (although there’s one application I want to send out, and another one for that TA position that I missed out on last year). After that I’ll start thinking about this process de novo. 

Close Enough To Taste It

I’m close.

That’s the weirdest thing about this. 78 hours from now, if I play my cards right, I’ll have the beginning of my career lined up. It sounds crazy to say that, but it’s true.

The problem is, I’m not really sure which cards are the right cards, or which cards I’m holding. I don’t even know what game we’re playing.

I go back and forth between being optimistic and pessimistic.

On one hand, I have 8 interviews coming up, and that gives me a lot of margin for error. I’m comforted by the fact that I don’t need to knock all 8 interviews out of the park. I don’t even need to knock half of them out of the park. I just need to crush one of these eight, because ultimately one offer is all I need for this to be a successful week.

That seems like a very obtainable goal. In past stages of this process, one positive response would have been humbling and would have put me in a very difficult position going forward. But now we’re approaching the finish line, and aside from a boost to my self esteem and some small degree of choice, there’s no real difference between getting one call at 5:00 on Wednesday or three.

On the other hand, even though one positive result out of eight sets a pretty low bar, there’s every possibility that I’ll strike out on Wednesday. This whole thing seems a little too good to be true, and I wonder whether or not it might be. Nothing has come easy to me lately, and it almost seems unbelievable in my own head that I might actually be able to relax during my final year of school, secure in the knowledge that I’ve got a job offer locked up.

The other issue is that job interviews aren’t an area that I excel in. Set me an exam, and I’ll walk into the room confident that I’m going to do better than half of the people in the room at an absolute minimum. Tell me to write an essay, and I know I can spit something out with a quality somewhere between above average and excellent.

Interviews put me on edge though. There’s so much to think about: body language, smiling, eye contact – not to mention the actual words coming out of my mouth. It’s not an environment in which I feel particularly comfortable. Even where I’ve had interviews go very well in the past, they haven’t led to anything. The one positive is that with so many interviews compressed into such a short span of time, I should start feeling more comfortable with them by the third or fourth one, and that’s good since I’ve purposely scheduled the employers which are higher up on my list of preferences for Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

Ultimately, I have no idea how this is going to end up. By Wednesday evening either I’ll have a job, or it’ll be time to start working on more applications. Either way it’ll be nice to at least have this process over with.