It is 1:23 p.m. I am sitting in the lobby reception area outside the company where I have a 1:30 p.m. interview with the hiring manager. I gave my name to the receptionist and I am now waiting, waiting, waiting. I’ve been here maybe one minute already which is long enough to know the next few will feel eternal.
I sit down on a chair opposite a table covered with a copy of today’s Wall Street Journal, a few marketing brochures and a couple of copies of the company’s most recent annual report. I already read the annual report online. I probably should pick it up and read it again. After all, it is over 100 pages long, lots of info. But what if they see me with it and think I haven’t read it yet and conclude I know nothing about the company? I’ll pass. Instead, I take out my phone.
1:24 p.m. I am done checking Facebook. Let’s go through the interview checklist. Company info, check. Two minute elevator pitch, check. Stories and supporting examples of projects from my resume, check. Explanations for why I left my last two jobs, check. List of questions to ask, check. I am sure I am missing something. What is it? No, really, what is it? Now I am stressing out over this and that’s not good. Time to move on.
I want to look confident so I practice smiling. Does it look genuine and natural or is it too big and looks fake? How about my hair, is anything sticking up or really out of place? How about my suit? Black suits are notorious lint magnets. I don’t have a mirror but I could try looking in my phone in selfie mode, but that might look a little weird. Better yet, I could try to find some sort of mirror app and download it to my phone. That’s a good example of problem solving, right? Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch.
Someone is walking through the lobby with one of those cafeteria take-out boxes. Good to know there is a caf on site. I could take this chance to look up and practice my smile but no, I look down at my phone and swipe away.
It’s been a few hours since I looked up the company’s stock price so I might as well while I have my phone out and all. Not good, down 15 cents on the day. Guess what I won’t be bringing up in front of the finance folks?
Time check: 1:26. Better make sure the ringer is silenced. Done. Let me double check just to be sure. Now that I am thinking about it, I did turn the toaster oven off before leaving home, right?
Yes! The epiphany I have been waiting for. Examples of strengths and weaknesses at work. That’s what I wanted to go over on the interview checklist. I knew there was something. Always trust your instincts.
Great, now I am starting to feel like I have to go to the bathroom. Damn coffee habit. Count three, cross those legs a bit tighter, and pray.
Time to clear my throat to get ready for all of that talking. The last thing I need is to get that rice-krispy-stuck-in-my-throat feeling and cough uncontrollably. That would be worse than telling the interviewer I stalked his profile on LinkedIn.
1:28. Really getting close now. I need that last minute self-administered pep talk: you’ll be great, you’ll be great, you’ll be great.
Pep talk is officially a failure. I had the misfortune of hearing Chumbawamba on a TV show segment this morning and that song is still stuck in my head, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down, I get knocked d-” NO! Let’s try this again, twice as fast now: you’ll be great, you’ll be great, you’ll be great, you’ll be great, you’ll be great, you’ll be great.
Now, did I really turn the phone ringer off? I can’t remember now. Get a grip and think. Yes, I know I did. Phew.
1:29. The door opens and my name is called. Take a deep breath. Yeah, I got this.
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