Best foot forward


I had two interviews recently that I considered fairly important — good jobs at respected, successful companies (dare I dream of longevity? … no, let’s get in the door first). I had done enough research about each company that I was prepared. Still, I had a certain amount of anxiety. Both jobs are medical editing positions. This is work that I know, but it’s been a few years since I’ve worked full time in medical publishing.

Because of this time gap, when I look at my resume and writing samples, I will sometimes get this odd, disconnected feeling that someone else wrote those stories, that someone else did those jobs, that someone else holds the experience listed on the resume with my name on top. My medical pieces were published before I got married, so my maiden name is on the bylines. But it’s still me; I haven’t changed (much). I wrote those stories, I interviewed those doctors, I attended those medical conferences — all those things my resume says I did. And I consider myself more valuable to employers these days. I have more computer skills, I know more about web research, website creation and maintenance, blogging and tagging, and at least a little bit about using social media.

So there I was, conservatively dressed, with extra copies of my resume, the job description, a list of references, and a few informational pages about the companies for me to review prior to the interview. In the first interview I met one person; in the second  I met a team of 10, over the course of four hours, and took an editing test. Although the rapport was good and I left both interviews with a good feeling, I have no idea what impression I really made.

Did I seem positive? Did I seem confident? Did I come across as phony? I certainly wasn’t depressed and I don’t think I acted negative. I worry if I seem less confident when I start to think, What are they looking for? Is making a joke good or bad? Do I come across as too aggressive or not aggressive enough?

The people I met were in a very wide age bracket. The youngest looked 30-something, possibly late 20s. The oldest might have been 60-something. So I didn’t feel I would be shut out because I was too old. But there could be any number of reasons why I don’t make the cut. If I’m offered a job, they might tell me what led them to make the choice, but if I don’t get selected, I’ll probably never know why. It’s emotionally draining because you might know how to do a job but if you can’t win over an interviewer than you’ve failed.

And the process starts all over again — I have another interview on Monday. I’ll research the company, I’ll make copies of my resume, I’ll get all dressed up, I’ll be upbeat.

Someone gave me some interview advice a few weeks ago that I had completely forgotten until just now. “Walk in on your right foot.” Damned if I know what foot crossed the threshold on the last two interviews. I’m not a superstitious person in general, but I’ll try anything if it seems harmless. Maybe I’ll get some placebo effect going — if subconsciously I think the superstition works, maybe I’ll project onto the interviewer that I am the person he or she is looking for.

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About janarzooman

Freelance writer and editor. View all posts by janarzooman

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