I have come to the realization, having been battling all day with Windows 7 on my new computer, that I, alas, am human. Kinda didn’t want to face up to that fact at this point in my life/career, but Windows 7 has won.
Which, not surprisingly, got me thinking about the young men and women who come to me, both at Curry College where I head up the public relations concentration and teach most of the public relations courses, and at Regis College where I teach graduate communications courses, for advice and guidance as they nervously set out on their initial (or, sometimes, continuing) search for the “right” job.
We all have the time-tested gems like “Do all the research you can on the companies you’re interested in.” and “Be able to describe your strengths in a couple of short sentences.” But I’ve found over the years of my own ventures into “alternative employment” that I’ve rarely been able to anticipate everything that’s going to be asked of me.
And that, I’ve also discovered, is ok.
As much as we all would like to have total control over the events that shape our lives, there’s a limit, and “knowledge” falls into that pile.
Is this to suggest that you shouldn’t make an attempt to learn as much as you can about a potential employer before going in for an interview? Absolutely not. What I am suggesting is that you not make yourself crazy in the process!
Gather your facts. Prepare your “self-disclosure” pitch. Make sure your buttons and zippers are buttoned and zipped. And dive into the pool.
One thing that I, as a former hiring manager and, in another life, as a member of an executive recruitment firm always looked for in addition to basic knowledge of my organization’s or my client’s business, was poise and confidence…a sort of “I may not know that answer right now, but I guarantee you that once I am a member of your team I will become the walking expert on that subject” aura.
So gather ye rosebuds…and pertinent information…while ye may. Learn as much as you can about each and every organization you’re invited to interview with. And be comfortable with the knowledge that, inevitably, you’re going to be asked a question to which you absolutely have no response.
Then, for future interviews, add that question to the preparation pile and charge ahead. You will gain in confidence with each session. And, ultimately, you will land a position where you will be comfortable in your abilities as a communicator.
“No one can draw more out of things, books included, than he already knows. A man has no ears for that to which experience has given him no access.” Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, “Ecce Homo”