I underestimated how hard it would be to obtain a part-time retail position. My past three job interviews haven’t gone well. I walk in feeling optimistic and hopeful, but I’m usually left feeling over-stressed, deflated, and stupid by the end. I have wrongfully expected my interviews to be conducted with a level of professionalism. Yet, I am left wondering whether professionalism is still part of the workplace and interview environment?
My first interview was nicely sugar-coated as a meet and greet rather than the cross-examination that it turned out to be. It began promising, and I liked the store’s homey environment. It’s not only about the employers getting to know me. It’s also about me getting to know the atmosphere and friendliness of the workplace. It calms my nerves to think that while they’re judging me, I’ll be judging them. I want to ensure that I’m joining a business that respects and considers its employees. My self-worth prevents me from taking disrespect from arrogant employers.
Moving forward, I was asked to carry out a 2hr trial session at the store. When I arrived, I learnt that my hiring manager, who had just returned from Melbourne during the covid pandemic, was required to self-isolate. She probably should have divulged this information when I was sitting across from her at the interview. Both of us were not wearing a mask as I had been assured that I didn’t need to while sitting down. She also hadn’t informed her staff of my job requirements for the day. No one knew what to do with me, so I spent my allocated time wandering around the store like a headless chook.
In the end, I didn’t get the position. I bet it has something to do with the fact that I wasn’t adequately assessed as she wasn’t there to assess me. I would’ve been more than happy if she had postponed the assessment to another date.
I didn’t even reach my second interview. I had received a phone call the previous day asking if I could attend an interview. I was 5 minutes away from the business when the manager rang, stating that the interview needed to be cancelled. The store was over pouring with customers early on a Thursday morning, and they were too busy. I took this explanation as a lie. I think she made a mistake in requesting me for an interview. She wasn’t even sure of my name. I’m okay with her cancellation. However, I would have appreciated it if she had contacted me earlier before I got down the road.
My last dreadful meeting was planned early on a Saturday morning in the form of a group meeting. I lugged my tired, anxious body to the interview, where I sat with 10 other weary applicants. Thinking back to the day, I realize that the interview was bizarre. We were requested to perform various silly activities. I never anticipated needing to learn the moon dance to get a job.
Meanwhile, other applicants had to bark like a dog, hop on one foot, and flap like birds. The hiring manager had a rather interesting excuse for conducting these absurd activities. It was a test to see if we could listen and follow instructions.
Our next hunger games trial was a test to see how badly we wanted the position by telling a really embarrassing story about ourselves. I left feeling utterly stupid, embarrassed, and shocked over what I had to subject myself to.
I received an email the following week stating that I wasn’t invited to the next phase of their selection process. I was a little upset as the email gave no reasoning or feedback about their decision. So, I decided to give the business a call. I asked to speak to the hiring manager but was told he was busy on the phone and would call back. A few days passed with no contact.
Fortunately, I received a call from my career counsellor, who, upon hearing my weird experience, wanted to help and decided to try and contact the business on my behalf. But, alas, after being transferred multiple times by people who had no idea there had been an interview. She finally got hold of the manager who had planned, held, and questioned us at the interview, only to be told he wasn’t the one who made the hiring decisions. WHAT! Why the hell was he even there then?
I felt quite lost and frustrated. What was wrong with me. Why did I never get picked? What did I do wrong? It wasn’t so much that I liked the job, but I really wanted a stable income and to grow my skills. It felt like a massive waste of a Saturday morning having to drive into the city for the dam meeting.
When thinking about the interviews. I’m bloody glad I didn’t get the jobs. I feel like I dodged a bullet. It was clearly not meant to be, and I’m sure something at some point will come along, and I will get a job without having to do the moon dance.
For anyone else who is struggling with the stress of job interviews and the anguish of never getting picked, don’t walk away blaming yourself. It is not your fault. If the employers acted foolishly in the interview, they would act foolishly in the workplace. It’s their loss, which is an affirmation my career counsellor and parents told me.