Nailed the Interview but Not the Job?

5 Nov

A 22-year-old girl bought her first suit and pair of work-appropriate high heels for a ridiculously important job interview at an international advertising firm in downtown Milwaukee. This was her first big interview – ever.

It was a morning appointment, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. The girl arrived downtown at 8:15 a.m., found parking, and readied herself for the interview. She thought she had a really good shot at getting this position. It was going to be so exciting. She had just graduated college, and she was ready to start living the dream.

She felt good. She had stopped at Einstein Bros. Bagels for a hot cup of coffee and a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter. No empty stomach, no real nerves – she was ready.

At 8:25 a.m., she walked into the 15th floor office where she had the interview. She waited in the sitting area for the manager to retrieve her, and then she followed the woman into her office. She answered all the questions flawlessly. The manager even called in a colleague to meet this great girl – everything was going so well!

After an hour-long interview, the girl thanked both interviewers, and they walked her out. She walked to her car beaming, ready to go home and write thank-you emails to both women she had just met. As she got in the driver’s seat, she turned the rear-view mirror so she could look at herself, thinking how confident she was about the interview.

When she looked in the mirror, she noticed something weird smack-dab in the middle of her chin. It looked like a giant, pus-filled pimple – so GROSS! She touched it, and realized what it was – a glob of peanut butter – from the bagel earlier that morning. Oh. My. God. It had been on her chin throughout the entire interview! The girl was completely mortified, and any confidence she had had about getting the job flew right out the window.

Hadn’t she looked in the mirror the exact same way right before she got out of her car? How had she missed this? She wiped the peanut butter off her chin, and all she could do was shake her head and smile. She shook it off – whatever, she thought. Lesson learned.

She didn’t get the job – not even a second interview. The second colleague had probably been brought in to see the mess on her face so the two women could laugh about it later.

To this day, every interview she has, the girl doesn’t eat beforehand. And she always critically inspects herself in the mirror – more than once. This is the first time she’s ever told this story, and I hope you think it’s as horrifyingly funny as I do.

I wasn’t kidding when I said ‘lesson learned.’ All it takes is one snafu – I’ll never forget that. It was awful at the time, but I really did shake it off almost immediately. And I am totally convinced that’s part of the reason I didn’t get a call back.

Don’t underestimate the power of presentation. How you look matters – a lot. Obviously there are several other things I’ve learned since that first interview.

  • Breath mints are a must. Remember those Altoid Smalls commercials with the job interview? Yeah, never forget about that!
  • Don’t be too cocky, and don’t get too comfortable. With all the young companies out there with the 25- and 35-year-old CEOs, it’s easy to think you’re talking to your college buddy during an interview. You aren’t. They still look for professionalism, even if there’s a company beer pong tournament every quarter.
  • Ask for the job. Always finish your interview by asking about the next steps. Interviewers are more impressed if they can tell you truly want the position.
  • Research the company before your interview – this can take your further than you might think.
  • Write a thank you note, and not just one. If you interview with multiple people, write a personalized note or email to each one.

Since the peanut butter, I’ve had several other rather entertaining mishaps during job interviews – from running the interview myself (I got that job) to having three interviews and thinking it was totally nailed, but then not getting the job.

The last thing I can say is never get your hopes up too high. Even if you think you totally nailed it and there’s no way another candidate is better suited for the position, trust me. There is. You might not get it, no matter how excellent you are.

Moving from Mom and Dad’s into a Friend’s Place – Could It Be Worse?

4 Nov

Being in your 20s these days is getting harder and harder – and it’s partly because of the economy, but partly because we’re a generation full of many spoiled kids. Now, I don’t mean spoiled in a bad way – we aren’t all total jerks or anything – but a lot of us get what we want a lot of the time, and our parents still do everything they can to make sure that happens, even if we’re 24 and already purchasing our own home.

I know several people who have moved back in with their parents after college or after being laid-off from a job. I myself have come very close to doing so – but I’ve been lucky enough to hang by a thread and keep an apartment (always with a roommate) on my own. (Shout out to Obama, for the extra unemployment money!)

As a freelance writer/social media consultant, the possibility of camping out at Mom and Dad’s is never too far from my mind – so this is a topic that definitely hits close to home (bad pun definitely intended).

I recently had a long conversation with a friend of mine who has had a roller coaster of a professional life since graduating college a few years ago. He’s been back with his parents twice, been let-go from two different jobs, and traveled halfway across the world and back. He’s lived in three time zones in the last three years and has had five different jobs.

This friend called me last night, frustrated because after a recent five-month stint of living with his parents, a friend of his offered for him to move into the house he just purchased. Seems like a great idea, right?

For some of us, this would be an obvious decision – a total no-brainer. Get out of your parents house as soon as possible. Take the easiest, earliest option that presents itself. Makes sense. Well, it makes sense until you do it – then realize you’ve moved in with your spoiled friend. Not a jerk – at all. Just kind of helpless – and allows/expects his parents to do everything for him – at the age of 27.

Now all my friend wants to do is go home after work and play video games and watch inappropriate comedy that only people in their 20s and early 30s find entertaining – but because someone else’s parents are now hovering around his house doing odd tasks at odd times of the day, he feels uncomfortable living his life.

At that point, you have to just wish you’d stayed with your own parents, because at least you can kind of blow them off. When it’s someone else’s family, you have no choice but to bend over backwards with courtesy and helpfulness – even though you have your own darn life to live.

This situation really just speaks to our generation. I have to say, my parents might be guilty of the same thing if I bought a house in my home town. They would want to help as much as possible – my mom would want to take charge of every project, and honestly, I think I’d let her do it. Hell, if I have an excuse to be lazy and let mom take care of it, why not?

On the other hand, I’m too independent to let someone else make such decisions for me, and, much like my own mother, I’m a bit of a control freak. So maybe my situation would be different. I don’t know – but I do know that this situation isn’t at all surprising to me, and it could happen to any one of us at any time.

So if you’re living with your parents and you’re ready to pull out your hair or slip an Ambien into their morning coffee so they leave you alone all day – count your blessings. At least you’re comfortable being yourself in your home, and remember, regardless of your current situation, something could always be worse.

H-A-double L-O-W-double E-N Spells Halloween!

28 Oct

‘Tis the season for little goblins, ghouls, witches, Willow Smiths and Justin Biebers. Woo hoo! That means it’s also the season for 20-something girls to go out scantily-clad and get completely tanked while 20-something boys look at and touch them inappropriately.

I heard something on the radio earlier this week about the sexy Halloween costume phenomenon, and when it started. One of the radio personalities hypothesized that it really kicked off with Britney Spears’ sexy school girl music video, and that might be true. Though I kind of think the whole Hot French Maid idea has been around for much longer than that…

Halloween is an interesting holiday. Several of my friends have deemed it their personal favorite holiday to celebrate – who doesn’t want to have a valid excuse to wear ANYTHING you want, drink to excess, and inappropriately touch random members of the opposite sex? I think it’s safe to say the meaning of the holiday evolves as we age…

Ten years old? Yessssss! CANDY! CANDY! CANDY! CANDY!

Nineteen years old? Yesssss! HOUSE PARTY! BOOZE! HOOKUP!

Twenty-five years old? Yessss! FRIEND’S PARTY! THEN BARS! BOOZE! EXCUSE TO GO ALMOST TOTALLY NAKED IN PUBLIC!

Halloween in college – especially if you happen to go to the University of Wisconsin or Ohio University, both of which have been featured multiple times on national news stations because of absurd and inappropriate Halloween rioting behavior on their campuses – is an entirely different animal than it was in high school and before.

Some things to consider when gearing up for this Halloween weekend:

  • Girls not wearing underwear beneath their fishnet tights
  • Getting laid – it’s the kinky role-playing opportunity of the year, with absolutely no judgment
  • Even in your mid- to late-20s, it’s still okay to act like you’re a 20-year-old college kid
  • Facebook’s "tag" and "untag" options
  • Lesbians dressed like Justin Bieber (lookout, ladies – they can be tricky and dangerous)
  • Costumes emulating the cast of Jersey Shore

I have had some friends tell me that they feel like they are outgrowing Halloween. Seriously? Are you outgrowing your life, too? It’s such a fun time to get away with doing pretty much anything you want! (I’m not condoning any illegal activity, but within reason, a lot more things are considered acceptable behavior this weekend than any other time of year).

Not to mention the Pumpkin-shaped Reese’s – possibly the best shape ever, tied with the Christmas Tree and Egg-shaped Reese’s. They just taste so much better than original Reese’s Cups.

No matter what you do, how mature or ‘old’ you think you are in your late twenties or who you’re hanging out with this Halloween, let loose a little bit and have some fun. That’s what this holiday is all about since most of us are beyond the candy-in-a-pillowcase phase of our lives…

Wedding Season

10 May

One big part of surviving your 20s is attending and/or being a part of many weddings. Well spring has officially sprung, and that marks the beginning of Wedding Season 2010.

Wedding season typically starts in mid to late Spring, and continues on through late fall.

I had one extraneous wedding back in January – and it was a total blast, despite below-zero temperatures in frigid Wisconsin at that time of year. Brrrr! But this past weekend began the wedding frenzy that I find myself amidst this year.

Including the January celebration of love, I will attend seven weddings this year – and I’ll be in three of them. But weddings are so much fun! Yes, yes they are – but it gets to be a lot after a while…

This past weekend I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my dear college friends. It was a beautiful wedding and everything went off without a hitch.

I’ll elaborate more on weddings and wedding etiquette, hook-ups, appropriate drunkenness and the like at a later date – but for now I wish you all a Happy Wedding Season, and don’t do anything you’ll regret!

The Search is ON!

25 Apr

True, I’ve been unemployed for the past three months already, but I’ve been doing some freelancing and small writing gigs.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of my start date at the job of my dreams. *Sigh*… I am clearly no longer at said job – as you all read about back in January when the company (of which I will never speak ill) was forced to lay-off 43 of its 210 employees. Ouch!

Needless to say, my spirits have been re-energized, and I’m seriously on the job hunt again. For any of you who are or have been unemployed, you understand the difficulties that come with the ‘job.’

Self-motivation, staving off depression and keeping yourself healthy are just a few items on the laundry list of things that become prevalent when you no longer have a full-time distraction – or as some people might like to call it, a full-time JOB.

This week I’ve been going to coffee shops, taking my laptop and really motivating myself to search. I haven’t hit any interviews yet, but keep your fingers crossed, and hopefully something will come through in the next few weeks. Until then – stay motivated!

What’s Bigger Than PORN?

24 Mar

Online dating. I’m sure this comes as no surprise to most of you – I know I wasn’t completely floored by the idea of it. I came across an article on Mashable that led me to the infographic below. Check it out – it’s going to be all over the Internet by tomorrow… Oh, wait. It already is:

Online Dating Statistics
Via: Online Schools

Living the Single Life

9 Mar

I’m at home in Dayton again this week (ahhh, the joys of being unemployed), and my parents are in Minnesota so I’m dog-sitting in the mean time. I have free reign over my parents’ 3,000-square-foot home, and I’m loving it. It’s just me and ┬áthe dogs.

I imagine most 20-somethings aren’t living alone in a house on a sizable piece of property, so allow me to give you some insight into the life of a single homeowner. My experience cannot even begin to rival what it’s actually like, but I’m definitely getting a small glimpse…

It’s difficult, to be sure. There are so many things to worry about – from locking all the doors and turning off all the lights to making sure there isn’t water leaking into the basement when death hurricane winds and rain come through Dayton, Ohio in the first week of March (who knew?).

What’s great is that you can entertain without having to worry about neighbors and being loud. It’s wonderful. Tonight I’m having a little dinner party, and it doesn’t matter how late we’re up or how loud we are – no one above or below is going to be upset or annoyed.

While this is great for a week or so at a time, I cannot imagine living alone in a house with a big yard full-time. I now understand what my mom means when she says it’s a full-time job taking care of the house – there is always something that needs to be done in order to really keep the place clean, nice and livable.

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