I sort of realized something with the job interview that had me stress out.
It’s not that I doubt my ability.
I know that I could have done the job easily.
I know that I’m a good and reliable employee. I know from the way things keep getting added into my stack with the current job.
I had no doubt in my ability to do the job in the slightest.
What I doubted, was my ability to convince others of that.
I’ve been around this job for more than 4 years now. I’ve seen many many others come and go.
I’ve seen one employee in particular go to the same department where I interviewed.
I know I’m more reliable than her. I’m less drama and gossip oriented than her. I know that I’m more detail oriented than her. I know that my education level is higher than hers. I know I have more seniority than her with the organization (We’re about the same age, both female, both similar skintone). I know I have more experience in office environments than her.
She’s not exactly someone I would write a glowing recommendation about as far as being an employee, though I do have to admit that she’s nice and friendly as a person if you don’t take performance into account.
So, this should be an easy thing… if she got hired, no problem for me.
And yet, I didn’t.
What does she have that I don’t?
Really? Well… she’s skinnier, prettier, and an extrovert.
Should any of those matter in a clerk position? Nope. Not a bit.
But they matter like crazy in a job interview.
Even when people say they don’t judge on things like that.
A bubbly extrovert has a massive advantage on winning people over, on making themselves understood in questions with little time to think about them and sculpt an answer.
Given the two of us the same questions in an essay format, with time to draft out my thought process and nobody watching me… and I think it would be a completely different ballgame.
But as much as the job isn’t a highly people skills heavy position… people skills matter big time in the workplace… and they matter a lot in first impressions when you know they will be meeting a lot of other people.
It’s not like I don’t know how to be professional… it’s not that I have no people skills.. and its not like I don’t dress very nicely for the interviews.
But yes, I’m much much more introverted when I don’t know people well, and especially when I know that their task is essentially to judge and score me and rank me compared to others.
I think better in writing things out than on my feet.
Making wonderful first impressions, bs-ing my way through a politicians non-answer to a question that makes you forget that it didn’t actually answer it, and looking good in a skirt are not my strengths.
I’m a great employee. But I’m not a salesman.
I’m not applying to be a politician, or a used car salesman. I’m applying to be a clerk. Those are very different sets of strengths.
But how do I convince you of that in a 15 minute, high pressure, normally rather scripted encounter?
I don’t doubt my value and worth as a worker. I doubt my ability to get past the judgment stage to be able to prove it. I just doubt that they will actually give me a shot to be able to get to a place where I can show them my strengths, instead of having to use my less-strong areas to try and sell it.
And the more I think about this on job interview fronts, the more I think it applies to other things like dating and even friendships.
I know that even though I’ve got my good share of flaws, that I usually err on the side of being an overly caring friend. I know that even with my messy background, I could be loving and caring in a serious relationship with someone loyal who is looking for someone to be more than willing to meet them halfway if not further and to not be into the game playing and such.
But how do I sell that, when there are so many other people who pretend to be good options on the surface, but may really be the ones who seem to have no real interest in connection beyond having fun and manipulating people?
I’m thinking on one in particular… who is a mess. A true drama queen, completely two-faced in friendships… that I know has cheated on at least two different guys she’s been with…
But, she’s the pretty, bubbly cheerleader. How can you not love her? How can you not want to be her friend (until you know her enough to get burned)?
How do you have confidence in being able to convince someone of your value as an employee (or whatever), when it seems like the trait being judged isn’t real value, but sales skills?
I don’t doubt my value… I just doubt that you will be able to really look for it beyond the flashy first impressions to be able to actually really see it.