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Recovering From Failure
(May 13, 2010) - By Enajite Onos
Much is made of winning when the stakes are high but what happens when you fail miserably in that once-in-a-lifetime moment?
I remember it like it was yesterday: lying on my bed with a queasy feeling in my stomach, surrounded by numerous sheets of paper covered with incomprehensible writing. I was about to have a phone interview for my dream job, and I was terrified. What if I blew it? I was keenly aware of all the consequences of not getting this job, and, after having worked so hard to get this one shot at it, not making the cut would be devastating.
I had already passed through the first stage of the process: an interview with HR that had gone swimmingly, and now, it was time to speak with the decision makers: the man who would be my boss and his boss. All day long I had agonized about the interview. I wanted the job so badly. The position seemed like a perfect fit for my skills and background, and the pay was glorious. After months of job searching and applying for positions below my skills level and salary requirements, this job seemed like a gift from heaven.
But when the moment came to dazzle, I failed. I stuttered answers to the first question and fumbled and rambled on the next. I knew I had failed dreadfully when the interview wrapped in less than twenty minutes and the manager seemed inconvenience when I asked if I could pose any questions.
"Sure," he said startled. To him, the interview was already over.
I had blown my big moment and in an economy like this, what were the chances I would get another? I was keenly aware of the stiff competition. Had this opportunity passed me forever or could I still salvage it?
Here are some of the tips I have learned after failing: You can be redeemed.
Send a thank you note. We all know that sending a thank you is important but it could be the first step in the redemptive process. Write a thank you expressing your enthusiasm and giving concrete examples from a previous job on how you have solved problems relevant to them. Also, include answers to the questions you fumbled. For instances, if you had been stumped on a question about a particular skill, apologize for the over-the-phone disaster, and write now what you would have said later.
Practice, practice, practice. For some reason, I have always had cold feet when it comes to interviewing, and while I realized that practice was key, I would only practice the day or so before the interview. If you are full-time job seeker, practice interviewing everyday. Print sample questions and write out answers to them, then practice saying them as naturally as possible. And don't skip the difficult questions either. Even question you think they will never ask, practice them. This will give you confidence and keep the lists of your achievements at the forefront of your mind, so that even when your nerves get the best of you, your lips will still be moving and make sense.
Lastly, realize this it just an interview. This may seem like a no-brainer but it is crucial. I had magnified the interview to an end-all-be-all, and, while we should never downplay the importance of something, we should not be overcome to the point of hyperventilation. I remember during one of my interview anxiety modes, I spoke with my sister. She told me simply, "The interviewers are just people." And for some reason, that calmed me. Of course they were! They were people with power to affect my unemployment, certainly, but people nevertheless and people I could talk to. All their questions, no matter how frightening, were really trying to probe my suitability. Do I have what it takes? If not, do I have the drive it takes to acquire them? Realizing this greatly relieved my stress and enabled me to ace my subsequent interviews.
While I did not secure that exact position, I did get a call back from HR offering to interview me for another job within that company. In the end, I realized: we can learn from our failures and shine when it counts!
Source: Talent Culture (http://www.talentculture.com/)
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