Career Change – The Interviews

See Deciding to Look and The Search

For me, the search and interview process took nearly two years to generate a job offer.  During this time I had over a hundred screening interviews, dozens of phone interviews and several face-to-face interviews, without a single offer of employment.  How glad I am that I had a job during this difficult economic time!  Even so, this time was a dark time for me.  I felt un-promotable and un-hirable.  My current company did not seem to want me, and nobody else seemed to either.

The good news was my resume was stirring up interviews, the bad news was the interviews were not resulting in offers.  I felt like they liked my resume and hated me.  In reality, the economy was down, and companies may have been willing to interview by hesitant to hire.  But I also needed to admit something to myself.  I was really bad at job interviews.

At this point I would like to put in a plug for employment specialists at the ward, stake and regional levels.  These people are very helpful from my experience, and you can get good advice on resumes, interviewing, and job searching from these good folks.

Anyway, I had problems giving good interviews.  One problem is that I am extremely modest.  I have a difficult time bragging about myself and my accomplishments.  Unfortunately, in a competitive job market you may need to be ‘over the top’ in your bragging in a believable way to stand a chance.  In addition to this, I am a very calm, thoughtful person.  I have a slow and deliberate way of speaking.  I care much more about what I say than how I say it.  If I go about the interview this way, the HR rep will look at my facial expressions and body language, and hear the tone of my voice, and wonder if I want this job or not.  They seem to expect someone who is sincerely a cheerleader, used car salesman, and game show host all rolled into one.  This is very difficult for me to try and pull off.

With practice over time, and with some good advice, I did get better at interviewing.  But still no offers, and I was getting close to being two years into the effort.

I had a few close calls with great companies, with good jobs available that seemed like an ideal fit for me.  These opportunities were not in the location I wanted, but two out of three isn’t bad.  I had what I felt were great interviews for these positions.  I fell in love with the companies, and was anticipating job offers from them that I would gladly accept.  Neither one of these ended with a job offer.  I was crushed.  I had poured my soul out to these companies with all I had.  If I could not get an offer from these, perhaps I would never get one.

I have a place where I go to be alone and pray.  It is at some soccer fields near my home.  After these disappointments, I went there and prayed.  I am not like Job I guess.  I prayed with tears of anger and frustration.  ‘I wanted this one Heavenly Father’, I said through clenched teeth.  What should I do?  I had not received any specific guidance at all, and I was drained.  After my prayer I just sat and looked around.  I looked at a nearby tree for a while, and felt the words, ‘for now, you need to grow where you are, like that tree’.  I felt this was real communication.  It was not terribly satisfying, but it was something.

After another disappointing rejection that I was hopeful for, I went back to my spot, and said another frustrated prayer.  After praying I sat and looked around again.  I saw some kids flying a kite.  The younger brother ran the kite into a tree, and got it stuck.  The older brother came along and helped him get it out.  Words came to my mind saying, ‘Your kite is stuck in a tree also, I can help you get it out’.  My anger softened, and I was hopeful.  A couple of weeks later this company called me back in.  They had another position they wanted to talk to me about.

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