I just got out of a painful interview.
I had manager screening chats on Wednesday and Thursday of last week that turned into two interviews today and one tomorrow. Meanwhile, I went to Southern California over the weekend for my dad’s 81st birthday and some hang time with my mom.
In the midst of all this, I tried to do interview prep because I had to present something in both interviews today.
The first interview had the most involved request. Come up with questions about the task at hand, make assumptions of possible answers, and then come up with steps that I’d take based on those answers. And it felt like I just didn’t connect with the exercise the way they wanted.
I’ve been on their side of the table, interviewing and screening candidates at Amazon. Sometimes, you’re looking for something, an element of the answer the candidate is just not providing, and you can’t coach them. You have to ask follow-up questions and hope they can determine what you need from them. It’s a shitty process, but it helps focus on how they think and whether they can think in a way that puts them at the level you need them to be for the role.
This time, based on their follow-ups, I felt like I not only didn’t give them what they wanted, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was so I could pivot. And that’s brutal. It breaks down my confidence, raises my stress levels, and I feel frustrated.
It’s not just that I’m frustrated with the line of questioning or the interviewers. I’m frustrated with myself. I know I’m missing something, or I maybe I just don’t have the experience. I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle.
But even if I’d had more time… I understood the instructions as saying I should be ready to talk about this Q and A, as in “discuss.” They wanted an actual presentation with visuals, which was not requested in the instructions. In the interview I have coming up, they specifically asked for a presentation, and I could use one I’ve given before. I just had to rehearse to shake off the rust and do a little touch-up to the deck.
Of course, in that role, I found out that I’m competing for it with someone I REALLY respect and even am in a little bit of awe of, so I have 12 minutes to shake off the stress/depression chemicals coursing through my body, get my game face on, and go crush the interview.
Wish me luck.
1 thought on “Job Hunt Diary 2023: Eliciting Responses”
FYI, fake laughing actually does work to break you out of a spiral. Did some and was able to go into the next interview with confidence and energy.