The idea of interviewing used to make me uneasy. Very uneasy. I assume that’s partly due to how horrendous my first job interview was.
But I also know I’m not alone in this feeling. Interviews are intimidating. The stakes are high. You’re so close to achieving something you want and you’re being judged every step of the way. You also know that an hour-long conversation could strongly influence the next year (or twenty) of your life. Yikes.
Still, interviews aren’t a bad thing. In fact, the more that I’ve reflected on and participated in them, the more I’ve come to enjoy them. Okay, maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word, but it’s not far off.
With the right frame of mind, I think you’ll learn to (sort of) enjoy them too. Here are six reasons why.
It’s an Opportunity to Learn New Things
I’ve never left a job interview without learning a tremendous amount. I learn about different business strategies, company cultures, industry challenges, approaches to overcome those challenges, and more. I see a new way of doing things. I also learn a lot about myself as I am forced to articulate why I want to work somewhere (why do I?) and what I would bring to the table. All in all, interviews are a great learning exercise.
It’s a Great Way to Network
This is more so true for informational interviews, but it can apply to formal job interviews as well. If you’ve made it to the in-person interview, it means that you and the employer have enough in common to consider a relationship with one another. Even if it turns out you aren’t a great match, you might be just the right guy or gal for the hiring manager’s friend.
It’s a Challenge
I love a good challenge and job interviews certainly fit the bill. You have to keep your composure, strategically articulate why you’re a good fit, be likable, answer brain teasers, ask the right questions, and so much more. In sum, you have an hour or less to prove just how awesome you are.
It’s a Reality Check
And then there are the times when you realize you’re not as awesome as you think. While humbling experiences are uncomfortable, they’re usually a good thing. If you interview and realize your qualifications aren’t what they need to be, you’re now in a place to move in the right direction.
Practice Makes Perfect
Acing an interview isn’t easy. Neither are most things in life. But, like most things, practice will help you improve. Rather than following your instincts and repressing your interview mistakes, try reflecting on them and identifying concrete ways to improve. Use your past experience to grow and perform better in the future.
It Helps You Know What You Want
We often leave interviews thinking one of two things: “I really hope I get it!” or “Wow, that is not the job for me.” Regardless of the end result, either reaction can tell you a great deal about what you want. Take time directly after the interview to ask yourself what you liked and didn’t like about the company, its employees, and the position itself. The answers will help you move forward in your job search and in your career.