It has been over twelve years since any real interviewing occurred. Twelve years at one company, where conversations took me to the next step rather than interviews. In 1997, I was 37 years old - old enough to know that I didn't want to work anywhere that I couldn't be myself. Going against the tide of mounting warnings around me, I dressed casually but professionally and marched myself through four interviews. In all of them, I was honest, direct, and wholly myself. At the end of them, I was hired, beginning a twelve year adventure at Disney, not one moment of which I would ever take back or do over. What I learned in the interview process was that you can't read everyone, but you can read some, and you should never pretend to be anyone other than you are.
I am now 49 and unemployed for the first time since I walked through those magical doors. The idea of interviewing fills me with dread. In an attempt to gently lift myself out of the deepening hollow, I remind myself that there is humor to everything, so there must be some here. What will this process be like for me NOW? as opposed to 12 1/2 years ago, when I felt, well, a frightful lot younger? Shall we take a look?
1. Do NOT put on a suit. Well, in fact, I don't own a suit. And just as with my last experience, I wouldn't dream of it. It in no way reflects who I am. If the suit is a deal breaker, the job shouldn't be mine. Easy peasy.
2. Unleash your energy. There is this fear that 49 year olds are just tired and worn out. Well, in fact I am. But all of that disappears when I talk about what I love, when my brain and imagination kick in to reflect on the power of learning and knowledge. I suppose I could go over the top. Naw, it's not in me to go over the top. Unleash it I shall.
3. Of paramount importance, and vastly different than my prior experience, by all means let's make sure the nose ring post isn't sticking out of the nose. I'm clearly going to have to make a decision here - to wear it or not to wear it. The "common sensors" around me would of course mandate "remove the damn thing." Heavens, what will it say about you? What will people think? Really? I am quite undecided for the moment. Besides, I'm still terrified that I won't be able to put it back in without stabbing myself unnecessarily.
4. Know what your short-term goals are. Sure, but I think that short-term is actually a bit more challenging than long term. Long term, I want to learn as much as I can, and enable the rest of the world to do the same. What the hell are the short-term milestones for this? And are they relevant to the jobs I'm looking at? Let's be damned sure they are, missy. Let's be damned sure they are.
5. Don't show your tattoos. No prob, unless I decide to wear a sleeveless shirt to meet with these folks with whom I desire to spend many, many years. Not going to happen. NOT going to happen.
6. Take some home-baked goodies along for the fine HR folks. Yeah, I added this one. I'm thinking nothing makes a statement like bringing something truly tasty that you made yourself. Pretty much a guarantee that I will continue to bring them over the years to come.
Okay, so the nose ring thing seems to initiate the most debate. I can handle that. As for the rest, as the immortal poet, Popeye, used to say...."I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam." Turns out, I'm pretty much a rock star! xoxox