What Not To Say on a Job Interview

You may or may not know this about me, but sometimes I say stupid stuff. Weird things pop into my head and if I’m not careful they come spewing out of my mouth at the strangest times. Those who know and love me have grown to find it endearing, funny even. Those who don’t know me can tend to think that I am… well, weird.

Most of the time when I’m around strangers I can get a handle on it. I’m fully aware that some people can only handle so much personality from one person. Yet, when I’m nervous like say… at a job interview, sometimes there is no telling what I’ll say.

That being said, let me share three phrases with you that should never be said while you are trying to convince someone to give you a job.

1.) “Oh! We’re role playing?!”

2.) “Yeah… I werked it 😉 ”

3.) “You know what? I’m gonna cheat… I’m cheating!”

Unfortunately for me I was feeling a bit off the morning I went in for my final job interview of the summer and ALL of those things were said at one point… including the winky face. As soon as I got back into my car after walking out of the school I was tempted to bang my head on my steering wheel over and over again. I didn’t though, instead I gave myself an internal scolding, “Nina! What the hell is your problem?!?!” and then I scolded myself again for finally being able to keep my thoughts in my head where they belong versus out of my mouth where they don’t.

Earlier this summer I had gone on a few interviews for Middle School Language Arts teaching positions. I got rejected once, offered one job (that I turned down), and then offered another opportunity to teach as a long term sub. The school that offered me the long term sub position told me to go ahead and apply for other jobs throughout the summer knowing that I had this offer to fall back on if necessary. (I’m pretty sure it was my consolation prize.)

Brent and I decided that since I was still on the fence about working full time again I should just go for the long term sub position. Penelope is still little and I know how time intensive teaching is, especially during your first year.

I was resolved on this decision, but then I stumbled upon a dream scenario. Part-time teaching at two schools within walking distance to my house, one of which Bridget is going to attend. I would teach two classes in the morning at one school and two classes at the other. I would have plenty of time throughout the day to finish all of my work so that I wouldn’t have to bring it home with me at night. I didn’t know whether or not I should apply for it. After all of the drama my summer entailed I was late turning in my teaching license and I didn’t think I would receive it on time for teaching at the beginning of the year.  I didn’t want to apply for this job and not get it because I was an idiot and didn’t take care of things  when I should have.

I debated and debated… I had been feeling pretty low after the surgery I didn’t think I could handle the rejection that I was sure to endure. But then for some reason on the last minute I submitted all of the required elements to apply and just waited to see what would happen. What did I have to lose? Worst case scenario I would gain more interview experience.

Shortly after, I got a call for an interview then my hopes started to soar. This was after all a unique job that was uniquely perfect for me, it was almost like it was tailor made.

I found myself becoming increasingly excited about the prospect of getting this job.  During the weekend I tried to mentally prepare myself for the interview by having the most relaxing weekend ever. On Saturday morning Penelope and I went on our usual morning bike ride and came across our beloved hot air balloons.

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My friend/neighbor, KJ took this picture.

When Sunday rolled around Brent and I took Penelope for an early morning hike.

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It was so beautiful I couldn’t believe that we waited so long to take our first hike of the summer!

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Then, I remembered that we had to carry a monkey on our back so I figured that was the reason for our delay.

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After the hike we got back in time to eat breakfast before heading out for our Sunday Funday farmer’s market/book store routine.  We sampled some fruit…

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and then read some books…

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… then went home and sampled some more fruit.

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After nap we went to a friend’s house for some yard games followed by a visit downtown Littleton for some food truck fun and a glass of wine. It was great!

Then someone decided to have a toddler fit and threw my phone against the wall and broke it to pieces… little shit. I was going to need that to hear back about my interview. It really bothered me and kind of ruined the mood for the day.

I was still irritated about it the next morning. Instead of taking my phone with me I took my computer and left early in order to get a coffee and decompress before the interview. It actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When I showed up to the school I sat across from someone else who was also interviewing for the same job. She had two huge binders sitting in her lap and looked super prepared. My first internal reaction was, “Shit! I should have done that too!” Then as I looked through the interview questions the secretary gave me I dug through my laptop and found a power point that I had made during my student teaching that correlated perfectly with an answer I had to give.

Ha! Take that super prepared applicant!

As I sat in the office waiting for my turn to interview I began to get even more nervous.  Then my thoughts went back to my broken phone sitting on my kitchen counter and I got irritated. Before I knew it, it was my turn and I was still feeling a little off. So what did I do? I overcompensated…

My personality was turned up ten notches instead of five and I said things I would never normally say in an interview. I sat there with two principals and two other teachers and I just put on a show. The more they laughed the more obnoxious I got. After having to role play a teacher student conference with one of the other teachers I just sat back and said, “Well… that was awkward. I must have left my Mary Katherine Gallager at home.”

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(Click here to see a reenactment of the interview.)

Turns out I didn’t leave Mary at home at all…

A few hours later I got a phone call from the school. But I missed it because my phone was in shreds. I got it repaired that night and tried to call the principal back who had left his cell number but didn’t get a response. On the voice mail he said that he just had a few more questions to wrap up the process.

I kept wracking my brain. What did he want to know?!

“So Nina, can you tell me why you are such a weirdo?”

No, I have no idea.

“Do you normally behave this way in front of people?”

No… okay fine. Yes.

I had to wait until the next morning to find out what he wanted to ask me. I was out on a walk with my friend power pushing Penelope’s stroller. I was a bit confused and out of breath when I answered. And then the questions came…

“Hi Nina, do you want this job? Because if you do it’s yours.”

YAY!!!!!

I was so excited! Brent was at home packing for our family vacation to Minnesota when I called him to share the news. Then I got even more news…

“You’ll have to start this Monday at 7:30 in the morning. We have an orientation you will have to attend.”

Our flight wasn’t schedule to come in until noon on Monday. After a few more calls it was determined that if I really wanted this job I would have to stay home from my trip.

So this morning I woke up early and dropped Brent and Penelope off at the airport in the rain. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I went to one of my favorite coffee shops from my college days.

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That’s where I am right now, among the hipsters writing my blog and drinking an over sized coffee.

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I keep feeling like I need to hurry home, but then I realize no one is waiting for me. I don’t know what to do with all of this freedom. It makes me think of the afternoons I spent between classes pretending I wasn’t a suburban housewife.

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Who knows I might just have to channel a little Coco Robicheaux while I have the chance…

4 thoughts on “What Not To Say on a Job Interview

  1. congratulations! So happy for you! :)…i used to overcompensate a lot when Im nervous…sadly the older i get, I’m starting to under compensate – so then people get the idea that I just don’t care…but i do, i do, really i do!!! Maybe Ill have to go back to overcompensating now hehe.

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