“Your slot is confirmed for 22nd August, 4 PM”
I got the above message after being shortlisted for a PM interview at my dream company.
Now you would think that would make me happy because in this super-competitive world, somebody even looking at your application, let alone shortlisting it, is a rare thing.
And yes, I was happy at being shortlisted, but even more than that, I was nervous. Anxious about failing the interview and not getting it right as I should.
To be more clear, I was plagued by pre-interview jitters.
And I’ve been struggling with it for so long that I was fed up this time.
Due to these “jitters”, the stuff that I was confident about, also faded away, leaving behind a confused, anxious, and under-confident person.
A couple of realizations I had:
- I was afraid of failing the interviewer, so this time, I imagined the worst-case scenario, familiarized myself with it, and accepted it as a possible outcome.
- I was afraid of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and being judged. So let's say this happened, what would be the worst outcome? I fail the interview.
Going through the countless ways I could mess up the interview in my head, was not a small task, I even noted each of them down, but the biggest realization I had was the worst thing that can happen is you would be in the same situation you were before the interview got finalized, and you were doing just fine.
So, in a way, you’ve already suffered the worst, and you can do it again. There’s nowhere to go but up from here :)
This approach worked a few times, but after a few days, I was back to where I started.
It was like being hit by an invisible punch each time I got a rejection. I desperately needed to change my mindset and make the situation better. It was affecting my mental health drastically.
So, I sat down, took a deep breath and analyzed my situation.
There are 3 ways you can give your best in an interview.
- Do Your Research: Extremely Important. Understand the business process of the company and give a day or two to scour the website and blogs of the firm.
- Be Prepared: There are two answers in an interview; either you know the answer or you don't. When the latter happens, you have two choices, talk about something related to it if you have even a little bit of knowledge about it. The second is being honest and saying you haven't heard about it. Trust me, people appreciate honesty and integrity a lot more.
- Network aka Converse: Is it necessary you lose something every time you are rejected? Not at all. It is a conversation (two ways), the interviewer is evaluating you, yes, but more than that they’re figuring out if you are the kind of person they would like to work with. And you are doing the same. Interviewers are network just waiting to be found. So treat it like a conversation and pretty soon, irrespective of the outcome, you’ll have made a connection.
Maybe this won't work out the first time, but the more times you do this, the more your mind would adapt. Being my actual self and being honest about what I do know and what I don't. This approach escalated the respect I had for myself and also helped me become more confident.
Note: This is not a consistent thing. It keeps dwindling. Just keep practicing the mindset and pretty soon it will hopefully become second nature.
Adios, see you next time :)