The Best Job Interview I Ever Had (and How I Didn’t Get Hired)


“When it comes to interviewing for a job, what would make a job interview GREAT?”

Is it interviewing for a position you really want?

Feeling you “shined” during the interview, and the person interviewing you was impressed?

Officially offered a job at the end of the interview?
Scott_Engler_1smallI have loved the scenarios mentioned, but in my particular story, none of these are what made it the BEST.
In this interview, I felt it had gone amazing, yet wasn’t offered the position. Now, you may possibly be thinking, “Why the heck would THIS be your idea of the best interview you’ve ever had?!” 

I also wondered the same thing.

First, I want to clarify that the job interview and getting offered a position are two different things. The former is the process, the latter the result.  Similarly, one is like going on a first date with someone, the other is deciding to date ‘that someone’ over a longer period of time.

As it relates to employment, my “best” interview was for a position at a facility in San Diego as a mental health therapist. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for full time work in my field, I was accustomed to researching companies before the interview. Recently, I began researching the person conducting the interview. While gaining employers insight on interviewing skills, I learned that employers tend to hire 1) people who remind them of themselves, and 2) people they LIKE.  Before interviewing, I researched this individual and learned she had an interest for Kundalini Yoga.  Having a similar interest, I casually mentioned it at the beginning of my interview.

The first thirty minutes of the interview became a conversation about yoga and its benefits and also dialogue about traveling.  She became very engaged and opened up to me about some of her other passions. Interestingly enough, I was the person who eventually began to transition the conversation back into discussing the job description. 

The rest of the interview was much more fluid and enjoyable since I developed good rapport early on. This can certainly help when it comes time to decide whom to hire.

I continued with the interview, sharing specific qualifications I believed could best contribute to the company’s needs while discussing the job details. I left that day feeling very positive about how things unfolded and was confident I’d be hired.
As the title suggests, I wasn’t offered the position. Was I surprised? Yes. Disappointed? Definitely.  HOWEVER, Instead of letting it bring me down, I reminded myself how subjective an interview can be, and that I should carry the positive experience I had into future interviews.
To answer the question from earlier, I felt this was my best interview because of the quality of connection made with the other person.
Oddly enough, the person who I interviewed with has still stayed in contact with me since then on her own initiative. She emailed me once to congratulating me on getting hired for a new position and again after finding out I was in the process of writing a book. To me this was clear indication that I had developed a good connection and made a favorable impression, even if I wasn’t accepted for that particular position.
I believe many job seekers can relate to feelings of rejection and disappointment after getting turned down from a job.  This is a perfectly normal feeling. The major difference is how one recovers and learns from it, a choice all of us have at our disposal. Personally, instead of stewing in my own feelings of dissatisfaction this time, I chose to grow and move forward; believing I was on the right track.
In under a year, I was offered and accepted an EVEN BETTER position than the one I was rejected from!  NICE!
Similar to dating, if you haven’t met the right person yet, or gotten the right job, it’s very possible a better opportunity is waiting around the corner. Find what works for you, and continue to improve your skills as you search for the one you desire.



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