Thursday, May 18, 2017

You're not entitled to this job.




Recently, a student that I interviewed (and declined) for an internship shared that I was unprofessional. Her feedback was frustrating in her willingness to play the role of victim and not question what she may have done to contribute to being declined. 

As hard as it is to read feedback that feels unfair, I get it. She doesn’t yet know how to flip the script and replay the scene from another point of view. She doesn’t have perspective. I didn’t either at her age.  

I once applied to a job for a local magazine by submitting a list of every typo I found in their latest edition. Big mistake. The rejection response I got was not too nice. At the time, I figured they were content to keep having mediocre folks on staff. Later, I learned how much goes into creating any publication + how frustrating it can be to toil over something, get it proofread, feel relief over submitting, and then have someone respond in the first minute with, "Hey, you forgot a comma". I didn't have that perspective at 21 though because I didn't have the right experience.

Instead of seeing at the time that I was neither humble nor qualified, I assumed that the magazine and it’s team were unprofessional. See where I’m going with this?


I wasn’t entitled to that job anymore than this student was entitled to the internship. Being prepared and respectful are key to making a good impression. When a candidate is neither of those things it’s hard to not scream, “You’re not entitled to this job”

If I could go back to Courtney a decade ago, I’d tell myself to be prepared, be respectful, and remember that of all the things I inherently deserve in life that job at the magazine is not one of them. That I need to earn.

So now what? Here's three tips for earning that job!
  1. Research! Practice articulating why you want to work at the company + brainstorm relevant questions. Dig through their blog/newsroom for the latest and greatest and look up your interview panel on LinkedIn.
  2. Role-play generic interview questions with a friend. If it’s a phone interview actually call your friend on the phone. It’s amazing how much is lost in translation. You have to be over the top in your energy for that to travel to the other individual’s ear.
  3. Didn’t work out? Ask for feedback. It truly never hurts to ask for the company’s perspective on how it went. 

Good luck! Want more career tips? Email me your questions! (Seriously, I love this stuff.)

p.s. Thanks to the gal for the difficult feedback. It’s been a long time since I was personally knocked for how I recruit so it’s a good reminder that I’m forever growing.

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