I’m better than my interview!

publication date: Oct 16, 2013
author/source: Laura Champion

As my internship winds down I have begun the job hunt. This, re-entering the job market, is a more terrifying prospect than leaving it was. The very thought of putting together a resume that could be worthy of any posting is enough to stop me in my tracks. But I pushed through and managed to book my very first interview as a professional fundraiser. 

As a Humber student I was prepared for every type of interview: the one-on-one, the group, the triangle – but none of the theoretical training could really prepare me for the reality. Coming into the interview felt like walking into a firing squad, not because the person doing the interviewing was mean (she wasn’t – she was lovely and calming), not because the job was well out of my skill base (it wasn’t  - I was qualified enough for the interview), but because it meant that the “real world” was here.

While I was insulated in the warm arms of Humber College, everything lulled me into a false sense of future job security. This interview, where I was totally on my own and accountable for the year that had just passed, knocked the wind out of my sails. It would seem obvious then, what happened next. I bombed. The interviewer tossed me softball questions and I managed to swing and miss over and over.

More book learning than results

As a painfully self-aware Generation Y, I try so hard to fight the stereotype that we are over-confident and  over-privileged, but there I was in the interview room, as if floating out of my body, watching myself talk about how social-media-savvy I was and that I was on the executive council of my student-run event. I know, as someone closer to 30 then I am to 20, that what matters is results, and have very few of those to speak about so far.

Each question, whether situational or experience-based becomes a minefield to reveal my lack of experience but wealth of academic understanding. Do I speak to the best practices or do I try and relate on a real-world level? Am I giving them enough without saying “well, at Humber we…” too many times? The voices of all those who gave me advice are ringing in my ears and adding a nice red hue to my face.

A plea to interviewers and interviewees

So my advice, if I can be so bold, to those interviewing Gen Y candidates is – cut us a little slack – we’re nervous but ambitious, and most of us will work as hard as we possibly can if given the opportunity.

And to those Gen Ys out in the scary world of job hunting for the first time – fail once but learn from it. Too many of us are afraid to fall on our faces, but the biggest lessons come from not winning the championship. Don’t be afraid of these mistakes. Instead, let’s share our learnings so that we can maybe wise up enough to get the job from the second (or maybe third or fourth or fifth) interview we go to.

Laura Champion (@charitablelaura) is a recent graduate of Humber College’s Fundraising and Volunteer Management program. Having completed her internship at Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, she has just joined West Park Healthcare Centre as Development Specialist on the I CAN campaign. Her goals in life include obtaining her CFRE, becoming a published author and being successful enough on Jeopardy to be brought back for the Tournament of Champions.

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