I recently finished the book Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, which reminded me of an idea that I had for a blog entry. I don’t want to get into too much of a summary of the book, and really my point is only made in one paragraph (page 249, if you decide to check the book out). The main character, Lee, is fourteen when we first meet her and is venturing off to a private boarding school. In order to become prefect, or class president, you had to be nominated by another classmate, preferably not one of your friends because that would have been “tacky and transparent,” and once nominated you didn’t want to campaign because that would be similar to “ass-kissing” (glad we’re past the rules of high school). Anyway, she’s writing the book from her adult perspective and compares the prefect nominations to when she was interviewing for jobs:
This desperate aversion to seeming like you wanted anything, or worse, to going after it, stayed with me for years after I left Ault. When I graduated from college, my father told me he was concerned that I didn’t express enough enthusiasm in job interviews, and the comment shocked me. Enthusiasm was a thing you were supposed to show? But wasn’t it a little disgusting, didn’t it seem the same as greed and neediness? Of course you wanted the job, I thought, and the interviewer should know that because why else would you have shown up in his office?
My mom has expressed a similar concern to me. Although, I admit that I sometimes maybe don’t show much enthusiasm once I’m in an interview and I’m being told the actual job duties. Sometimes it’s all I can do to hold myself back from saying, Really?? Since when does an Events Coordinator flip hamburgers? Is that really what I was learning about while I was in college, I must have missed something. By the way, you definitely have a hole in your shirt.
In my opinion, I feel like the expected enthusiasm levels are sometimes over the top. Am I really supposed call you everyday after an interview? Is that really going to make you more likely to hire me? I think that once I leave the interview, you (the interviewer) have already made up your mind about me. You already know whether or not you’re going to hire me, or at least have a pretty good idea. So is me calling you going to change my fate, or just make you want to slap me and regret ever calling me in for an interview to begin with?
My mom reminds me that it is an “employer’s market.” Employers have the luxury of calling, or not calling you back, no need to inform you that, lucky you, you didn’t get the job. Of course, I don’t really think that’s fair. As job seekers, we’re putting ourselves out there everyday, trying to make an impression, and until we hit the jackpot and land a job, we’re going to be frustrated. The way I see it, I show my interest by contacting you, taking hours to write my cover letter, and finally, by showing up to the interview, ready to answer all of your questions that sometimes seem pointless, (Where do I see myself in five years? Well, hopefully with a job, or maybe homeless if I don’t get a job soon). What else can we do? I’m not sure employers would appreciate us jumping up and down on their couches, would that show them that I really want this job?