Three weeks had passed since the deadline for job applicants and I had not heard a dicky bird from the people at Universal Works.
They said they would be in touch in the next few weeks. Had they forgotten about me? Should I contact them? Would that show initiative or would I come across as annoying?
Overthinking the situation was doing me no favours, I needed an answer and thankfully one was just around the corner.
My detailed cover letter had saved the day; I’d been invited for an interview… in three days time.
The interview was all I could think about for the next 72 hours. I scripted answers to possible questions and memorised key words and phrases from the job description, ready to regurgitate them at a time of need.
Practicing in front of a mirror built my confidence, but I had no doubt nerves would kick in on the day.
With the interview being for a menswear company, and recognising the importance of making a good first impression, I made sure to scrub up well. There was also the opportunity of earning a few brownie points by wearing an item or two from the company’s latest collection.
Before heading into the interview room I glanced at my checklist one final time.
“Why did you leave your previous job? Why the sudden change in career? How committed are you to working in retail? What is it that you like about Universal Works? What can you bring to the company?”
For every question the panel asked, I had a prepared answer. They kept throwing them up and I was knocking them out of the park.
Forty-five minutes later I walked out of the building knowing I had done all I could. There was a spring in my step and I was quietly optimistic about being offered the job.
But the decision was now out of my hands, and once again I had to play the waiting game.
Excessively mulling over things is one of my fortes, and so naturally in the days that followed I considered what I could have done differently. Did I ramble off topic at any point? Did I talk about things that were above my station? Have I been too confident?
For ten days I waited for an answer, refreshing my email inbox and checking my phone for calls. Finally an email arrived; I had a sinking feeling as I opened it.
“Unfortunately your application was not successful on this occasion… having completed our interview process we felt another candidate was more suitable for the role.”
Rejection had triggered a primal fight-or-flight response. I mistook the rejection for criticism; I looked at it as a harmful attack of my character. There was no way someone else was more suitable for the role.
By the next day I’d returned to a state of calm and reflected upon the events of the journey so far. I must have been doing something right to get to the interview stage, but I thought I had done enough to deserve the job.
But that’s the harsh reality of job hunting, things won’t be handed to you on a plate. It was time for me to lick my wounds and come back stronger.
My journey goes on (and on and on and on).