Job Interviewing 101 as a Newly-Returned Expat


[I know I have already shared some of my thoughts on the weird quirks involved in interviewing for American jobs, but a really big portion of my life is dedicated to that right now so you’ll just have to bear with me!]

Interviewing is hard, but I would hazard that my version of interviewing is a little more dramatic than most. However, for the sake of sparing my dignity, I will only relate one fantastical tale from the archives of my adventures.

I do not live a fairy tale life. Like everyone I need a job. Unfortunately, I do not currently have what is deemed as a “proper” job so I am on the hunt for one. As everyone knows, searching for that perfect job where slaving away 9 hours a day suddenly becomes 9 hours of engaging activities is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It is really, really hard. So it is unsurprising that on my quest to find the Holy Grail of employment I have sent out many, many applications and spoken to many, many recruiters. Sometimes I don’t like them, sometimes they don’t like me.

But this time was different.

The Encounter

Last week, I landed an interview with a company that is so cool that I drool at the thought of working there. So to remind myself to actually attend this interview, I set myself three alarms for good measure. I was totally prepared.

Expect that I got the day wrong.

Yesterday, as I was shopping in the middle of our local Mexican market, the phone rang with an unidentified number. As I would normally do, I picked up and casually said, “Hello?” I was greeted by, “Hi, I’m [super awesome person] from [company that I would sell my kidney to work for], is this a good time for you?”

No, it absolutely was NOT. But like anyone who needs a job, any time is a good time.

The Trial

I had no plan except to babble nice nothings at the recruiter while I fled from the mariachi music. Even though I tried to be quick about it, I know she heard it. Clearly, I was prepared.

When I finally made it outside I was already barely keeping track of the conversation. Then my overheated mind met the superheated outdoors. 95 degrees and sunny is not my ideal climate to live in; it is absolutely not ideal to interview in. Yet, I was trapped. I realized that to complete this interview and sound even reasonably professional, I was going to have to stand in the parking in the beating sun. Awesome.

For 45 minutes I strove to sound clever and answer logic problems, while my intelligence dripped away leaving my lips dry with nerves and thirst. I know sweating is supposed to be cleansing for your body, but at some point I began wondering about the adverse health effects of so much water loss. I mean, I already can’t tolerate hot yoga and this interview was quickly becoming a master’s level advanced logic-hot yoga course.

The Verdict

Finally it was over. I did it. It didn’t even matter whether or not I got another interview. I had survived a physical trial suitable for a Marine.

As I was busy mentally congratulating myself I heard [super awesome person] ask the magical question, “Would you like to come in for another interview?” I nearly fainted on the spot. I was so relieved.

They tell you interviewing is stressful, but they don’t tell you that it is going to be a health hazard. In what other country is interviewing for a job such a physically trying experience? I can understand mentally exhausting, but seriously, I should not have to worry about my body’s condition while I’m looking for a job!

Well, we all do what we must. Clearly I am not prepared to venture into the American working world, but maybe, just maybe, I will be lucky enough that someone believes I’m ready. Wish me luck.



One Comment Add yours

  1. Best cousin EVER, on this planet or any other says:

    Hey! I didn’t realize you had this blog…You see, after just under 3 years in China where Facebook is NOT a thing, I now feel completely out of touch with anything that happened in my absence. Sometimes I have to stop myself mid-conversation because my mind skips over those years if I’m thinking about something from before; as if this part of the world stopped while i was out of touch.

    I can definitely relate to everything you’ve been writing. Its like you stole my thoughts and put them to words (maybe a little different than my actual thoughts, yikes!). In fact, I should get going because, just like this article, I have interview #4 for a position at Google. The same sort of dream job that makes my mouth water because I’m a huge nerd and this is the electronics engineering environment nerds dream of!!

    So wish me luck, cuz! And lets keep in touch! (I know I’m the one that’s been terrible at that–but I’ll attempt to try to work on it!)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s