Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Interview black out

A job opportunity opened up at a local nonprofit whose mission is to empower young girls to be bold, independent and dream. I jumped at the opportunity and was beyond thrilled when I got a call for an interview. I breezed through the phone interview and advanced to the second round, in person interview with the Chief Development Officer. I methodically planned out my outfit, gathered my thoughts on my accomplishments, and formatted a list of questions to ask her to show my genuine interest. She wore a lose long colorful skirt with a conservative cardigan. Her short white hair brought out her blue eyes. Immediately I was impressed with her confidence and passion for the mission of the organization. This woman was on her game and I was ready to play....so I thought. She started out doing the talking explaining the challenges of the position, where she saw the organization going, and goals for the vacant position. Then it was time for her to start with the questions geared towards me. She opened with the most standard, basic interview question out there.
"Tell me about yourself."
I froze. Not only was I not prepared for such a general question, my mind started going off into a million different aspects of my life, none mind you deemed appropriate for an interview.
"I was adopted as a young girl," I answered timidly. 
My palms filled with sweat and my mind blacked out. After that it was all down hill. What had just come out of my mouth? Panic set in.
"Uhhh, I'm sorry. I don't know why I said that.  I mean , I do know why I said it because it is true, but I don't know why I said it during an interview. I like yoga, laughing and spending time with friends and family."
I didn't know how to stop it.  It was like I lost control.  I don't remember much from this point on.  It was as though my mind blacked out allowing me to erase this painful experience from memory.  I followed most answers with an apology. I represented the opposite of what the organization thrives to promote. I was timid, anxious and appeared to lack self-confidence. 

I left hoping she found me endearing.

Alas no third interview was requested.

Lesson learned.  Prepare  professional answer for the tell me about yourself question.  

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