One of the most stressful things in life is job interviews. It doesn’t matter how good we are at what we do, or what we can bring to the new company. When the job we want is at stake, it feels like we’re walking through a mine field.
My friend recently had an interview that started teetering on the brink. She was recruited for a great position and ecstatic about the possibility of becoming a manager after years of outside sales. The recruiter thought she was perfect for the job. What could go wrong?
The day of the interview, the company put her in front of a disinterested manager.
“What are your 5 greatest accomplishments in life?” he asked.
She wasn’t at all prepared for the question. Here was a woman in her forties who worked hard for her financial independence, but didn’t see anything in her work history that she would consider a great accomplishment. She endured several jobs which taught her what not to pursue. But to say ‘most of my jobs were forgettable’ didn’t seem like a good response. She tried to focus on the Big picture.
“Raising my kids-that’s 2. (silence) Finally getting my college degree. (silence) And starting my life over in another state.”
Totally unmoved by any of those answers, he replied, “That’s only 4.”
Her first thought was ‘Really? I’ve endured the wrong jobs and marginal pay for decades, but I kept going. There has to be something better than that for me in this world. This can’t be as good as it gets.’
He asked again for number 5. Then out of nowhere came the answer.
“That I am in my forties, and still have as much hope for the future as I did when I was 18.”
She got the job.