Sunday, December 5, 2010

Never say never

For the last two months I have been interviewing for a position at a nonprofit organization. About two weeks ago I was told I did not get the position. Was I upset, sure, after all this was something I really wanted. Lucky for me there was a “but” with that “no,” something that I’m not used to. The “but” was that they had another opening as well.
For most of my interviewing it has been me against at least 6 people for each job. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “we had an overwhelming response,” in the last 10 months. I always smile and shake my head in agreement because I know that there are plenty of people looking for a job. You can see in the interviewer’s eyes this excitement because they know they can have the best, and you better bring it. Now with those pesky “overqualified” people applying for jobs that 5 years ago they wouldn’t have dreamt of applying for because after all, everyone needs to get their foot in the door, the competition isn’t just 6 people like me, its 6 people ranging from like me to amazing.
So it was no surprise that I didn’t get the position, the surprise was when they asked if I would consider interviewing for a non-management position. Here is how I looked at it. Yes I would be sitting 15 feet from the person who got the first job I had interviewed for, but wait if I actually get this job I would be sitting at a desk in the room I wanted to be in!
Two steps back for a moment, they asked me from the interviews I had already had with them, if I wanted to interview for a different position. There is a lesson to be learned here! Yes in the end there was someone more qualified for the original position, but they saw potential enough in me from my personality and my dedication to the field that they thought to ask me to keep going.
When you are interviewing for a position you never know. We assume if we don’t get that job then we are forgotten. But that really isn’t the case at all. Sure I would say that most of the time we are forgotten as soon as we leave, but this was the second time I was told, “we had to go with this other person,” and there was another position brought up. This was the first time though, that the other position happens to currently be open, not in 6 months.
I think it has something to do with the fact that when I interview, I’m not just interviewing for the job. I feel like I am interviewing for the organization. I try to see where I will fit in. I do a lot of research on organization, if people have ever posted bad reviews about working there, and I try to get a feel for the people who are interviewing me. Sure, you do need to know the job and you should be as qualified for the position as possible, but most places are not going to hire you if your personality doesn’t match with the office dynamic. 
So there I was, sitting in yet another interview with the same organization, sitting with the people that I could prospectively be working with, all because my pride didn’t turn the opportunity to interview down. I have read many blogs where people talk about how they weren’t offered enough money, or a “decent title” so they would pass on the offer. WOW, an offer and you pass? Why not take the job, prove yourself and move up within the company? Before I decided to move forward with the process of interviewing for the new position, we talked about the potential for my future. If they had said to me, “this is the job,” I would have had to think hard about it. But, they said, “we don’t see you in this position for more than a year or two.” See that sounds frightening to most, but to me it sounded like growth. Maybe it won’t be there, but they offered me building blocks for a career in the nonprofit sector. So of course I interviewed again, to be continued…

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