Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Keep a tight lid on post-interview doubts

Going into any job interview, you know you’re going to get some tough questions. Knowing how to answer them in ways that are both honest and powerful can help you impress the interviewer and land the job.
Going into any job interview, you know you’re going to get some tough questions. Knowing how to answer them in ways that are both honest and powerful can help you impress the interviewer and land the job. iStockphoto

QUESTION: I desperately want to work for a particular company in my hometown. When I applied for a position recently, I had an interview with a screening committee, which seemed to go well. Everyone was friendly, and they had a lot of questions. A few days later, however, the hiring manager asked me to apply for a different job, which he thought would be a better fit.

Yesterday, I had the screening interview for that position, and now I'm feeling pessimistic. This meeting was shorter, and the group seemed less welcoming. I think my answers were fine, but noise from the air conditioning might have made them hard to hear.

I would like to tell the hiring manager that even though I may not have done as well in this interview, I am extremely interested in the job. Do you think I should call him?

ANSWER: Your strong desire for this position could easily cause you to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like most applicants, you feel out of control, so you scrutinize the hiring process for clues and look for ways to influence the outcome. Unfortunately, however, efforts to make things better can sometimes make them worse.

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  • In reality, you don't have enough evidence to conclude that this interview went badly. Information gained in the first one would logically make the second shorter. The less chummy atmosphere may reflect a different group personality. And if noise had been a problem, you would have undoubtedly been asked to repeat your answers.

    Since the hiring manager has already endorsed you for this position, the last thing you want to do is change his previously positive perceptions. If you contact him now, he may begin to sense your desperation. And if you disparage your own interview performance, he will undoubtedly conclude that you lack self-confidence.

    So instead of making an ill-advised call, follow standard protocol and send an upbeat thank-you note to everyone involved. Reiterate your interest in the job, and do not say anything even remotely negative. After that, distract yourself with other activities until you receive the verdict.

    Q: One of my third-shift co-workers got upset when I was temporarily moved to first shift. "Brittany" felt this assignment should have been hers, so she began complaining to our manager. She constantly sends him negative text messages about me. When I confronted her, Brittany got defensive and said she was just keeping him informed. How can I stop this?

    A: Most managers hate being nagged, so Brittany's incessant texting might actually be a self-destructive move. To insure that her attempted sabotage has not had the intended effect, however, you should have a talk with your boss.

    For example: "I know Brittany has been sending you a lot of complaints about my work. I'm not worried about her opinion, but I do care about yours. Do you have any concerns about the way I'm handling my new assignment?"

    If your manager suggests some changes, that's good information to have. But if all seems well, you can stop fretting about your malicious co-worker. Your boss will eventually tire of her annoying messages and put an end to them.

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    ABOUT THE WRITER

    Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics." Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter @officecoach.

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