Managing post-job-interview anxiety?
posted by dekathelon to Work & Money (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I had a job interview the other day, I think. Not to go into too much detail because part of said anxiety involves "oh my god what if they read this and know it's me and decide not to hire me", but: I started freelancing for a new client. I like them. They seem to have their head as well as their finances in the right place. But I was pretty sure freelance was the extent of their interest in me - they had launched with an already full-ish staff, then a few months later a friend forwarded me an email about a job opening I hadn't heard of until then, which seemed like a bad sign. (I didn't apply, under the reasoning that if I was a credible candidate I would have heard of the opening before they went public with it, plus I was worried my latest project wasn't my best and they didn't like it.)
Anyway, I have lunch with one of the guys there a while back, and a few questions seem potentially "leading" - stuff like "would you consider taking a full-time job?" - but at the time I dismiss it as shop talk. Then about a week ago that guy's boss invites me to meet up informally and "discuss things." Apparently they have funding, are expanding, and are creating several new positions: one position more senior than me, a few positions evidently more junior than me - one of which was the job posting I'd seen - and the one they said they had me in mind for, which is about two "titles" above my experience level. (Actually, given how he described the job it seems like in terms of responsibilities and seniority it's really only one title up, but it is still a title up.) They say they really like my work and want to bring me on, have me ask a lot of questions about the job, then tell me to think it over but that they likely won't be making any hiring decisions for a month. Which is probably not really that long for a new company, but it seems a hell of a lot longer as an applicant. Or am I even an applicant?
Anyway, now I have a month to sit and worry about this, and given that the nausea-tears-despair set in almost immediately, it isn't looking fun. I get where this is coming from - the job legitimately sounds promising and not as glass-cliffy as some others in my field, so no wonder I'm worried because the stakes are higher; since I got laid off from my last job and since all of 2013 in general I keep worrying that I've irrevocably fucked up my career, blew my last shot; plus I'm still shaken from the fact that earlier this year I had an epicly awful interview at another place for a similar job. (Culturally I doubt it was the right fit - I know who they hired, and honestly they're much better for the job in almost every way - but I also fucked the interview up royal, we're talking a "babbled thoughtless ad-libby answer that betrays a stunning level of incompetence and unfamiliarity with basic aspects of the workplace" fuckup.) And I intellectually know you can't analyze anything about job interviews, but this doesn't actually help in real life. Like, they said I was the only person they'd approached about this position, but that could mean "total" or "so far." The fact that they reached out to me and were complimentary toward me seems like a good sign, but in my experience this guarantees nothing. On the one hand, I got my old job this way. On the other hand, a few months into that job I had the bizarre and temporarily ego-inflating experience of having two people email me within a week presumably attempting to poach me. I didn't get either of those jobs. (In retrospect that was a good thing because both of them had layoffs that likely would have included me, but it also means I didn't get those jobs.) And of course they could decide to completely scrap the idea of hiring anybody tomorrow.
Then there's the weird balance of wanting the job but not seeming desperate for the job - like, they asked if I liked freelancing, and I gave a safe, noncommittal answer but if I were being honest I'd have said "no, it sucks and I am constantly either broke or plummeting toward broke and panicking about my savings and the distant future and retirement - LOL, RETIREMENT - and speaking of the immediate future my teeth are fucked up and I need a root canal." And I made an offhand comment about being on vacation later this month and the response was something like "don't worry, if you're not around that week it doesn't mean you're disqualified."
Anyway, I have a few questions on specifics and one in general:
* When do I send a follow-up email? I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to, and I do have a legitimate question I forgot to ask, a really important one too, so it wouldn't just be an empty gesture - but considering they've all but told me to hold off for a month it seems like if I do it too early it would look desperate. But if I do it too late it might look disorganized.
* I'm supposed to email the first guy about more freelance work, probably should've done it earlier this week if we're being honest. I still do this, right? Do I acknowledge that the interview-or-was-it happened? It seems weird to just ignore it, but I can't think of a way to bring it up that wouldn't sound shoehorned in or, again, desperate.
* General tips for managing the anxiety would be helpful, because I'd prefer to, like, sleep at some point between now and August.