Note: This is one of a series of posts about my job search that was previously posted on my personal site (https://www.sarahlkatz.com/blog/) and is now being cross-posted here. Any reference to timelines may no longer be accurate.
< Company Name > Interview Availability
That's the subject of an email I received this week. Over the last few months, I've received a number of emails with similar titles. But each one is just as exciting as the one before.
An invitation to move on to the next step in the interview process. A sign that I might be getting closer to finding my perfect fit. A step towards day one in my dream job.
Every time I get an email like this, I feel a spark of joy. A company likes me and my experience enough to want to know more about me. A company that I liked enough to apply to likes me enough to bring me further in the process.
With every step in the process, I'm getting closer to matching with my perfect next job.
Let's back up a step: Yes, I know that just because I got invited to the next step in the process, that doesn't mean the job is a fit. I've had interviews every step along the way that ended with a "thank you, but we've decided not to move forward with your candidacy" email (unfortunately, I sometimes have to chase the company down to get that email). I've had interviews where I walked out not sure that I felt the company was a good fit. Not every step in the right direction is a step towards my next job. But it's still a step in the right direction. It's still a sign that good things are coming.
While being invited to interview is a great opportunity, it doesn't stop there. Each interview is a chance to learn something new about myself (and about the company with which I am interviewing). It's a chance for me to remind myself how much I know, and find areas where I might want to brush up on my knowledge. It's a chance for me to practice answering tough questions (even if my answers aren't always what they're looking for). A chance for me to discover more about what technologies companies are using and learn more about what I may be working on in the future. No matter how well or how badly an interview goes, it's always a learning opportunity, and I love learning opportunities.
As much as I see interviews as learning opportunities, it can be very difficult going through the process with companies and then not getting an offer (or not getting the right offer) at the end. After a while ... it's pretty normal to feel discouraged. To wonder if there's something wrong with you or if you're looking for the wrong things or if the right job for you even exists. It's okay to feel that way (or to not feel that way), but if you're going into an interview, leave that feeling at the door. Yes, you may have had some bad interview experiences in the past. But that was a different interview. Today is the day you're interviewing for what might end up being your perfect job - how can you not be excited about that? Don't let past failures get you down - just go into every interview and try to be your best self, and hope that this is the day you impress your next company. Whatever happens in the interview, staying positive is the best way to put your best foot forward.
No matter what, if you go in with a positive attitude and try to learn from every experience, you will benefit from every interview, even if you don't move on to the next step with this company.
And that's why, with every new email, with every interview invitation, I get excited. It may or may not be a step towards my next job. I can't know that. But what I can (and do) know is that every interview invitation is a win. It reminds me that I am a good candidate for jobs and should be proud of myself for all that I've accomplished. If the interview doesn't go well, it's a chance for my to learn something about myself (and maybe about a great company) and go into the next interview even better. And if the interview does go well ... I'm now one step closer to finding my next great job. And that is incredibly exciting.