When I speak to groups of job seekers, I often remind them that the interview actually starts way before the scheduled time. If you are driving to a location for the interview, your interview starts the moment you get in the car and begin driving. If you are interviewing via telephone, the interview starts a few minutes before you dial in. Why do I say this? Because what you are thinking and doing immediately before the interview will have tangible impact on your interview performance and outcome.
Let’s say that you are driving to an interview that you have worked a long time to get. You are very interested in this position and think it might be a good match. And you are hoping that your job search will come to a successful completion. Looking for a new job is not as much fun as it used to be. (Or was it ever fun?)
You are running late for the interview, so you are driving faster than normal. You are not totally clear on how to get to the office, and the MapQuest lady is telling you to turn this way and that way. You are growing concerned that you may be late.
And then you do it. You cut in front of another driver. They honk. You flip them off. It’s the normal road rage communication style. Everyone does it.
Then you pull into the prospective employer’s parking lot. The car you cut off is right behind you. They work there. Oh dear. What are the chances that they might be interviewing you today?
As you get out of your car and make your way to the front door, you hope and pray that this roadway “misunderstanding” doesn’t surface again. But when you walk into the office of the hiring manager, you recognize her face. She’s the lady that you cut off. Oops. Didn’t see that one coming.
What are the chances?
The story above is fiction, but it probably has happened to someone reading this blog post. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I recently experienced something similar on Thanksgiving Day. We were invited by some good friends to join them for the Thanksgiving meal with another couple. There were to be six of us in total. We were delayed a bit and left a little later than planned. I counted on MapQuest to get us there, but it didn’t recognize their street address. Was I remembering it incorrectly? We were going from memory based on a previous trip a year ago.
As we came off the freeway, we ended up in the lane that was left turn only….but we needed to go straight. There was a long line of cars in the right lane – those who knew the particulars of this road system. My husband, who was driving my car, suddenly sped up to take advantage of a space between two cars in the right lane, and then turned the car into “his space”. He made it safely, but not without a disgruntled honk-honk from the car now behind us. I cautioned him not to respond with any nonverbal signals but just to keep going.
As we prepared to turn left onto the street of our hosts, I noticed that the car behind us also turned left. When we pulled into our friend’s driveway, the car behind us did the same. That’s when we realized that the people we had just cut off were the other couple with whom we’d be sharing Thanksgiving dinner.
What could we do but laugh about it? I got out of the car and walked over to greet them. “We’re the nice people who just cut you off. Nice to meet you.” They responded, “Yes, we saw that. Nice to meet you, too.” More laughter was followed by hugs and general forgiveness.
The evening was wonderful, filled with the things that one is grateful for: good food, good friends, and forgiveness.
p.s. not sure how the evening might have played out if my husband had flipped them the bird.
Moral of the story: You never know who is on the same road as you. It’s best to always be courteous, patient, and forgiving. And keep your bird to yourself.