As the end of the semester approaches, many juniors, and especially seniors, begin to feel an overwhelming sense of panic towards getting a job after college. One of the main things I hear students talking about during this time, is their epic fear towards the interview process.

People from all over the country lend students advice on the interview process via blogs, articles, online videos, and even school talks. Yet, what I believe continues to stop college students from getting a job they love after graduating, is the idea that their passions, goals, and feelings are rarely included among the array of interview advice out there for consumption.

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To explain further, think about this: A recent college graduate is about to interview at NBC studios. She will soon sit down with some of the company’s top executives.

Walking in, the student smiles at a few of the company’s current hires on the elevator. Oddly, they don’t smile back. They appear unhappy, and altogether stressed out. With this, the student begins to feel a little uncomfortable. She worries, ‘will I become that stressed out and unhappy too, if I get a job here?’ Yet, she quickly reassures herself that this is a top company, and remembers the fact that ‘she must appreciate even the opportunity to interview.’

The student arrives at the interview five minutes early, and sits down at a long conference table in a completely bare room. After waiting twenty-five minutes, she wonders if they’ve forgotten about her interview. Should she go into the lobby and say something to the receptionist? She contemplates for about ten minutes when suddenly, three men in black suits enter the room. As the interview starts, a few thoughts about how the men said nothing about showing up nearly thirty-five minutes late, cross her mind. ‘That’s a little weird,’ she thinks.  

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After having answered a number of exceedingly difficult questions, the man sitting in the middle asks her if she has any questions for them. She thinks for a minute, noticing the only questions coming to mind are ‘if most of their employees appear stressed out often?’ ‘Are the people who work within their company friendly?’ ‘Do the top executives share good relationships with employees?’ And with this, she shakes her head no, she does not have any questions.

When the student arrives back home, her parents ask how the interview went? They’re excited to hear all the details. Knowing how proud her parents were that their daughter was asked to interview for NBC Studios, she lies, telling them everything went great.

The student, then, falls into a cycle of panic wondering what’s wrong with her? Why didn’t she like the company? I mean, shouldn’t she? Who doesn’t? Is she just not good at interviews? Or worse, just not meant for the corporate world?

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When we look at this extremely common scenario, it’s easy to see there’s nothing wrong with the student. Rather, her instincts were telling her that, despite the fact that NBC is a prestigious company to work for, it wouldn’t be so prestigious for her.  

What I’m trying to say is that something students are rarely taught about the interview process is that, while the company is interviewing them for a potential position, they should be interviewing the company at the same time.

Don’t ignore your instincts, they’re typically trying to tell you something important.

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