Interview Season

Interview SeasonYou probably haven’t noticed, but it’s been a while since my last blog. (I know, Rule #76: No excuses—play like a champion! Hear me out, though.) I’m finally wrapping up interview season, so I have some extra time now. Actually, I was traveling for an office visit and watching a TV segment on real life wedding crashers when I made a connection. Interviews are a blast, but absolutely tiring. I need to be cool, but also on my best behavior. I get to see a lot of friends, but they weren’t the reason I am there. I realized that interview season is sort of like wedding season.

Rehearsal Dinner
Most interviews through McCombs have what’s called a pre-interview dinner, basically a rehearsal dinner. As you would expect, these dinners are casual and typically at a fun venue. Early on in interview season, when rusty and nervous, I was grateful that faux pas were overlooked at dinners. However, once in mid season form, I relaxed and no longer relied on mulligans. Instead, I’m now comfortable enough laugh, crack jokes, give compliments, and make friends. Honestly—and this is never the case with actual weddings!—I look forward to the pre-interview dinner more than the main event.

I’ve never walked down the aisle, but I have gone down a hallway to an interview. It’s probably the same feeling. I have a nervous excitement with butterflies in my stomach; all I can think about is the person on the other end of that hallway; I know I’ll be asked a tough question, and I just hope I have an answer for it.

The main difference between an interview and a wedding is that for a wedding, if you blink and it’s over, it’s a good wedding. That is not the case when interviewing. Most interview slots are 30-45 minutes, so they require a conservative but respectable clip. And just like weddings, you can expect many similarities between interviews. Also, there are many flavors of interviews: some are long while others are short, some require lots of interaction while others not, and some are conservative while others are more “progressive.” Finally, as with wedding ceremonies, I go into interviews with one goal—don’t cry. (In both scenarios, it helps to prepare and anticipate what is coming.)

It hasn’t always happened this year, but if I can make it through the ceremony, I am generally asked to join the host at the reception, or office visit. This is the last hoorah. Office visits have given me a chance to meet folks from the other side of the aisle, all the way from analysts and staff (friends) to controllers and partners (grandparents). Again, at the beginning of the season, I was tense, but after getting one or two office visits under my belt, I was grooving. Ultimately, the office visit serves as the final chance for both the employer and myself to put our best foot forward. The employers make lasting memories for me, and I am hopefully a fun and respectful guest who they would welcome back.

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