Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Caitlin Olszewski
After dotting a couple i’s (three to be exact), smiling, and shaking hands, I had accepted a job offer—my first real job offer. I was twenty-two years old. (I’m twenty-three now but it’s amazing what a measly year can do for experience, wisdom, and unfortunately, student loan repayment.)
On my first day, I received a warm, Outside-In® welcome from each team member as I bounced from cubicle to cubicle. Trying to be Dale Carnegie-esque, I was focusing on remembering names and faces, but to be honest, I was a deer and those headlights were blinding. Not to mention that someone from payroll was asking for tax and insurance information—two completely foreign concepts for anyone under 26. I was overwhelmed to say the least!
Then someone told me that the president wanted to see me in his office. I’ll admit I felt a slight pang of new-kid-on-the-block anxiety. (In retrospect, I shouldn’t have. The Dude has longer hair than I do!) He was honest and genuine during our conversation as I politely nodded while my brain tried to sponge up all the information I could. Towards the end of our conversation, he asked me if I had any questions. I wanted to get started as soon as possible, so I shook my head and quickly said, “Nope. Not at the moment.” In case you were wondering, yes, I did sound that dumb in person, too.
He was clearly puzzled by my inability to be vocal or to learn more about the company. He responded, “You know, not having questions isn’t a good sign. It means you might not be a cultural fit.” He said it jokingly, but there was definitely intent behind it. Not a culture fit? My mind channeled the infamous SNL skit and I thought, “You don’t know me.” I scrambled up one of the questions I had hiding in the back of my mind. It was a good question, but I was still embarrassed by my incompetence to participate in a casual dialogue. It appeared as though I wasn’t eager to work for the company or that I wasn’t excited to be a member of the team—crazy misconceptions had I conveyed myself appropriately.
So when exactly does an interview end? If you think you’re in the clear once you sign that offer letter, you are sorely mistaken. There’s a reason many companies are implementing the 90-day “try it before you buy it” process. A year later I am still put on the spot if I am too quiet during a discussion. And I should be! The answer here is, the interview never stops — it’s an ongoing process. I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that focuses on giving me the tools and experience I need while striving to see me grow and motivate myself to do better each and every day. It definitely keeps me on my toes without feeling like I’m walking on eggshells!
Whether you have worked with your company for six months or twenty years, would you receive a job offer after today’s interview?
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