My latest victory at being selected for a job without really trying recently occurred when I interviewed for a temporary one-year position in the government. During the interview, I was asked to rate my abilities on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best. Trying not to sound like an arrogant jerk, I of course rated myself a 10 with my worst fault for doing a job being that I worked too hard.
The 5-person panel questioning me reacted first with a quizzical stare, and then they all laughed with one panelist saying she wished she had thought of that answer when she had been interviewed for a job she didn't get. Which led to a relaxed discussion, not exactly relevant to the position I was applying for, how it's best when doing interviews not to worry if you come across all hot and bothered on how you present yourself.
I decided the job wasn't for me with the good reason it might adversely affect my pension, something I didn't know before I went for the interview. But the real reason I turned it down was because I just didn't want it, even as I received an email saying I had been selected.
I find what works best about making a good first impression is to not obsess or worry whether or not I make a good impression.
At another job interview I was asked my favorite color and I answered with an exclamation mark with the obvious answer, GREEN! since that was my last name. This was work I was actually interested in, but even more important than getting the job was getting a laugh for my answers, which seemed to loosen up all the people interviewing me, who seemed at first surprised and then acted much less tense because I must have come across as a self-confident devil-may-care James Bondish type in giving light-heartened answers, especially after I realized they were taking me seriously for the job, which meant I couldn't possibly take it, since I found it involved extensive travel, which would disturb my quiet, non-disturbed routine of being retired. So sure enough, several days later I got a call saying I was the selectee.
Maybe I'm having success with employers under the same “expect less” philosophy expressed by golfer Brooks Koepka, who said after winning his first U.S. Open title this year that “it's taken me a long time to not try to win (and that) I've been trying to win too badly.”
I'm now trying to apply my low-stress attitude to every walk of life–especially when driving out on the open road, which really is a misnomer since the roads are frustratingly gridlocked. I know I'm subject to feeling road rage but now that I'm retired with more time to get where I'm going there's no sense getting all worked up if I'm cut off or tailgated–it's better for my blood pressure and gas quotient in my stomach to not get crazed about crazy drivers. Of course not having to get to a job on time is another good reason I shouldn't care if after an interview I'm not picked for the job.
If I learned nothing else from when I was younger and got all stressed out about an upcoming job interview, I find what works best about making a good first impression is to not obsess or worry whether or not I make a good impression.
If I get a job interview, my attitude is that it doesn't matter what happens, which more often than not results in my getting selected for the position even as I consider myself semi-retired after many years of working in the rat race. But I remain semi-included in the job market because I could definitely use extra money to go along with my pension.
I realize a lot of people not in my position have to worry about getting and keeping a job and might say it's easy for me to be so nonchalant about it. But my attitude about jobs extends to recognition about all the mistakes I made in my younger not-so successful dating life, when I probably went overboard on anxiety on whether a date went well, instead of just accepting que sera sera. It's not until after I was older, maybe with a little experience and better knowledge about the real me, that my future wife said that at first glance, to paraphrase from a Shania Twain song, that I didn't impress her much, which she must have found refreshing after all the guys who tried to impress her more, which impressed me a lot about her.
One of my retired friends asked me what I must have subconsciously been asking myself: why was I applying for jobs I didn't care if I got picked for or really wanted in the first place? Sure I could use the extra money, but at what expense? Was I going to interviews because I needed or wanted to break up the day with someplace to go or something to do? Maybe, but I'm also satisfied with doing nothing and more than relieved when I don't have to shave, get all dressed up, and try to impress strangers with how great I am, especially when I'm being interviewed by those born possibly 20 years after I had started working on my first job.
I don't mean to sound like some all-knowing maharishi sitting atop a mountain chanting some mantra with the idea people should just relax and quit make everything such a big deal. Looking at the big picture we're all in the same boat, with the earth orbiting at 67,000 miles an hour around the sun, which is spinning around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, with the universe ever expanding.
But before my mind explodes with that thought I'll offer my personal guarantee: if you follow my tried and true relaxed zero-step approach, you're sure to eventually get a job. And if you don't?–that'll mean you must still be trying too hard.