WE ALL HAVE THOSE CRINGE MOMENTS
Generally, you're alone with your thoughts when it happens: minding your own business; walking down the street; letting your mind wander. Then out of nowhere, you're reliving that time you tried to play it cool with your high school crush in the hallway, only to end up dramatically tripping over yourself in front of everyone. Somehow that emotion travels through the years to the present you, daydreaming away, but now with a fresh cringe on your face, experiencing it as if it happened seconds ago.
I'M SURE ALEX CUJAVANTE HAS HAD A FEW IN THE LAST 4 YEARS.
Alex was favored to win the 2010 World Inline Speed Skating Championships, held in his home country of Colombia. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this clip below will save me a lot of writing. Have a look friends. The slow motion cringe-fest starts at 34 seconds if you're impatient.
So how can we prevent us from pulling an "Alex Cujavante" the next time we're on the hunt for a new career? Keep in mind our cringing Colombian friend had less than 200 meters left in a 20,000 meter race in which all he needed was to keep his effort consistent in order to secure a win. Here's a few things to remind ourselves before we start fist pumping our way out of the opportunity we truly want.
Do the scary math. After every interview, regardless of how it went, go to LinkedIn and do a search for how many people hold the title you're interviewing for. Then, keep in mind that within a population of 7 billion, there are only 300 million LinkedIn users. So, there might be a few potential competitors not accounted for.
Ask the harder questions. Ask your recruiter or the hiring manager how many people they've interviewed, and how long the position has been open. Ask them how many candidates have made it to where you are in the process. Companies are far more conscious of the cost of a bad hire and will go the extra mile to make sure they avoid it.
Over-deliver. The one "over" that generally benefits a candidate in the process is going above and beyond the traditional interview process. Do the research on who you are meeting with (not just the company, but the people and what companies they came from). A lot the habits I have today originate from a company I haven't worked for in over five years. Presentations go a long way too, but keep it modern. If you're thinking of re-using a generic PowerPoint from an old sales presentation, think again. Prezi is a great tool for modernizing an old format quickly and easily. Think your resume is fine as it is? Think again. Have you seen Lindsay Blackwell's application that DIDN'T get her the job? Granted it went viral and got her a ton of residual interviews, but hey, that's not a bad thing either, definitely a lot of extra effort involved though. Don't have a customized 30-60-90 day plan prepared? That would be a great ace up your sleeve if they asked you for it and you presented it right away rather than coming back for your next interview and presenting it as expected. These are the sort of things people remember, and talk about when you leave, and when a week has passed and they've interviewed 4 other candidates, you'll be known as the one who already had the plan ready instead of everyone else, trying to maintain status-quo.
Stay consistent throughout. Treat the last interview like the first from an effort standpoint. Wear the lucky suit, get the fresh haircut, prepare as much as you did the first time. Be prepared to answer the same questions you've encountered already, but answer with the same enthusiasm.
All things considered, none of this is hard, but it isn't easy either. That's a very diplomatic statement I know, but there's a very fine line between too confident and not confident enough as well. If the hiring manager has a poker face and you can't read how it went, they could be very well be doing you a favor, keeping you on your toes for the next round. There's no hard and fast way to prevent it, but being aware of how common it is, is a step in the right direction. Hopefully this has helped.
If you're still not convinced we're hardwired for optimism, check out the reddit forum dedicated to this game changing (literally) human behavior. Enjoy!