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Trouble With Job Interviews
#1
For the past year-and-a-half, I have been trying to get work so I can move to a better city and be independent of my mom. I have been applying to places like Albertson's, Stater Brothers, Ralph's, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, Walmart, and other grocery/retail stores as I have three years of experience working in such an environment. I go to websites like Indeed.com and caljobs.gov to find openings in my area.   

I have had over twenty interviews since October 2016. I always show up on time. I always dress and groom accordingly. I always bring a resume. I also try to research a little bit of the company beforehand in case they ask me what I know about them. Every time I walk in for an interview, I think to myself, 

I can do this. Don’t be afraid of them, they are just people like me. The past is the past, and this is a new opportunity. 

When I first meet the interviewer, I try to show my interest in the job by making eye contact, smiling, giving a firm handshake, sitting up straight, making small talk, and explaining what I can offer them by telling them my past work experience and my positive characteristics: I show up on time, I don’t mess around when there is work to be done, I always get along with coworkers, I have a good memory, I have my food handler’s card, and I have excellent penmanship. All goes well, at least at the beginning.

Though I am obviously qualified for the positions the person interviews me for, the thing I have trouble with is impressing them. The trouble comes when they start asking me questions such as, “When did you go above and beyond the expectations of a customer/supervisor?” or, “How did you resolve an issue with a difficult customer?” or, “When did you influence someone’s opinion on a subject?” I don’t have any big impressive stories about how I did any of these in the workplace or just life in general, plus I am a very inarticulate speaker. This is where the interview starts to go off the rails: I lose eye contact and my posture changes as I sit there for long periods of silence trying to think of something to say, and I know that the interviewer can sense my discomfort. The fact that I am talking to a complete stranger and am competing against dozens or hundreds of other applicants who want the same thing I do doesn’t help either. At the end of the interview when they ask if I have any questions, I usually don’t, because I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean or if it has any bearing on whether or not I get hired.   

To improve my chances of employment, I attend a weekly speech club and am also receiving services from an agency that helps people like myself try to get work. My counselor at said agency offers suggestions on places to apply to and helps me with interview skills and resume writing techniques. They help, at least in terms of motivation and accountability.         

The whole job hunting process has been degrading to my sense of self-worth and made me resentful toward the job force executives. I am not content to live with my mom in such a disgraceful town as this, especially when there are much better-quality cities nearby that have a lot more to offer in terms of activities to do and potential wives to meet. Every job interview I have in one of these cities and then get rejected for it feels like a carrot is being dangled in front of my face and sadistically held just out of my reach.   

Does anyone have ideas as to what I can say or do in an interview that will persuade the employer? I’ve tried to have reasonable standards in my job hunting endeavors and have taken every measure I can think of, and so far nothing has worked.  
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#2
Wish I could help. I face the same frustrating issues with most of my job interviews. It feels like a big charade most of the time. Every job I've ever applied for was something that I was 100% qualified for and capable of handling. I'm a competent no nonsense worker. I wish they would just hire you, see whether you can do the job or not, then take it from there. Job hunting has always felt like a giant waste of time and energy to me. Luckily I seem to be finding my own ways of skirting that whole system of corporate bullshit.
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#3
Hi Eu.  Sorry to hear about your situation and I hope you prevail in the near future.  I will admit, I've generally done quite well with interviews and my little tip is to get on the good side of the interviewer.  Usually when I walk in, I will glance around their desk, pictures on the wall or books on a shelf.

During the conversation, I'll find a way to bring up an item of interest that might show I have something in common with the person.  Toss in a bit of sarcasm or a joke and you'd be surprised how far it will get you.

When I interviewed with my current company, I was introduced to the Director of Operations and I noticed he had a shell casing from an A-10.  I asked him where did he get that, as I know it's a shell casing from an A-10, and told him I had one as well.  His eyes lit up, as he said I was the only person in the building who ever recognized what it was and he bragged how he was one of the engineers that redesigned a certain part of the aircraft.  He even joked, "hire that guy" to the QC manager. I was hired the next day (I did have a lot of experience under my belt, so it wasn't like it won it on my charm...haha Big Grin ).

Sure, it was a bit of luck that I was able to schmooze like that but it has happened on a few occasions and you mention one thing that upper management is interested in and you tend to stick out in their mind.

Again, that has worked quite well for me so I thought I would pass it along.  Granted, you may not feel comfortable doing the same, but just thought I would pass it along.  Wishing you the best in your job search.
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#4
(05-06-2018, 10:02 AM)beautiful loser Wrote: During the conversation, I'll find a way to bring up an item of interest that might show I have something in common with the person.  Toss in a bit of sarcasm or a joke and you'd be surprised how far it will get you.

I haven't tried that yet. I'll give it a shot. Thanks.
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#5
EU, I meant to add this in my last post.  I've noticed when I turned the interview around, to where I'm asking questions, I usually got the job. Meaning, when we would  talk about a topic we both enjoyed, I would start asking questions and they would respond, as if I'm the interviewer...it would last for a few minutes, they would catch themselves talking way too much about stuff not related to the interview and then get back to business.  They also seemed to loosen up a bit, smiled/chuckled a lot more and I felt more welcome during the last part of the interview.

Also, if they ask "what do you have to offer over the other applicants?"  I always said "I'll be here every day."  Short and simple.  One manager told me he never heard that before and he liked the answer...I was hired a few days later.

Just something to think about, I guess.  Good luck!!
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#6
Actually this is kind of easy. Before you start tell the interviewer that you get nervous during interviews. Once you get that out there you aren't so preoccupied. As far as the questions you get stuck on, if you don't have a story make something up. Practice the story over and over again. Most places ask the same questions anyway, so there shouldn't be surprises.
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#7
You need to come up with answers to the sorts of questions they are asking you. It's obviously not the first time you've heard these questions. These are pretty standard for interviews. So, considering you aren't applying for CEO, the stories don't need to be "impressive", they just need to exist and make sense. You are half way there. You just have more work to do on successfully closing in these interviews!
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#8
Thank you for all your advice, guys. I realize that one has a better chance of getting the job by asking the interviewer lots of questions and initiating more. There were times when I tried to sit down beforehand and think up a story based on a question the interviewer asked me that was elaborate and believable enough to convince them. That probably would have been effective if I had felt more at ease. 

Fortunately, I have finally landed a job, so all is well. Cool  I'll certainly keep all of your tips in mind for future interviews, which hopefully won't have to happen any time soon.
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#9
Congrats, EU!  Good luck with your new job!
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