My Interview Failures

Recently, BEAMers have expressed interest in applying to the paid/non-paid internships offered by the course. One of them asked about how to craft an impressive resume. Before the BEAM alumni (who dropped by to visit) and instructor replied, I already knew what their answers would emphasize: the interview.

Current BEAMers: at this stage, few companies are looking for extremely experienced individuals. They simply want to see a genuine desire and interest for working with them, along with a few other soft skills.

I personally experienced the truth of this statement. My resume serves its purpose, yet as a junior last year, my interviewing skills were lacking.

I am going to talk about an interview failure of mine, in the hopes that you can learn from it. Openly discussing this failure is slightly painful yet somewhat liberating, and it carries two lessons for you.

My failure happened under a BEAM partner company named TIBCO. I was one of the three people rejected, a moderately embarrassing rejection in light of the fact that the girl who got turned down was an hour late to the interview, while the boy who got turned down kept insisting to the interviewers that he was probably not a good fit for the role. Of the three people rejected, I made mistakes that were a bit more subtle (not to say that the other two are anything short of wonderful people).

I did not address the elephant in the room, which was my biggest, obvious flaw -- shyness. As if simply ignoring it would make it nonexistent, I did not for a single moment take the time to explain the source of my flaw and bring up my past and present efforts to change. I did not explain how it felt to be yelled at and home alone so much that being with people started to scare me. I did not mention the times I sang solo for one hundred adults. I did not talk about my work in mental health.

I only figured out that not addressing my flaw was a problem when I got the phone call saying I was rejected. The interviewer spoke to me at length about introversion.

The second mistake I would like to go over has been repeated by myself in multiple interviews. It is the simple mistake of allowing nerves and a desire to succeed make you no longer act as yourself. Your desire to succeed should never overcome your desire to be yourself. In fact, these two desires should be in line with each other.

BEAMers, I hope these lessons prove valuable to you as you interview for internships through BEAM. In case my opinions matter to you, know that I have a good first impression of you all after our first few weeks of school. Just be sure not to repeat my mistakes. Good luck!

Chase Robbins