How I overcame the worst interview I've ever had at Purdue


About the author: Robbie Abed is a Purdue University alumnus. He is an author, LinkedIn Contributor and speaker as well as the Director of Marketing for Y Media Labs. He graduated from the College of Technology.

I really wanted this job. I had to get this job. I already told the whole world about my desire to work at this prestigious consulting company out of college. I had no choice. I submitted my application and began the anxious wait…

...I GOT IT! I was able to land an on-campus interview at Purdue! It's the day of the interview. I get suited up and print out several copies of my resume. I even used that thick, overpriced resume paper. I needed to impress. I get to the interview and keep telling myself, "Everyone loves Robbie. They will love me too. I'm loveable, smart. They would be stupid to turn me down. Who WOULDN'T hire Robbie?"

My name gets called, I walk over to the interview room, shake the interviewer’s hand, and sit down right across from him.

...And then this is when I knew things would go wrong.

His eye contact. It’s not normal. It’s better than normal. It’s… It’s perfect! Like SCARY perfect. There is eye contact and there is EYE CONTACT. It was unbelievable. If there was a competition for best eye contact, he would take the trophy without a problem. He was the Michael Jordan of eye contact. He was THAT good. I don’t think he blinked. In fact, I don’t think it was medically possible for him to blink.

I wasn't ready for this. Not at all.

He asked me a lot of questions. I have no idea what my responses were, but I know they weren’t right. He was losing further interest every second. I wasn’t an expert at figuring out if someone likes me or not during an interview, but this one was so blatantly obvious. Even my prepared “tell me about yourself” speech fell flat. I had even thought about trademarking that speech. It was that good! Nope, not this time.

I didn’t make it to the next round. It was probably the quickest rejection letter I’ve ever received.

I was really hard on myself about the way I answered the questions. I blew it. I don’t know if it was the eye contact that threw me off, but I was so damn depressed for a long time.

3 years later I find myself interviewing with the same employer.

This time I got the job. Eye contact man wasn't part of the process this time. The job was everything I hoped it to be and more.

SO why am I telling you this?

There’s a moral to this story. Just because you don’t get your dream job the first time, there is always a second time and a third time. Don’t cross it off your list. In fact, if you don’t get it, it should be at the top of your list. Believe it or not, your career is a marathon, not a sprint.

Take your failures with pride. It might make a good story in 10 years.

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