Your fingers curl into fists impulsively, your heart beating out of your chest. You take the deepest breath you ever have as you stare at the door ahead of you.
Here goes nothing.
Simultaneously excited and anxious—but mostly anxious—you walk through it into an office; one you’ve been hoping and praying to every single day for the last twelve months, your mind reeling with a billion thoughts that all focus on one thing:
Stern eyes look up at you behind dark-rimmed glasses, a vertical furrow separating them. They both belong to a stocky, middle-aged man who sits behind a slightly cluttered desk, holding a form in his hand. His permanent, involuntary frown greets you, one of those “resting bitch faces” that you can always spot because you have one yourself. Then again, you wonder if it’s intentional; an intimidation tactic so many interviewers use to test the mental fortitude of potential hires. If it is, it’s working like a charm.
“Have a seat…” his eyes dart to the form briefly before meeting yours again, “Miss Myers.”
You settle into the chair across from him, calmly lacing your fingers under his desk to suppress the urge to drum them against the armrest. Or fiddle with your hair. Or pull it out altogether.
You don’t have the luxury of showing fear. Not even a little. So, no nervous quirks. No fidgeting. No signs of unease. None of that. Not now. Not here. Not while you’re in the middle of an interview—the interview—for the internship of a lifetime.
Yet, even with your resolve, you’re nervous. Nervous as hell. But a lifetime of practice veiling your emotions ensures you don’t show it. You suppose you can thank your parents for that. Who knew there’d be a silver lining to their “educational system”, after all?
He sets the form down, wasting no time.
“So…tell me about yourself.”
Despite your tenseness, you answer without a hitch, integrating truth and relevance with what you know a person in his position most likely wants to hear.
And then the next question follows.
What are your strengths?
And the next.
What are your weaknesses?
And the next.
How would your professors/friends/classmates/co-workers describe you?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
What do you know about our company?
Why did you decide to apply for an internship position with us?
Why do you consider this to be a good opportunity?
Why should we consider you?
Inquiries come one after another, and you tackle each one without missing a beat, keeping your answers precise, straight to the point and on topic, making sure you sound assured and professional but not forgetting to be personable so that you don’t come off mechanical. You manage to uphold a straight face the entire time, keeping your eyes on the bridge of your interviewer’s nose; a trick you learned long ago to feign confidence. Maintaining eye-contact without actually maintaining eye-contact.
But, in spite of your nerves—birthed from both your current situation and tendencies typical of an introvert—genuine, undiluted passion drives you, allowing that select emotion to bleed through your calm facade, manifesting in your voice and in your expression.
What kinds of people do you find most difficult to work with?
Who was the worst co-worker/classmate you’ve ever worked with?
What is one of the most difficult conflicts you’ve been able to resolve?
How well do you work with other people?
Do you work better under pressure or with time to plan and organize?
Describe how you allocate your time and set your priorities in a typical day.
What are you looking for in your ideal position?
What is more important to you; completing a job on time or doing it right?
What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?
And, just like that, the interview that has consumed your life for months is over, a hell of a lot faster than you thought it would be. It’s almost a blur, really.
Concluding, the interviewer informs you that you’ll receive both an email notification and official acceptance letter in the post if you’re selected.
You thank him for his time, smile, and walk out. You damn near collapse once you close the door behind you, slouching against it as weeks and weeks of built-up tension seeps out of your body.
God, I need a drink, is all you can think, realizing the magnitude of your state considering the rarity of alcohol in your life.
You guess all there’s left to do now is wait.
You resign yourself to the fates, knowing you’ve done the best you can and whether you get selected or not, you gave it your all.