“It’s all about who you know.”
This was something I heard ALL THE TIME during the 6 months I spent unemployed. People offered up this phrase to me as if it was the end-all-be-all to finding a job. Like now that they had told me this little job hunting secret I would FINALLY be able to end my multi-month long employment search. Because of their tip I would be saved.
What I wanted to reply was, “If it’s all about ‘who I know’ would you mind TELLING ME ABOUT A JOB OPENING WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW?” Normally though I just smiled.
I dredge up my feelings of worthlessness from my 6 MONTH unemployment journey because although it has been nearly a year since I finally found a job, I was recently privy to an enlightening flashback when I actually became the person who was able to give the employment insider scoop to not one, but TWO job hopefuls.
In the same meeting where I found out I’d lost my job, my boss also mentioned a connection with a MEGA-SUPER-AMAZING-AWESOME-JOB-OF-UNICORNS-AND-COOLNESS. So, although I felt like I had just been kicked in the stomach on one hand, I also couldn’t help but smile when I realized that, This could all lead to a serious upgrade. Despite my new found feelings of unemployed worthlessness I worked on my cover letter and resume with the help of my now EX coworkers as we all attempted to blindly prep me for a chance to work with the big dogs.
I’d love nothing more than to tell you exactly what company I applied for, but alas, I shouldn’t. Mostly because if I ever get this shot again, I don’t want them to see me talking trash about their hiring process. Lets just say you know who they are, and they’ve taken over the world.
They also happen to be founded and run largely out of Seattle.
I’ll never tell.
After THREE phone interviews I finally made it to the in person interviews. I dressed to impress and walked straight into the lions den. And not some ‘Hmm I Wouldn’t Mind A Snack,’ sort lions den either. I’m talking, ‘We Haven’t Been Fed in 6 Months I’m Going To Eat Your Family’ sort of lions den. I partook in six half hour back-to-back interviews without a pee break, without a water break, and without a moment to breathe. This company didn’t hold back. The conversation was largely numbers driven, and I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone had dared to glance at my ENGLISH/BOOK PUBLISHING — HELLO NO MATH background. My favorite interaction was when one interviewer goes, “Anyone can think up a cute marketing ploy. I need someone who is able to make sense of numbers.”
So I should just leave now?
The skitzo part would be that right after Numbers Lady left, Guy Who Loved Me would be up telling me how perfectly on point my ideas were and how I had, ‘The Voice’. Every half hour I thought I nailed it, and then directly following would feel like my best option was to just escort myself out of the building and save everyone the trouble. Talk about messing with your head.
Needless to say, when I walked out of their offices nearly 4 hours later I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, a car, a school buss and a small SUV, all at the same time. BUT, I was still hopeful because although I wasn’t a numbers girl, I had what I thought was experience in an arena that would give me an edge.
OBVIOUSLY I didn’t get the job.
I cried for a day straight.
Alas, my failure isn’t the entire point of this story. The point is a friend recently asked if I might share my insight into Super Company with someone who was going to be interviewing with them. As I wrote out my tale of horror (6 BACK TO BACK INTERVIEWS WITH NO WATER! NUMBERS! SO MANY NUMBERS! TELL THEM ABOUT HOW YOU LOVE NUMBERS!), I remembered vividly how terrifying, confusing, and what a mind-fuck job hunting as a whole really is. I recalled how not once did the HR rep of Super Company tell me maybe I should be sure not to drink water before arriving to my 4 hours of interrogation because YIPPEE I wouldn’t be allowed to pee. Or breathe. Or God forbid gather my thoughts.
As is to be expected, my insight actually helped someone else be really really prepared. This person later admitted the interview with Super Company was indeed just as terrifying as I’d claimed (thank god it wasn’t all in my head), and no they didn’t let her pee either. The kicker being that even though it was frightening, because of my tale ultimately she was just a little more prepared than others. Maybe she brought a protein rich snack, or meditated, threw salt over her shoulder before entering the building, maybe even promised her first born to the devil, but either way she was so ready for their attack that she landed the job.
Did you get that?
She got the job.
Two weeks later, my story was again handed to someone before an interview with Super Company. They too remarked that my tale was incredibly helpful, and wonderful, and actually helped them avoid feeling like they were in the hot seat and should maybe just come clean already about that one time they stole a necklace from Macy’s.
I wont lie to you, if this second person gets the job too, I might just crawl in a hole and die.
The moral of this VERY LONG story is that yes, those people are right when they tell you that it’s all about Who You Know. And it is not even an exaggeration in the slightest to say that your odds of landing a job are significantly higher if you can find some schmuck who has already interviewed with the company of your dreams who might be willing to tell you exactly what NOT to do.
If you’re really lucky, the combination of your skills and your new found knowledge will mean you’ll actually get the job they were too unprepared/blind/flabbergasted to get themselves.
Damn you Super Job.
You know I still love you, right?