Monday, March 31, 2014

A Follow Up

Bombed It

More than a month ago, I had my fake interview with Erik Deckers on February 21st.

He, and many others interested in helping out students with practicing how to interview for jobs, came to Ball State and sat with a multitude of students throughout the day.

We were allotted thirty minutes to talk, discuss, answer questions, ya know, the typical interview thing.

Erik was a very pleasant man and when I wasn't being asked to answer any questions, I was perfectly fine and enjoyed our exchanges.

I didn't feel like I was going to choke and die, basically. I was nervous, but not frightfully so.

The moment a job related question was asked of me, though, I would freeze.

My body tensed up. 

Air? What was that? I couldn't remember how to get it in my lungs.

I left the interview feeling miserable (read more here). 

I knew I'd tanked it.


Yet, apparently that's not what happened. What I had perceived to be the truth and reality of the situation was in fact somehow false.

I was told in class one Thursday by Cathy Day, my literary citizenship professor, that I was experiencing a disconnect between reality and the world in my head. 

I hadn't done horridly at all.

This was furthered confirmed by an email from Erik himself.

His email read as such:

"Hi Liz

So Cathy Day pointed me toward your blog post about our interview. I was surprised by it. I honestly don't remember interviewing a 'frozen-up moron.' That woman never showed up. She must have been in a different room than we were.

But I remember Liz. Liz the creative writing meteorologist. Liz who works the front desk at her dorm. Liz my fellow Honors Collegian (Colleague?). Liz who understands and appreciates the glory of the Oxford Comma.

I remember thinking Liz was pretty effing awesome.

So awesome in fact, that when we were done, I emailed a friend of mine to ask him if he was still looking for interns. (He wasn't. Sorry.)

Could you have done 'better' on the interview? Sure, but we all can. We always have room to improve on any venture. (Actually, the last thing you want to be excellent at is job interviews, since it implies you've done lots and lots of them!) But you did fine and I didn't think there was anything wrong with your performances. 

Just remember, interviews are about making connections. While there's a question-and-answer format to it, it's your chance to tell stories and build rapport with the interviewer. We did that, which is why you are one of only three people who truly stood out to me, and I remember even now. Hell, I even kept your resume so I could remember you.

If you'd like, I'm happy to give you some interview advice for future real interviews. But you did just fine, and you were a very enjoyable person to talk to; I was only sorry we had to stop after 30 minutes.

So tell your 'frozen-up moron' I'm sorry she missed all the fun. I had a good time.



I have read this email about six times now.

Each time, I tear up.

I'll be honest: I'm that kind of person that no matter what I do, it's never good enough.

I'll never be perfect enough, achieve enough, be great enough, etc.

I'm just not enough.

So, to have someone like Erik say all these supremely nice things about me, someone he'd only met once, and for thirty minutes at that, is astounding.

He doesn't know how much it means to me, nor can I properly explain it.


It's something massive to think about.

How can two people, I being one of those two, go through the exact same thing and walk away with completely opposite opinions about what just occurred?

Not sure.

Probably has something to do with the Matrix.

Regardless, it really is consoling knowing that next time, I need not worry as much because, chances are, I won't bomb it.

Take Heed

Not only will this help me in the future, but I hope it helps others who get just as nervous. 

Have some faith in yourself and realize that even if it wasn't a perfect interview, it still probably wasn't that bad.

Don't throw yourself to the side that easily.

You're not a failure, and I found that neither am I.


  1. That was so nice of him to send that email! I think part of the disconnect is how we view ourselves and how other people view us. As writers, we often are super introspective-- we do a lot of internal thinking that doesn't ever make it to the surface, so what we see and know in our own minds turns out vastly different from what actually happened. This has happened to me a couple of times, too. :D

  2. "Just remember, interviews are about making connections. While there's a question-and-answer format to it, it's your chance to tell stories and build rapport with the interviewer."

    I really like this portion of the letter you received from Erik Decker. It makes me want to change my mindset on what an interview is about. It makes an interview feel more human, and less like a robot answering every question in the perfect way.

  3. What an amazingly thoughtful thing for him to have done! I also like Cathy's words about experiencing a disconnect between what really happened and what you thought happened. What an important thing to remind yourself of, even in day to day scenarios that aren't as stressful as . I'm so glad that your interview wasn't as bad as you felt it to be!

  4. Inspirational! This is such a great post for many other reasons along with what Lee, Andy and E.M. have said. I know how you felt after leaving the interview because I felt the same way. But at the same time I went in there with the mindset that this was my first interview, so of course I was going to do many things wrong. It's natural to focus on what we do wrong. But we all have that moment where we realize that we need to stop doing that. I think Erik's letter was that moment for you and that's beautiful (as was his email to you). I'm happy you are seeing things in a better light!

  5. Ahhhhhh! That's so cool that he sent you that! Having someone reassure you that you did well (and that you stood out!!) after thinking you completely bombed something is a great feeling. I remember seeing you after your interview when you thought you hadn't done well, but you're probably just your own worst critic, right? You're awesome, okay? Okay! Erik agrees.

  6. Sounds like a great learning experience. I think most young adults, hell adults even, are self defeating in nature (I know I am). Sometimes it's just as simple as reminding yourself of what you do well, and it sounds like you did really well in the interview. Just try and remember the Liz Erik describes and not the false one you've created in your head.

  7. I do this as well being a journalism major. When I'm conducting interviews for television, my mind starts racing about whether I have already asked a question or not while also trying to remember to keep eye contact with the interviewee so they are comfortable.

    I feel completely unprepared as the interview is happening, even though I have prepared, yet when we go into production and watch it back it shows that I ended up nailing it and I get comments on how professional I am. It's a very mind-blowing thing.