My fingers curl into fists impulsively, my heart beating out of my chest. I take the deepest breath I ever have as I stare at the door ahead of me.
Here goes nothing.
Simultaneously excited and anxious—but mostly anxious—I walk through it into an office; one I’ve been hoping and praying to every single day for the last twelve months, my mind reeling with a billion thoughts that all focus on one thing:
Stern eyes look up at me 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 me, one of those “resting bitch faces” that I can always spot because I have one myself. Then again, I 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 mine again, “Miss Myers.”
I settle into the chair across from him, calmly lacing my fingers under his desk to suppress the urge to drum them against the armrest. Or fiddle with my hair. Or pull it out altogether.
I 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 I’m in the middle of an interview—the interview—for the internship of a lifetime.
Yet, even with my resolve, I’m nervous. Nervous as hell. But a lifetime of practice veiling my emotions ensures I don’t show it. I suppose I can thank my 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 my tenseness, I answer without a hitch, integrating truth and relevance with what I 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 I tackle each one without missing a beat, keeping my answers precise, straight to the point and on topic, making sure I sound assured and professional but not forgetting to be personable so that I don’t come off mechanical. I manage to uphold a straight face the entire time, keeping my eyes on the bridge of my interviewer’s nose; a trick I learned long ago to feign confidence. Maintaining eye-contact without actually maintaining eye-contact.
But, in spite of my nerves—birthed from both my current situation and tendencies typical of an introvert—genuine, undiluted passion drives me, allowing that select emotion to bleed through my calm facade, manifesting in my voice and in my 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 my life for months is over, a hell of a lot faster than I thought it would be. It’s almost a blur, really.
Concluding, the interviewer informs me that I’ll receive both an email notification and official acceptance letter in the post if I’m selected.
I thank him for his time, smile, and walk out. I damn near collapse once I close the door behind me, slouching against it as weeks and weeks of built-up tension seeps out of my body.
God, I need a drink, is all I can think, realizing the magnitude of my state considering the rarity of alcohol in my life.
I guess all there’s left to do now is wait.
I resign myself to the fates, knowing I’ve done the best I can and whether I get selected or not, I gave it my all.