My first interview out of grad school was at Industry Giant. Their headquarters - or rather the one that was relevant to my field of study - was located within easy driving distance from my graduate city. So I applied and when someone called within days, I nervously agreed to head a bit east and deliver my first interview talk.
It went well, I thought of the 45 minute presentation delivered in a small conference room with about 10 people in attendance. They asked easy questions, then started to speak with me individually according to the schedule I'd been given.
I remember how nervous I was, trying frantically to stay professional and focused. I crashed at lunch though. The exhaustion hit me and I went under without a fight. I wasn't able to answer the questions lobbed at me from across the table. I felt under-qualified and stupid and immature.
"You'll call us before you take any other job." The director ordered before I shook his hand and left later that afternoon. But I knew my performance had been sub-par - I interviewed much better at other places, learning to drink coffee early and fight the inevitable desire for rest really hard. I took my current position after much deliberation and out of a desperate desire to leave grad school. I didn't hear from Industry Giant and after two calls that went unanswered, I decided to write them off with my best wishes.
The hell of it is that I wanted that job. I would have been good at it, the location was optimal in terms of being near my family, and they actually have winter there. So I sighed and wished things had gone differently.
The job I mentioned earlier - the one I really want - is again at Industry Giant. So I sent my CV last week along with a delightful email and was disappointed when I didn't hear anything. That's fine though, I thought. I'm not quite ready to leave here. I haven't interviewed in a long time and would likely flub up this first one.
Of course, someone sent email this morning asking after my availability for a phone interview today or tomorrow.
"Oh, crap." I whispered, stomach clenching. All those job-seeking worries hit me hard and their familiarity was stunning. I remember exactly how this goes. The process is hard, at least for me. I get very nervous and fight headaches and tummy troubles. I try frantically to over-prepare but the first one is always messy. That's why I lined up interviews back to back as much as possible. I needed the practice and once I got going, things tended to smooth out. So Industry Giant is once again getting an unpracticed, unpolished version of me. But this time I have no doubts about industry vs. academia. If I can get them to offer me something, I'll take it.
Now I need to review notes on how to interview. Wish me luck.