Job interviews present a lot of challenges, but most are easily prepped for.
There are other variables that are a bit trickier – like getting tossed right into an assignment and then the pressure and anxiety of writing a story, a good one at that, on deadline and under the casual, but watchful eye of potential employers and coworkers.
Yet what do you do when the unexpected, the thing you dread as an interviewee, occurs.
What do you do the next morning when you wake up, still on a high from the hard work and seemingly good impression you made that resulted in your tryout story landing on the front page and above the fold, only to realize you screwed up.
That was me the morning of job interview, Day 2. Groggy from a pretty comfortable sleep, I stared at the high-res .pdf of the day’s paper and realized I had a source’s age wrong in print.
Even though I had the age right in my notebook, I made a hash of it when an editor asked me and added it to the story. Entirely my fault. I recalled the moment of my error with the 20/20 clarity that only comes when you’ve completely fudged it.
If I can’t get that right, why bother even hiring me is what I had thought. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for thinking the same.
It’s very common practice to run corrections whenever one is spotted, whether it by a reporter or a reader. It doesn’t matter what the mistake was. Mistakes happen – sometimes they’re caught, other times they slide by unnoticed.
So there it was. Do I just go on with the half-day left of my time interviewing for a job that quite frankly, I would absolutely love to have, and not mention a thing? There was a very realistic possibility that no one would notice, or care enough to call in the mistake.
Or do I do the right thing, own up to my mistake, knowing full well it could cost me the job I want so badly.
For all my obsessive prep work, I was blindsided by the choice.
But what could have been an impossibly hard call to make – ended up being a gut decision made in an instance.
I told them immediately. It’s my responsibility as a reporter to be honest, accurate and fair. Those things all apply to not just my stories, but how I carry myself professionally.
It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do.
These job interviews and tryout stories are not just a test of ability, but of character and personality.
Maybe my honesty could score some brownie points, and in a twisted way maybe work in my favor. But a mistake is a mistake, and it could also cost me the job.
I won’t know for another three weeks, but I have no regrets reporting my own error.
You can’t prepare for everything when it comes to job seeking and interviews. Part of the process is the unexpected, and the past two months have been filled with lessons that I could never have learned at uni or during work experience and internships.
Job seeking is a transformitive process. Sometimes you’re on the mark first time around, but most likely there are a few slip-ups and silly mistakes along the way.
Whatever the case, you take what you’ve learned from each experience, and apply it to things yet to come.
What would you have done? Tweet us at @wannabehacks or post on our Facebook page.
- The Jobseeker preps for an interview At the time this post goes up – I’ll be...
- Biding your time post-job interview It’s been a few days since I returned from...
- How to job seek from your house Part and parcel of job seeking and being unemployed is...
- The Jobseeker asks, can (and should) reporters express their opinions publicly? It’s a question tempered by time, molded recently by technology...
- The Jobseeker covers an Occupation – on the cheap A while back I blogged about...
After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look