This was the best thing I ever said in an interview specifically because it destroyed my chances of getting the job.
I had just graduated with a teaching degree during the worst teacher hiring drought my state had seen in decades. Aside from low-paying sub gigs, I had no leads for teaching positions in any local schools. There were just no openings.
I was so desperate for money that, on a whim, I checked the hiring website for the bank I’d previously worked for. To my delight, they were hiring at the same site where I previously worked, and for the exact position that I had held for five years prior to going back to school to finish my degree!
I applied immediately, expecting to have a job within a week or two.
I breezed through the phone interview and side-by-side observation, and I moved on to a panel interview with three other candidates. My answers were all on point, and I was feeling so confident that I started cutting up with the managers conducting the interview.
Then, the time came—the question I had been waiting for. My chance to drop the Mic. I was the last to speak, the last to be asked, the person who would leave the final impression for this round of questioning. I was ready. The manager smiled at me and asked,
“What have you done to prepare yourself for this interview?”
I reclined smugly in my rolly chair, looked the interviewer dead in the eye, and quipped,
“You mean besides doing the job for five years?”
::pause for laughs::
::pause longer for laughs?::
No laughter! Abort! Abort!
The managers did not react the way my arrogant idiot brain had anticipated. Instead of laughs, my statement was met with cold, unimpressed stares.
The mood in the room changed immediately.
I had no hope of recovering. Every answer after that was incoherent babble and nervous neck rubbing. I bombed.
A couple of days later, I received my “Thank you for your interest” letter. They had (rightly) rejected me.
This turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened because a couple of weeks later, a long-term sub position opened at a school that I had a good relationship with. I applied, got the work, and after a couple of other short-term stints, I was offered a full time teaching position.
If I’d gotten the bank job, I would’ve kept it as a security blanket and possibly never gone into teaching.
Ironically, one of my best professional decisions was being an arrogant jerk.
Author: , Teacher