I’m not exactly sure how it happens, but otherwise delightful and totally rational people become stark raving loony-tunes nuts crazy leading up to and more importantly after an interview. Somehow the hiring process and very act of interviewing for a job triggers what I like to call the post interview temporary OCD blues.
“They haven’t called yet.”
“They still haven’t called yet.”
It’s only been five minutes since you last told me that.
“But I interviewed THREE whole hours ago. Why aren’t they calling me?”
This goes on for most of the next two or three weeks, in which time you’ve called or sent notes at least 6 times, until you finally get the call for the second interview. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! You feel your old self returning.
And then it starts all over again. Oh sure…the job interview went well, but right after the interview you feel the signs of temporary OCD returning. The obsessive thoughts and the compulsive need to contact them and make them act NOW! NOW. NOW!!!
“I know they liked me. They seemed to like me. Oh god…why didn’t they like me!”
I’m sure they did.
“Was that the phone?”
No. The dog sneezed.
“Why won’t they call me? Those self-absorbed, insensitive bastards. Don’t they know I’m waiting???? I hate all of them.”
It’s only been three days and they’re interviewing other people.
“It’s a stupid job anyway. If they don’t call by tomorrow, I don’t even want it any more.”
Makes total sense. I understand.
“That’s it. I’m done with the idiots.”
Good plan. Why be open to a job you want?
Just then the phone rings. You get the job. Wuhooo! You’re thrilled because truth be told they all seemed really nice and the job is everything you ever wanted.
After an interview why do folks just get crazy looney-tunes nuts?
So what happened to you? Why did obsessive-compulsive behavior take hold of an otherwise lovely person’s body and brain?
Of course, we know it’s an awful, stressful process where you have absolutely no control over what they do or how soon they do it. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing back in as little as a day and waiting as long as four loooong months for jobs where I was the top candidate.
There is no absolute rule or standard when it comes to the job interview hiring process. I’m sorry. I wish there were. I know it sucks. But seriously…driving yourself crazy by trying to second-guess what you can’t possibly know about is not worth it. Sometimes emergencies happen. Or huge rush projects. Or people get sick. Or there are behind-the-scenes negotiations or politics. And none of it is about you.
The best thing you can do is give the very best job interview you can and then just wait. Seriously. Sure, a pleasant note or two and an occasional call can help move things along – sometimes. But I suggest you do these things without getting tied to an actual result on your time schedule. They will move at their pace no matter what we do.
So what can you do in the meantime?
Things to Do While Waiting After an Interview
- At the most basic level, try daily breathing exercises. A good one suggested by Dr. Andrew Weil is to breathe in to a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and breathe out for a count of 8. I do it and it helps.
- Take up a new hobby – something you’ve always wanted to try. Yoga. Meditation. Tai chi. Tae kwon do. Knitting. Painting. Photography. Guitar. Acting. Whatever piques your interest or moves your spirit.
- Rent LOTS of movies and re-direct your obsessive behavior in that direction. Not sure a therapist would suggest that, but I’m just trying to get you through the interview process. 🙂 (To keep costs down, you can always join NetFlix for a month or two and then stop.)
- Go to the library or local bookstore and find a bunch of books you’ve been meaning to read. This is the time.
- Volunteer somewhere. Turn your energy into something that helps others.
- Enlist the help of your friends and loved ones and make sure you get them to do things with you that keep your mind occupied.
- Also try putting your extra energy into doing extra things for people you care about. Hard to stay too obsessed about the interview, when you’re obsessing about…I mean doing something wonderful for a loved one.
- Keep looking for jobs! No matter how great this one job is, it helps to keep the energy aimed at finding work you really want. Sometimes an even better job comes along during this time.
- Write about your thoughts and feelings. And let your thoughts fly. Maybe even write a short story about a character going through what you’re going through. Maybe even give the protagonist super-powers to break through barriers and make things happen. 😉
- Or make your story into a great country or blues song! “I’m waiting too long. They done me wrong.”
- Exercise. Even if it’s only walking 10-20 minutes a day. Movement is good for helping get you out of the obsessive thoughts. Use the time to think about something you like to do or someone you love or a place you would like to visit. (No…not the office where you interviewed. Sheesh.)
- Singing while exercising or even on its own helps redirect your thoughts. For me…it’s show tunes or good ole rock ‘n roll.
- If all else fails, I use bad TV to get lost in. Oh sure…it’s not a prescription for mental health, but we’re just talking about making it through the interview process!
Would love to hear your suggestions and thoughts. How do you stay sane during the post-interview, temporary OCD blues?
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About the author…
Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, Career Nook and on Google+.