We all have that favorite pair of jeans or shoes that fits just right. They’re perfect…snug exactly where they need to be and loose in the same way. It’s very subjective and hard to articulate, but you just know when you’ve got the right fit.
I believe that the same concept applies to job interviews. Of course, my viewpoint is limited because I have only been the person interviewed. I have never been the person conducting the interview. And my track record when it comes to being interviewed for administrative jobs honestly isn’t very good. In fact, out of nine career interviews, I have not been offered one position.
Now, I’m not trying to make a negative statement or have anyone feel sorry for me. I’m just illustrating the fact that the right fit between myself and a school has yet to be made. That’s just the nature of the process.
Rather than bemoan my success rate, I completely trust the viewpoint of the interview teams that have taken the time to evaluate me. In a lot of ways, the interview process is like speed dating. You have a limited amount of time to put your best foot forward. You’re not exactly sure what the other party is looking for. But, both sides have a vested interest. In this case, it’s the children at that school. Unfortunately, in each circumstance I’ve been in, the experts in those districts have determined that I’m not the right fit for that specific scenario.
Some people may look at an 0-for-9 percentage as a sign that maybe that line of work isn’t in cards for them. I choose to look at each of those nine instances as an opportunity for growth. Sometimes I may have made mistakes in my approach or in an answer I gave or my etiquette during an interview which led to another candidate bypassing me. Sometimes I may have done everything correctly, but someone else just out shined me and proved that they were the best fit for that job.
If you think about it this way, three out of 10 is a great batting average in baseball. All I need is one out of 10. I have to stay patient and not get discouraged about the statistics. Not in a narcissistic way, but I must continue to believe that the combination of my personality, leadership skills and experiences will lend themselves well administratively to a school someday. However, it must be beneficial to both parties, and for reasons not entirely known to me, I just haven’t found that fit yet.
Here’s what I do know, however, about the right fit. Let’s suppose for instance I did land one of those nine jobs for which I interviewed. That job needs to be mutually beneficial. So, if I got a job, that’s great, right? But what if it wasn’t the right fit? What if it was a job where my beliefs didn’t mesh with the culture of the school? What if it turns out that the administration I worked with didn’t allow for me to grow as an educator? What if I ended up being a drain on fellow faculty and staff with my constant ideas for change?
What that means is without the right fit, sometimes, one or more parties will turn out to be negative or even miserable. Therefore, students will be able to sense that as well and have those emotions negatively impact the learning environment. Nobody wants that, so that’s why I’m confident that the people who decided that I’m not the right fit have made the right decisions in the best interests of the students in their schools. Like the favorite pair of jeans or shoes, they may not be able to fully explain their decisions, but they just know–and that’s good enough for me.
I would like to think that I am the right fit in all situations, but I only have tunnel vision of what I believe I bring to the table. Those who ended up getting those positions were what’s best for those students at that point in time. As much as we would like to have a calculated and fully objective hiring process, we have to remember that this job involves human beings. And human beings are messy and subjective. Human beings sometimes have to go with their guts, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
So, I could choose to be angry and bitter about my situation, or I could choose to look ahead to the next opportunity while keeping in mind what I’ve learned from previous interviews. I choose the latter because I believe there is a right fit in my future. At the risk of sounding like a Match.com commercial, my best fit is still out there–I just haven’t found it yet!
I can tell you this much, though. When I do find it (and increase my success rate to 1-for-10), the first thing I’ll do is to throw on those favorite pair of jeans, enjoy the moment and thank my lucky stars that I have chosen education as my profession. As long as I have the opportunity to work with students, things seem to fit just right.