Going for job interviews can be intimidating, and in a multi-stage hiring process characterized by several callbacks the pressure can build. It’s not uncommon for a candidate’s anxious energy to start to get the better of them. This reaction is only natural; after committing time and effort to the search effort, the requisite research, and the interviews themselves, it’s easy to get psyched out. The nerves will only multiply if a candidate has extenuating circumstances, like having been out of work for a period or disliking his or her current job.
So here’s a (nearly) universal truth of interviews (I’ll explain the nearly part a bit further down), from the perspective of the hiring organization:
Every single time a company invests the time to interview you, they are doing so because they believe that you can be, and hope that you are, perfect for the role.
Too many people forget this, and start to interpret things in a convoluted way: Are they calling me back to give me one more opportunity to screw up? Is it because I didn’t convince them the first time? No! They’re calling you back because they think you’re the right person! Sometimes you’ve already convinced the people you’ve met, and they’re calling you back in to wow the other folks in the organization.
I’ve conducted a couple of hundred interviews, and I went into each and every one hoping that the person sitting opposite me would get hired. Interviewing is time-consuming, it’s resource-intensive, and it’s so vitally important that good organizations take a long time to make sure they’re hiring the right person. But they’re only talking to you because they think you are the right person.
Now, about the “nearly” part. The only scenario in which I find this not to be true is one in which a company is legally obligated to interview multiple candidates, and they’ve already long since decided who they want (usually an internal transfer or promotion). I’ve observed this to be the case most frequently in government positions, other publicly-funded organizations, and the NFL. It might be little comfort if you’re seeking those jobs, but I personally wouldn’t want to work in an organization that is so disingenuous as to waste everyone’s time in bad faith. Take comfort that in the vast, vast majority of cases, what I’ve said above is true.
So the next time you get a little bit nervous during an interview process, just remember that you’ve already proven yourself enough that they want to talk to you (or talk to you again), and maybe share a little bit of the confidence they’re placing in you.