I’m an awkward individual. They say that a situation may only be awkward and uncomfortable if you make it that way. Well, I’m the kind of person that can make any situation awkward.
Job interviews are the perfect example of a situation that should go smoothly and predictably, but if you put someone like me in that position, it’s bound to get weird.
Introductions are usually done with a firm handshake and a smile. I think I’m the only idiot who would rethink proper handshake etiquette and wind up with rather disastrous results.
Do you shake with the right or left hand? Which person initiates the shake? Should girls shake like guy, and how long do you hold the shake?
Believe it or not, all of these thoughts rush through my brain immediately before grasping my potential future employer’s hand. Brain overload forces me to stumble just long enough for me to go for a left-hand shake when a right hand is extended towards me, rendering the whole interview awkward within the first 15 seconds.
I also struggle with interview attire. “Business casual” can be interpreted so many different ways! If my clothes could talk, they’d scream, “she had no idea what ‘business casual’ meant, so she just threw on a suit to overcompensate.” Inevitably, I’ll show up in said, full suit to greet my interviewer who is wearing a t-shirt and cargo shorts. Somewhere along the lines, someone was misinformed.
Finally, those glorious interview questions arrive. You know, the questions you probably should have gone over in your head.
What makes me more qualified for this position? Honestly, the very composed gentleman you interviewed before me is most likely more qualified… and my weird handshake probably already tipped you off to that.
What will I bring to the company? Obviously a few laughs since you started off the interview laughing at my weird attempt at a handshake.
Why do I want this job? I’ll toss out another semblance of a believable and honorable answer and then my phone will start ringing, interrupting your next question.
The interview will finally end on another handshake, but this time I don’t manage to screw it up. I walk away hoping my interviewer doesn’t remember our first handshake, while wondering to myself why I feel a breeze on my backside…
I think the outcome of an interview is decided after the first handshake, which is why it’s so important to make a good first impression. Accidentally flashing your underwear as you walk away from an interview probably won’t help your case, though.
So while you’re awaiting a very important interview, do everything the exact opposite of what I would do and you’ll save yourself some awkward embarrassment. And I guess landing a job is a pretty good result, too.
Shake on, friends, and leave the awkward to me. That’s a job I’ve already come to master.
Tanya Parker is a junior studying broadcast journalism and a columnist for The Post. Email her at email@example.com.