How to Find Your Dream Job
I interviewed for a job at Disney 20+ years ago. I’d been promoted at my current job as an Industrial Engineer and after working super hard and really enjoying the world I was in, I had an opportunity to apply for the same title at the happiest place on earth. Who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t want to work for the most iconic, fun-loving, easy-going, and carefree CEO in the world? Not to mention I kinda had a crush on his girlfriend Minnie.
The application and the interview process were intense. I realized right away that they were very focused on me as a human, not just what I had accomplished. Application questions asked about specific situations and how I would handle or address them, how I would help solve them or how I would walk away from them. I don’t quite remember all the details of the questionnaire on the application, but it was enough for me to say, ah…I see what they are doing there. They want to know me.
Apparently, I answered the initial questions to their liking, because the phone interview process started. First, with the HR Director. She was kind, but kept it very general – she asked a few logistical questions, and answered some of mine. Then, I got to the next phase…an interview with my direct report. He was a delight to talk to. We connected on a lot of levels. We talked shop, discussed details about my responsibilities at my current job, and he told me about the culture and benefits of working for Disney (including passes which gives the holder and their families access to theme parks and all kinds of discounts on resorts, cruises, dining and merchandise all over the world)…I was sold! I had a good feeling he liked me too. Which I found out he did, because my next phase interview was scheduled.
Can you believe it? My dream job was almost at my fingertips. All I needed to do was kill the next interview and they would send me an airline ticket to visit their office and have the final informal interview to figure out when my starting day will be. I heard by the time they send you the airline ticket, you are pretty much in. Hearing all this, I was anxiously anticipating interviewing with my boss’s boss. Actually, I was losing some sleep…there was a lot on my mind.
Well, to make a long story short. I bombed the next interview. She was intelligent, intuitive, and intimidating. I was not ready for the questions she threw at me, I was not ready for the lack of engagement or connection I thought I would have with her, like in the previous interviews. She didn’t even laugh at my jokes. What the what? I fumbled over my own words, I sounded desperate, I sounded overconfident, I sounded like I had no idea what I was talking about, and I even sounded like I was making stuff up. I was a mess.
Disney never called me back.
For the next year, I replayed that last interview over and over again in my head. How could I have been more prepared? How could I have been more myself? How could I have been more confident, yet genuine, yet profound, yet funny, yet charming, yet intelligent, yet engaging, and yet humble? All at the same time?
I didn’t have a lot of resources back in 2002 when it came to preparing for interviews…I wish they had a TikTok hashtag I could have followed for tips and tricks to kill an interview….but, we barely had email.
In our next series, my goal is to generate great interest in learning about standard practices, insights, tips, and tricks from both ends of the job interview. I hope that what is shared can help the employer (entrepreneur) find that perfect new member of your team that you’re desperately looking for, or the employee (contractor) find that dream job you’ve always wanted.
What are the right questions to ask to ensure that the right answer will lead to the right person? What are the not-so-obvious things to look for during an interview to make sure the company culture meets your criteria? Stay tuned, there’s so much more to share.