11.02.2007

Friday Five ... Interviews

Today's Revgalblogpal Friday Five is on the subject of interviews (the job seeking kind).

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?

Egads! Memorable because it was horrible! The year after college I lived in Switzerland as a nanny while I figured out what to do with my life. When I returned to Portland, I spent the summer temping while I frantically job hunted and still pondered said question. I seemed to be constantly the 2nd or 3rd choice for horrid jobs that I didn't really want anyway and was constantly going on interviews. The memorable interview in question however was with a coalition of neighborhood associations. There were no less than TEN people on the interview panel, all sitting on the other side of a long table. The room was extremely hot. They all had glasses of water in front of them, but offered me none. My chair was shorter than theirs and close to toppling over. I'm sure it's my imagination adding on details after the years, but I swear their was something like a spotlight pointing at me. Interview? Or interrogation? Oh, and THEY started sniping at each other instead of asking me questions! That was one job I was happy not to get.

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?

Once I was on an interview panel for the City. It was for a general clerical classification, and our job wasn't to select candidates for a particular job but rather to screen them so they could be ranked on a list (bureaucracy!). I think I was nice enough, although one of the two other interviewers actually fell asleep during one of the interviews. I had to step on her foot (accidentally of course) to try to wake her up discreetly.

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?

Never had one, but I generally am not a fan of the conference call. I like to see people when I speak with them, especially for something as important as an interview.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?

The best advice was from a book, the title of which I have long forgotten. Rather than giving you tips on how to anticipate what types of questions you might face, it suggested you spend your preparation time deciding what YOU want to tell THEM. Then it gave you tips on how to spin your particular message into any question, without it seeming like you were dodging the question. It worked pretty well actually.

Worst advice? Can't really recall. It's all such a blur at this point.

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?

When I started my discernment type meetings with the groovy sisters - which are a kindler gentler form of interview I suppose but much more important - I accidentally started the ritual of getting my hair cut nice and short before an interview. Made my head feel lighter, helped me stand taller, and it's always good to think you look nice.

Well, now that interview contemplation is over I'm going downstairs to bake. One of my housemates here showed me the secret to scones, so I'm going to whip up another batch. Then I'm going to make some of my cranberry almond biscotti as a thank you gift for another Sister who has been my tour guide on all those history trips. We're actually going on another history trip today, this one closer to home here in London.

Peace to you all. Have a good day.

13 comments:

Counselor in Process said...

I loved you comment on bureaucracy. I work for NY State and I've been in many meetings where people just fell asleep. The first couple of times I saw it, I was totally shocked, now I'm used to it which in itseld is shocking. Your taxpayer money at work.

Sally said...

ouch- a ten person pannel- what a horrible interview experience.

karlajean said...

I am echoing the ten person panel--yikes!
and am smelling those scones.....
Fun play, have a great day!

Mrs. M said...

I'm laughing really hard at your memorable interview. I'm sure it felt awful at the time, but it makes a great story!

Kievas said...

Your memorable interview sounds like a nightmare..glad you survived it!

Iris said...

I love that advice of focusing on what you want to tell them. That is great for me because I do tend to prepare for interviews in a defensive mode. Great play!

Mother Laura said...

Wow, I think you might get the prize for worst interview....

And that "best" advice sounds great--I'll keep it in mind as I prepare!

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Glad I could amuse you all!

I was 2nd choice for that 10 person panel job. I think I would have turned the job down if they'd offered it to me.

Years later I met one of the interviewers again through a work related matter. She didn't remember me, and I didn't bring it up.

Singing Owl said...

Wow! Having been part of a "beauratric" state interview, both on the interviewer and interviewee sides, they are THE WORST. NO deviating from the prescribed list of questions, EVER, UNDER NO circumstances. The thing I hated most about my former job for the state (which I mostly liked) was the stifling of creativity. It is also the thing my state-employeed prison chaplain husband hates most. Think outside the beauracracy box and you get in trouble.

Rochelle said...

Gosh...that first interview sounds like a it was a doozy! I like your advice about deciding what you want to tell them rather than anticipating what they'll ask.

Wyldth1ng said...

Your most memorable interview sounds fun.

leah sophia said...

wow--this is probably the most interesting play of the day! i'm close to speechless about almost everything you've said, but thanks for playing, anyway...scones ready yet?

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

The scones turned out well - I think I'm getting the hang of them!