Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Job Interview

i had a very important interview this morning. i received a lot of encouragement before i went in the room, many friends shared kind wishes for good things, prayers, and good thoughts. after the interview i returned to work to find an email from my dear one saying "rock on Ian", she's really cool. i actually had to walk 6 blocks or so in order to get to the HR building where the interview would be held and it had started to snow earlier in the morning so my stroll was such that there was some bite in the air and butterflies in my stomach. i arrived at the waiting room a full half hour before my interview was to happen and i was asked for another copy of my work references, which i had actually forgotten to bring (not a good start) but was fortunate that i could remember all the contact information for them. they provided a sheet where the information could be submitted so of course i sat to record the information for them.
around mid-morning on any given day my body starts to realize that it hasn't had any nourishment for 4 hours, my blood sugar drops a little and my hands start to shake a bit. i'm there trying to print the appropriate information on a form while my hand shakes because i've only had coffee since 630 that morning. on top of that i'm also a bit nervous over the gravity of the situation and how much i really want to be able to express myself to these people.
at about 1015am the receptionist takes a call and then advises me that i can get on the elevator, go down a floor so that i can go to my interview. "Ian just be flexible", i say to myself and i grab my coat and my badly printed form and i head to the elevator. i end up standing in a lobby on the 3rd floor until the lady from HR comes to get me to take me into the torture chamber, i mean interview room. as i sit down i find my potential boss and his boss in the room with pencils poised. i knew both of them would be conducting the interviews so i wasn't surprised to see them but then they had to go through the painful exercise of introducing themselves, to me even though i've known them for years. they point out that "nothing can be assumed" in this interview and i should keep that in mind that they won't fill in the blanks for me as i try to explain my position during the interview.
HR lady explains to me that she will be chairing the interview but all three of them will take turns asking questions of me. she states that we'll take about 45 minutes to finish the interview and then we start into the first question.
i wasn't allowed any notes for myself to keep me on track so i had to put away all my prep material right off the hop. i was provided with a sheet of paper and a pencil if i wanted to take some notes to remind myself of what i wanted to say over the course of each question. i knew that each question was going to be convoluted with several parts to it and i wanted to be sure that i covered every part of each question when i answered so as each question came out i wrote notes to remind myself before i proceeded to answer.
the first question had 2 parts to it and it took HR lady a full 20 seconds to read the entire question to me. so i started with notes, i asked her to repeat the question, i clarified the question and when i was ready i started to answer. it must've been 30 seconds before i started to answer the first question and i felt completely comfortable in the silence while they waited for me to respond. i then started into my answer and i talked for SEVERAL minutes straight about my perspective and style and how i related to individuals in a counselling setting when i'm trying to put together an assessment and recommendations for people with barriers to employment. it was probably the easiest question of the 5 that i dealt with. there were a couple clarifying questions which i fielded easily and then we moved on to question 2.
question 2 was a 3 part question. question 3 was a 2 part question. question 4 was a 4 part question and question 5 was a 2 part question. after each question was asked i repeated the question as i took notes, i asked clarifying questions to be sure i had the idea behind the question, i paused and then i talked for minutes on end about what i thought my take on the answer would be.
overall, i think i did rather well. i'd like to think that i'm at least in the running for the job. i think that my boss's boss seemed relatively well engaged with my thoughts and i think that perhaps HR lady was less engaged. i couldn't really get a read on my boss which is ironic because i know him best of anyone in the room.
i was quickly into the interview when i realized i wasn't nervous any longer. it was like i was just vomiting information out for minutes on end and everyone kept writing a lot so perhaps i had some good thoughts.
when the interview ended i took my first look at my watch and my 45 minute interview had lasted an hour and a quarter. i had talked straight for an hour and a quarter and i'm not sure what to take from the idea that they weren't cutting me off to say that we needed to move on to the next question. they just let me go for the most part. perhaps that means that they were pleased with my thoughts and wanted me to continue or perhaps they just let me ramble on because i still hadn't given the answer to the question. i'm kind of hoping for the former.
as i left the building for the 15 minute walk back to work i was grateful that i could have 15 minutes of fresh air to settle and clear my head. my first thought was that it was all a very sterile experience. for a man with so much gut energy to be forced to express himself from a head energy space for an hour i was frustrated that i couldn't inject more humanity, more heart into my answers. it was an exercise in blurting out experiences and examples when i would rather spend my time trying to express my passions and motives in my work. i didn't really get to say "why" it is that i do what i do, it was much more about "what" do i do and "how" do i do it. i get it that they only want to know what skills i have at my disposal but i'm in a space where i want to wax poetic about who i am, my history and influences and how well i'm suited for the chairs i sit in. i was hoping to WOW them a little and i didn't really get the rope i needed to run with that type of thought.
anyway, i hope i'm in the running. by mid afternoon i could taste my desire to get this job but i'm also trying very hard not to expect too much. if i don't get the position then it's not like i'm unhappy where i am, i just want more challenges, a bigger soapbox from which to teach and to advocate.
i'm hopeful. it's good to be past the anxiety and stress of it sitting on the horizon.

No comments: