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Most distinctive job interview?
Posted: Fri Jul 28, 11:23 2017
At the beginning of this week, I learned that a position was open at a local university and they needed to fill it quickly. I interviewed by the end of the week. We'll see what happens, but it's gotten me thinking about interviews.
I always worry a lot about my own performance, even after telling myself that I'm evaluating them just as much as they're evaluating me, that it's basically a conversation, that I am qualified. There's always at least one question I do well, and at least one thing I learn about myself.
But I'm also an ethnographer in these interviews. I like figuring out the dynamics between people, their institutional history, how prepared they feel, and (in the back of my mind) keeping a checklist of how well they do. I find that paying attention to these things helps me more than any "checklist of things you do when you interview," because it means I have a better understanding of what I'm looking for and what I want. (It also helps me prep other people for interviews, if I can ask an unusual question or otherwise simulate something unpredictable that may happen.)
What's the most distinctive (good, bad, funny, awkward, memorable - you pick) job interview experience you've had? What did you learn from it?
Re: Most distinctive job interview?
Posted: Mon Jul 31, 15:21 2017
The worst job interview I had was for I think an office job at a security guard company. It was right out of school basically so I was applying for anything that even vaguely resembled my degree. They called in the morning and wanted to set up an interview for that afternoon. No problem, I'm unemployed and have no responsibilities I can do that. So I take a bus for 2 hours across town. The guy comes into the interview and right off the bat tells me I'm not qualified at all (and in a laughing tone too) then asks me why they should hire me. I'm pretty shit at talking myself up under normal conditions but introduce some jerk laughing and the awareness that they already think I'm not qualified and it's waay more painful. Anyways we talked for maybe 15 cringey minutes more and then we were done. I never heard back. He wasted 4 hours of my time and $6 worth of bus tickets (when I was broke as hell) seemingly just to embarrass me for trying to apply? Honestly I'm glad I didn't get it. I'm sure he would have been a fun boss to have.
Re: Most distinctive job interview?
Posted: Tue Aug 1, 5:07 2017
I haven't interviewed in a while, but when I was job-hunting, it always struck me how some of the interview formats at the time heavily favored skilled bullshitters. I get the lame straight-forward format: person looks over your resume/CV, and when they find anything that sounds interesting they ask you about it and you discuss and conversation ensues and you try to steer the conversation towards your strengths or points you want to make. This is about substance.
But then, for a while, interviewers started asking these utter bullshit beauty pageant questions: "what is your biggest strength?" "What is your biggest weakness?" "Tell me about a time when you worked successfully as a team." "Tell me about a time when you had trouble working as a team and how did you solve the problem... " Blah blah blah. The first time I got asked any of those I was caught off-guard, gave lame answers. But you bet your ass the 2nd time I had fabulous stories to go with each answer, and the stories were loosely based on reality, but heavily adapted for my audience. And there was quite a bit of acting involved. Fake recollecting, thoughtful pauses... it was exhausting. And maybe they saw through the acting, but maybe they didn't. Who knows. But it made me think "what kind of BS people are getting hired after these interviews???" And it pissed me off a bit, because I knew some of my most competent classmates were shy AF and would probably tank that interview.
But I digress: Worst interview I recall: I have no idea what I talked about, but I met with 9 people in a day. 9. separate. interviews. By the end of the day, I was fried, and so were the other interviewees. Best interview I recall: A couple of engineers plopped on the table a large sub-assembly with a bunch of components, and said something along the lines, of "this goes inside an anti-ballistic missile, this component does this, this component does that, this guy over here does this, but it's overheating and it's causing all these problems. How would you go about fixing this?" I LOVED it! It's the most fun I've had in an interview, it was like solving a puzzle with strangers.