Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 15 - First Interview

          The phone interview was interesting. It’s been several years since I looked for a job, so I’m rusty at the processes. Still I think it went fairly well. The man I talked to in Tulsa was engaging, had a lot of good things to say about the company, and didn’t ask too many hard questions. I hate it when they ask you stuff like ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’ and ‘what are your 3 best and 3 worst traits and why?” To my thinking there’s no useful information conveyed in the answers to questions like that. If you manage to answer well it’s because you have heard the question before, anticipated it, and formulated an answer in advance. Then you have to act as if the answer you give is spontaneous rather than rehearsed. The interviewers know this—or should. Certainly all the candidates know this. So the best that an interviewer can hope to gain is some sense of how well the candidate prepared. In other words they’ll know that they’ve got someone who is good at interviews, but not necessarily if they’ve got someone who is good at the job.
          Thankfully this guy did not ask any questions like that. Perhaps he wasn’t prepared for the interview. I was because I have good answers to those particular questions. They are bald-faced lies, but they are good answers. They are calculated to make me seem smart, thoughtful, industrious, team centered, ambitious (but not overly so), and sensitive (but capable of being a jerk when required). That’s a lot of information to pack into a couple of sentences. I try also to be a little funny. I don’t want anyone to think that I take myself too seriously. I tend to draw the line there. I’ll pretend to be anything they want me to be to land the job except someone who takes himself too seriously. If that’s what they are looking for they will have to keep looking because that’s not me and never will be.
          Oh I suppose I could pretend to take myself seriously if I was of a mind, but you have to consider the consequences when you undertake a deception like that. If the company is looking for candidates who take themselves seriously, then chances are pretty good that they are already loaded up with such individuals, and that just sucks all the joy right out of a workplace. Those are the kinds of places where you could die, find yourself in hell, and never know that you weren’t still at work. I just escaped two such places in a row. I’m not going to volunteer for a third by making stuff up.

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