Thursday, September 4, 2008

What makes a good interview?

Is it me? Is it them? Is it what everybody (or at least my business-school-graduate husband) says: When it simply becomes a conversation?

I don't know, but I finally had one today. For a job I actually want. I sent out two other applications/resumes this week, so I'm not clinging to it as the one and only hope for a meaningful life at work. (Although I may be checking the mail and phone messages with something approaching neuroticism in the next few days.)

What was nice about it:

People treating me as someone who might have many options. While intellectually I know this is true, my self-confidence is shaky and each interview, at the moment, feels like my only option. It's nice to be considered worthy of the job and other jobs, too.

Being asked whether I would find the position challenging enough. That's like they're acknowledging that I'm smart and capable and am up to challenges. And I was able to answer how it would, in fact, be challenging for me.

Being asked whether the starting salary would be enough for me. See above. My husband says that's just a screening question, but as long as I've been removed from the world of work for pay, I find it flattering that someone, however shallowly, thinks I'm worth more than they can pay. And I was able to assure them that social service jobs are pretty much right at that level or even lower, so yes, the salary would be fine. (Plus, State benefits! I have no benefits right now!)

No questions about a time I had a conflict at a previous job. Really, is there a good answer to that question? I've been asked that at two interviews this summer.

I don't know whether any of this means that I'm on the short list or will soon receive a Thanks Anyway letter in the mail, but it was nice to feel competent and qualified, at least for an hour.

Thoughts on the drive home: (Or, ways my brain might be preparing me to see the positive side of not getting this job.)

Will I be able to drive D1 to school if I have to be [40 minutes away] at 8 or 8:30?

Will my husband be able to get up and deal with that, as well as the two-year-old, if I can't? (No offense, Honey, it's just that you probably haven't gotten up before 10 two days in a row since you started working from home almost two years ago.)

When will I work out? Will I have to give up yoga? I just started yoga. I love it. I guess there are evening classes, but that means coming home even later. Suddenly my time at home seems very limited. And precious.

Will we be eating pizza and fast food more often? Could I do crock pot meals twice a week? Would anybody eat them?

How tired will I be at 6:30 pm for dinner, clean-up, bed-time? At 8:30 pm when the kids are finally asleep? I mean, I'm up by 7 every day anyway, but no more naps?

I'll have to pack a lunch for me as well as for D1. And D2 if we use any kind of daycare/preschool for her.

Random amusing moment:

I had my long-time hairdresser "do" my hair before the interview. My hair's at that weird stage where it's sort of long, needs to be highlighted again, and kind of just hangs there. And my hair is very fine, so attempts (by me) to put it up generally slip out and look sloppy (but not sloppy chic) or juvenile (like I'm 12, but with crow's feet!). She charged me $10, curled it and sprayed it, and if I looked a little more like my best days were in the '80's than I'd intended (or as my so-helpful spouse said as I was hurriedly getting dressed, Are you getting ready for the Prom?), it was way better than anything I could have done. And I felt pretty.

All this background to my daughter's (age 5) first question to me when I arrived home from the interview at 4:30. (She was at school during the preparation stage.) I was wearing my business skirt (pinstripe! black!), hose, heels, white blouse, and a nice jacket I've probably only worn once before. And make-up. She says:

"Mommy, why does your hair look all weird?"


1 comment:

Karen said...

For the record, I'm now at 4 days in a row before 9 AM!

-- Carlyle