2.07.2009

Job Interview Recap

It's 7:43am on Saturday and here I am providing the internet with a recap of yesterday's big job interview. I'd rather be sleeping, but when you hear your dog wretching repeatedly in her crate at 6:50am and you went to bed at 9:30pm the night before, it's sort of hard to get back to sleep.

So here goes. Yesterday, I had the biggest interview of my life. I interviewed for a Research Assistant/Paralegal position. This is a for real job that requires me use my brain! and skills! and paralegal certificate! It came at the perfect time - before I knew if I could stay on in the Governor's Office and after I had gotten the good ole Lexapro into my system. I applied and had a few things on my side that made me feel confident that I could get an interview at the very least. Prior experience at this agency, a paralegal certificate, and a pretty good grasp on all things state/local/federal government. At least to the extent that I could carry on converstations with people in the know and at the same time continue to learn loads.

I was invited for an interview and scheduled it for a Friday. I was sent a packet of information in the mail including information on what the division was responsible for and a little bit of information on each staff member. I was asked to come in one hour before my interview time to do a writing sample and after that would be meeting with 6 staff plus the interim director for a one hour interview. I was immediately freaking out after reading this information and knew the day would be a challenge to get through. I used to never get nervous for interviews mostly because I knew all I could do was present myself and if I wasn't who they were looking for then I was fine with that. I understand that companies need people that can do what they need done and if I'm not the person for the job, I'm just not and I have always been OK with that (not to say I've not had my heart broken to pieces before, but still).

So I show up, Xanax in my system, and I get started on my writing sample. Turns out it wasn't that hard and I had to write a memo based on a hypothetical situation. I was given an hour to do this and probably finished in about 30 minutes. I was back in an office by myself and it had WINDOWS! and I think that gave me time to focus on something else other than my nerves. I had hoped all along that the writing time would do just that - help me ease into the interview and shake the nerves off. I was so thankful that it happened. Before leaving the room for the real interview part, I took another half Xanax and whether or not it was the key to helping me stay calm or not, I don't know and I don't care. I just wanted to feel normal for the interview.

I was taken to a large conference room where 6 people were waiting for me and stood upon my entry (how nice!). I shook all their hands and introduced myself to them. I knew one of them from my previous time with the agency, so it was nice to see a familiar face and know that someone was here who know a bit about my work ethic even if it was in a completely different context than what this job called for. The first part of the interview consisted of your basic questions regarding work history, why I chose to do certain things, why am I interested in this job, what are my strengths/weaknesses, etc. I felt like I did well in that part. The second half - they threw a bunch of hypothetical situations at me. I was honest and myself about each answer and while I'm sure there are WRONG answers to the questions, I don't think I gave any. There are far too many to really detail, but from my answers I couldn't get a good reading on whether or not they thought I'd be a good fit for the job. Luckily for me, I have prior experience with the kinds of folks I'd be working with and for, and I have a good track record. They can't ignore that and certainly, it has to be a leg up on my competition who may or may not ever worked around elected officials.

Overall, I think my interview went very well. I was calm, at ease, confident, and I made them laugh a few times. I think I came across as a real person and not too stiff and serious. I was, after all, interviewing with a bunch of attorneys and they can be a colorful bunch. I enjoyed meeting each of them and hope I get offered a position. There are 2 open slots for this same job so that at least doubles my chances. I think this could open a lot of doors for me and I could take this experience anywhere should we ever leave NC (which I doubt, but you never know).

I'll update when I know more!

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