Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Interview. Film at 11

I had a Job interview last Tuesday. 

I haven't done well with interviews in the past few years. 

The job is in my field: Education, and is in a corporate setting.

I was really worried about the interview, as I'm on a losing streak.  I had lots of negativity.  My therapist suggested I "be Sophie" in the interview.  I replied "I'm always Sophie."  She meant that I could tap into the confidence I show when I'm out and about as a woman.  Easier said than done.

My initial idea for helping this along was to wear pantyhose under my suit.  As I had to work at my retail job before the interview, I wore them to work.  I was really busy resetting displays, and was sweating.  When I changed into my suit, I removed the hose. 

On to Plan B.  Instead of my drab navy blue guy suit, I imagined I was wearing my gray skirt suit that I love so much.  That really helped.

Would You hire me?

I entered the building and quickly found the office where the interview was conducted.  The interview was "assessment style" which means I had to develop a piece of instruction from scratch.  Three others were doing the same.  One of the other applicants worked for the company previously and left to raise kids, and she was really sharp (I'll call her "the Mom.")

We were required to use a laptop computer.  As I don't own one (I'm poor), they loaned me one.  We would have an hour to throw something together, them we were to present our ideas to the other interviewees, and to two "high up the food chain" types.  The presentation was to be done on power point.

We were given the test parameters.  We were to create Business Etiquette training for two hundred new salespeople at a major pharmaceutical corporation.  Last minute questions were answered and we all went to work...

... and my borrowed laptop didn't work.

An IT person came in and worked on it.  I started outlining my learning objectives and sketching out ideas for storyboards.

In the end, I lost 15 minutes of work time.  The person in charge said that my difficulty wouldn't be held against me.

We presented our pieces (and defended the methodology) were then peer reviewed by the other applicants and two higher up the food chain designers (to be referred to as "BC1" and "BC2") (Oh, BC mans "Big Cheese" in this case.) (Hey, I'm writing this- you're not.)  Both are in my line of work, and hold the same masters degree I do.

As my second job is at a World Class University, I keep abreast of the latest theories in my chosen profession.  Go figure- this sort of thing fascinates me.  I'll get back to this.

Time ran out, and while I had something to present, I was worried that it wouldn't be enough.  The one guy ("the Guy") in the interview group did his presentation first.  He was an OK speaker, and based his entire presentation on humor.  "BC1"hated the idea of using so much humor, and cited some studies about humor use in training. 

The second person to present was "the Mom."  Her report was crisp, and her presentation skills were impressive.  Her slide style was really good.  I was seriously out-classed. And she was wearing a beautiful navy pantsuit with a white silk blouse.  Great outfit!

I went third. 

I started by pointing out that the target audience were Salespeople (who I have experience training) and that as a general guideline, they are Type A people who will think they know more about the topic than any training program.  They tend to be very self confident (and would be useless as salespeople otherwise) and very driven.  None of my competitors mentioned any analysis of the learners. 

Ok, so I'd be doing a training about soft skills as a Computer Based training.  That's pretty much a "shouldn't happen" as soft skills are better taught with guided practice.  I told the BCs this and said that I'd be using a DIFFERENT theory as the basis of my presentation.  I named the theory, the person who created it, and the university where he works.  My competitors had blank looks on their faces, but the BCs smiled and nodded in agreement.  They knew what I was saying!

Yes, I played the "I know more than you do" card.

Me got book lernin

I then described my idea, and went through my slides.  My competitors reviewed my work, then the BCs did.  BC1 said "Obviously you are thoroughly grounded in theory, which is really good!'  They had a few questions about why I used the theory I did, and some other questions . 

 The fourth person, well... she was, um.. well dressed.

I think I did well, but Mom really rocked it.  objectively, if I were doing the hiring, I'd hire her over me.

So it was no surprise this afternoon when I received a call from the company saying "We're going in a different direction than your skill set' which is code for "you suck."

C'est la Vie.

Next week is the Keystone Conference.  I'm counting the hours...



  1. I cannot speak for the other 57 followers but as I was reading this post I was really rooting for you.
    Cattle calls like the one you went through are rough. The judging is on objective and subjective criteria. Perhaps on both counts "Mom" was a superstar. Additionally, since she had a prior work stint with the company I am sure they had access to her old personnel file and could talk to folks who remember her. I think you are a bit harsh equating their turn down notice as "you suck".


    Of course, based on your report I would be pissed if they picked one of the other two candidates....but that is just me.

  2. I think it was more of a "someone else was even better" than a "you suck." Since she had a history with the company, they may have intended to hire her from the start, but were required to hold other interviews based on company or legal policy.