Insider Interviews

I’ve had quite a few jobs in my young life–partly because I was a student for a good chunk of that, and ended up with a lot of seasonal jobs, and partly because I am always wanting to try out new things.

As you might figure with one who’s had over ten jobs in less than a decade, I’ve had about 3 times as many interviews. I’ve had wonderful interviews, weird interviews, mediocre ones, and terrible ones.

One interviewer said, at first glance, “You don’t look very outdoorsy,” which should have been a clue about what kind of boss he would be–it was an interview after all, so I pulled out all the stops, my red trench coat and brown boots included, even though it was for an outdoors magazine. (I did end up writing for him for a time, and still freelance for them occasionally, so the rest of the interview wasn’t awful, despite the fact, being a novice writer, I hadn’t thought to bring any writing samples. So at least I learned to bring those samples, and to take into account your audience before dressing for an interview).

I’ve also had an interview where the manager angrily interrupted everything I said; yet another where the boss mentioned he’d already met the person he wanted to hire, but his secretary forgot to cancel the rest of his interviews (which he neglected to mention until the interview was over…nice). One interview recently, which I thought went well, ended with the secretary hastily (and quite rudely) hanging up on me when I called later to inquire. Another recent interview, a job I didn’t want but had been convinced to interview for as it’s “good practice” ended with me shame-facedly saying I didn’t want the job, after it was offered to me within five minutes of my arrival.

Lately, I’ve had a million phone interviews, which to me, have pros and cons. For the pro column, I can pace my room and wear my pajamas (although quite a few people I’ve talked to dress up for phone interviews to get in the mindset, but I still prefer my jammies) but a major con is that I’m so much more charming face-to-face. Not that I can’t charm over the phone, but for some weird reason I always have better interviews over the phone with women than with men. Maybe men just aren’t as comfortable on the phone…or maybe my laugh just doesn’t tinkle through the line as prettily as I imagine, and fellow females can overlook that. One of the men also unfortunately heard my mother repeating “fun, fun, FUN!” in the background when she thought I was describing myself, and in actuality I was describing my ideal supervisor. I’m not sure the he knew what to think of a random voice hissing loudly in the background…another definite downside of phone interviews, especially when you live with my mother, who has zero respect for closed doors.

Speaking of fun, my latest interview–just taking place today, for a job in my home town I actually would enjoy–was a new experience for me. I was interviewed by four women who worked there, one of whom informed me it was “the funnest interview they’d ever had.” (No, I didn’t correct her grammar, although I desperately wanted to–it’s a compulsion).

It is a compliment, of which I am very grateful for (it’s nice to be fun after I spent many of my adolescent years painfully shy–I guess traveling has beaten that out of me) but I’m not sure what this means for the job. It’s a coveted position–over 200 applicants–and I don’t have specific experience, just the general variety, so I’m not sure what kind of chance I have. And I’m don’t know if “fun” is an adjective many would use to describe their ideal receptionist (even one at an animal hospital), but when I think about it, that’s really the only kind of receptionist I would want to be, anyway.