Oh my good gracious, I have to be the worst interviewee on the planet. Seriously, are there people out there who actually do this well? Ay yi yi.
As you may have concluded, I just finished a job interview. Unlike last time, the actual process seemed extremely normal. Granted, when the bar for reasonable is set at not being asked about being an alien visiting from Cozoon it probably helps, but even by everyday standards, this format was fine. Then there was me.
My biggest problem is when it comes to public speaking of any kind, I don’t think quickly on my feet. It’s why I loathe litigating, or one of the reasons, and adore the research and writing aspects of practicing law. Not thinking quickly when on the spot means when I’m being hit with interview questions, it’s basically just word vomit until I’m thinking, as I’m still speaking, ‘oh my god, just make a point and shut up!!’ I do finally get around via a very meandering route to saying an actual answer. After one question, I finally stumbled onto an answer, again while I was still talking, and thought, yeah, that’s it, that’s a good response. And it might have been but for the 5,000 only marginally relevant words before it. It’s excruciating – probably more so for them than me, bless their hearts. Maybe when I leave I should be apologizing instead of saying thank you.
They probably would have gotten lost and bored with my numerous monologues if not for the constant flailing of my hands to keep them entertained. I use my hands too much when I talk anyway. Throw in the interview setting along with my nerves, and the interviewers are likely kept awake by fear they may have to dodge one of my hands at any moment. Jodi ever so helpfully suggested I sit on them next time, but doesn’t that bring to mind teenage boys watching porn or something? Although maybe it’s better to risk an odd image than accidentally assault a potential employer.
I did get one question I’ve never been asked before. The gist of it was to give an example of a time when I’ve had to answer a question or deal with a person that required me to be tactful or diplomatic. Since I didn’t think the best answer was every holiday meal with my family, I was stumped. I had a hard time coming up with an example and later I realized it’s because … um, I’m not actually very tactful. I usually either say nothing at all, which is most of the time, or I say something so hideously blunt and direct that tactful never enters the picture.
My mind was distracted with that realization when I got the next question – the classic, name your biggest strength and weakness. Now, I always answer the weakness question the same because my answer is not only accurate but also the best I’ve come up with that wasn’t so negative they’d never want to hire me. I’m not going tell that but on the strength portion, because writing is a big part of the job and I love writing and I do get compliments on it, I decided to just say that as my strength. This seemed like a good plan until about five minutes into my answer. It was then that I realized I have such a hard time actually owning that as a strength, the rambling I was doing trying to say it was probably negating any positive effect.
Jodi, who gets a blow by blow of these afterward because of my nervous energy, suggested I answer the weakness question with, “Sometimes I talk too much.” I won’t be talking too much to Jodi this evening, I can assure you …
At least the interview process wasn’t bad. They were actually very nice and I’d love to have the job. It’s not very many hours but a lot of experience in an area that would be nothing but beneficial in the long run. They promised to let everyone know by the weekend and put me out of my misery – though, they worded it more tactfully than that. A lesson I could use.