So you’ve turned in your impressive resume and someone has called you for an interview. Seriously? They called you? Wow . . . uh, well, anyway, there are certain things you must know before you interview for a job.
First off, anyone who told you that looks aren’t everything never had a job interview. First impressions are key to snagging that job. You don’t want to go into a job interview wearing something really stupid, like anything worn in the 80’s, or you’ll be judged before you can begin! No, you want something conservative, yet striking, something that says you are doing them a favor by applying at this measly little job. Try having money sticking out of every pocket to show how successful you are. Since you are obviously broke, you can either steal it (another career path right there!) or use monopoly money. You won’t fail to make an impression!
So you’ve got the right look. Now you’re ready for the interview. Don’t be late, that looks bad. Show up as early as possible, like the day before. Do not break eye contact with your future interviewer until he invites you into his office (or has you escorted out). Use a firm handshake (a few broken fingers shows you are serious). After your interviewer has recovered, he – or possibly he and a committee of people if you’re lucky – will start asking you questions. So that you can be prepared, here’s some sample questions and answers.
Common Questions and Answers
Tell me something about you.
I’m the tallest midget in the world.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
My greatest strength is my ability to sniff out evil. My greatest weakness is Kryptonite. Hey, what’s that paperweight made out of?
What was your last job?
What did you like least about your last job?
All that working stuff. What a pain. Also my boss was Satan.
Why should we hire you?
I kidnapped your cat. (Show a picture for proof)
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Right where you’re sittin’, buddy. (grin widely)
What are your goals?
I hope to one day fit an entire bag of red hots in my mouth. Also, I would like to fly. Without a plane.
What would be your ideal working environment?
A bathtub filled with Jello.
How would a friend describe you?
As a saint – why? Did one of them say something? Who was it? (crack knuckles)
What type of salary do you expect?
Eleventy billion dollars. A day. Or whatever Oprah makes.
Describe a problem you’ve had, and how you solved it.
I once had this dead body to dispose of, and I didn’t know where to put it. So I just stuck him in the meat grinder. You don’t eat at Taco Bell, do you?
What type of person would you feel most comfortable working with?
Myself. Except when the voices start arguing. That’s annoying.
Is there anyone you could not work with?
Anyone who watches Toddlers and Tiaras. Also, Hobbits. Their hairy feet freak me out.
It is important to remember that interview questions are designed to test how well you react under pressure. They are also designed for the amusement of managers. The success of certain questions is measured in the amount of sweat around an applicant’s armpits. But don’t worry. Eventually you are going to get that job, because you have what it takes. You’re determined, persistent, unavoidable. And you have the manager’s cat.
Hang in there! You’re sure to snag a thrilling job soon!
New Years Eve post – Resolutions are easier if you set standards low. Really low. (12/01/01)
Job Search Fun – I try for a new job at my old job (12/01/26)
Not sure what happened here. Maybe I slept.
The Big Red Atomic Dog – I start writing reviews of awful Children’s TV. In this one, I ponder how Clifford got so big (12/03/30)
Woman at the Well – I retell a random Bible story. Badly. (12/04/20)
Time Management! – This won’t help you. (12/05/07)
View from a Trampoline – I figure out I’m not 12 anymore (12/06/11)
You Suck: Helpful Advice for Writers – I dispense learnings from my writing class. (12/07/18)
Penguin’s Progress – How things don’t get done at a university or why I stay with my old job. My first post after my switch from blogger to WordPress– (2012/07/30)
50 Shades of Beating a Dead Horse – I decide to recap the 50 Shades series despite countless warnings and many others beating me to it. I am an idiot. (2012/08/06)
More 50SoG? Yes, No, Who invited you to the party? – I ponder whether to continue the series. And I give 50 SoG the psychopath test. Guess who passes with flying colors???? (2012/08/20)
50SoG Interviews Taylor: I start interviewing 50 Shades fictional characters. Speaker 7, her mind clearly blown by her recaps, links to me and I get semi-famous! (12/8/22)
Your Weekly Horoscope – I make up horoscope readings. I am still getting hits from people wanting actual readings. (12/09/07)
The Cool Table – my first post on Canvas of the Minds. (12/09/09)
Queen of the Mucus People – beginning of my series “Fun with Lung Disease” (12/09/30)
Curious Alice Visits the Hospital Part One – Pneumonia sucks. (12/10/02)
50 Shades Flunked: Back to School – I grade E.L. James on her third book. Not pretty. (12/10/15)
An Alice Halloween Special – Worship the Great Pumpkin at the patch of your choice. (12/10/31)
The Seneca Scourge by Carrie Rubin: A Review – There are still good books out there, you guys. (12/11/02)
My Hurricane Post (12/11/04) – My totally unhelpful reflection on Hurricane Sandy
Alice’s Inspiring Movember Post (12/11/06) – There’s a picture of male anatomy and a pumpkin with a mustache.
Alice’s Thanksgiving Special (12/11/22) – Pilgrims, Indians, Turkey, and Smallpox
Alice’s Press Release Blurbs (12/11/18) – You like me! You really like me!
Twilight Movie Recap Part One (12/11/30) – I review Twilight with my darling, snark-filled children.
Alice’s Letter to Santa (12/12/12) – Alice starts her blackmail campaign against Santa.
Alice’s Christmas Special (12/12/25) The story of Jesus and Santa.Wow, what a trip down that rabbit hole of memory lanes. Clearly, so much happened in 2012, as revealed in those blog posts that I’m sure you clicked on instead of skipping to the bottom. Like I applied for a job and got pneumonia and reviewed a bunch of awful books. Oh, and there was a hurricane. Let no one say Alice does not have a handle on news we can all appreciate. Or something. Make way for 2013.
Back in January, my loyal readers – all like two of you – might remember me mentioning that I was applying for another job in the library. Specifically, I was applying to be an official librarian – a reference librarian. So I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat wondering if I got it. The answer is no, I didn’t, but not because I was rejected. I rejected the process.
Because, you see, we just now found our candidates. In July. Seriously. Last summer, we lost a librarian, and another moved to a higher position. So two candidates needed. 75 people applied. Again, seriously! I’m thinking these people must not have realized where we are. They probably got confused and thought we were one of those big universities with money and stuff, located in a city with people and entertainment and not so many cows.
So I was a bit daunted by this, but what the heck, I could hack it. But time at a university moves like a penguin. If you’ve ever watched these birds, you know they aren’t exactly speed demons. They waddle, and spend lots of time huddling together. That’s what happens here too. We’ve needed these two positions filled since last July. For six months the position was “frozen” (like a penguin homeland) until they decided to open it again. But that was just the beginning. They then had to come up with a job description. And post it. And wait for applications. And cry when they realized that by leaving the position open for an extra weekend, the number went from 55 to 75 applicants. Which just goes to show how bad our economy really is.
The position, while a huge raise for me, is not what most would consider highly paid. But the little addition of “salary commiserate upon experience” doesn’t exactly tell people “Even public school teachers are paid better than this.” With all these candidates, I figured they’d find some scientific way to eliminate people, like say all candidates with names starting with M. But no, it is required that every single application be reviewed and assigned a numerical score. Every. Single. One.
No one person could do this without losing all mental faculties. So a committee is formed (remember the huddle?) of seven people, only one of whom is not on staff. So this means about half the staff was involved in the hiring process. Of two people. Who will make less money than a public school teacher. But it’s not about the money. It’s about the prestige that a title like “librarian” brings with it. I mean, sure, you could be a lawyer making six figures, but if you’re a librarian, you still get to do research, only you make a tenth of the salary. Awesome!
As time dragged on, I felt my stress-o-meter go up. I filled in at this position since they were short handed, and to give myself experience. Unfortunately, this experience showed me that not only is this a rather difficult job, it is also extremely annoying. I’ve done reference work before, but not with university students. It turns out that university students have a lot of questions. And they will come up and ask you for help with everything. You might help twenty people in an hour. And the questions range from “Where is the bathroom?” to the more complex “Why is the computer melting?” Let’s not forget the phone either, which you’re expected to answer. Upstairs, at my regular position, most of my phone calls come from people trying to reach somebody else.
It’s tough when you’re sitting at a desk that is literally labeled “Reference” and you know absolutely nothing. They’ll ask you lots of homework questions, and after a while, you’re willing to just do their homework, because you have no idea how to explain it. That is, if you understand how to do their homework. One student I helped was an ESL student working on law, which meant I had to try and translate two different languages. My brain was pudding by the end of that session. And then there’s the issues with the computers and printers. The I.T. people downstairs have locked us out of most computer stuff, for good reason I’m sure, but unfortunately this keeps us from being able to access things we need, like the ability to put a travel drive into the computer. You have to call them when a student needs to use a travel drive to upload their homework. Every. Single. Time. I’m pretty sure most of I.T. assumes we’re all brain dead, although they are usually polite enough not to tell us so.
I’m not a real people person. I am what you call “introverted” which translates to “nerd”. It’s not that I hate all people, just most people. More than once, when a student came to me with a question I wanted to ask, “What???” Sometimes I would work on my Jedi mind powers, trying in vain to direct the students away from me with my mind. “You do not have a question. You want to return to your dorm . . .”
So anyway, this experience combined with the length and stress of the application process, caused me to change my mind. And just in time. We finally brought two people to campus to interview, and only one ran away screaming once she realized where we were. Luckily, the next candidate we interviewed decided to come. I’m not sure what they told her, but it had to be pretty good. In a funny twist of fate, one of our new reference librarians has the same name I do. So it’s like another me got the position, only this me is younger and more accomplished! Yay!
Seriously, I wish our two new people well. Maybe in a few years I’ll be ready for that step up. For now, I’ll waddle back to my safe little cubby in Special Collections. Which turns out to be more special than I ever realized.