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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Interviewing & Me: The Return of the Jedi

Main Entry: light sa·ber
ˈlīt sā-bər
Function: noun

(1) A tool that can be enabled with lightning speed and holds the power of your skills, experiences, vision, career goals, personal goals, etc.

(2) A reflection of confidence, dexterity, and attunement to the (work) Force.

Yesterday I officially re-entered the land of phone interviews. How awkward! It's been 5 years since I've had to do a phone interview but I've been on the other side of the phone connection many times giving them. Since I've been at this institution I've done at least 60 phone interviews for candidates. So why did I find it so hard to be on the other side of the line?

I guess no matter how many times you've done a phone interview, the first one is always the most nerve racking. I can't recall any position that I've applied for where they were the first phone interview and I got a campus visit. Yesterday may continue that track record.

My interview yesterday was brief. Super brief. So brief that I'm not even really sure what to make of it. The interview lasted about 15 minutes - that included my questions at the end. I prepared the night before with a slew of potential questions. Tough questions. Questions that my current institution asks of its candidates. I wanted to be prepared so that my answers would flow smoothly like butter on a hot pan. I even consulted my Obi Wan Kenobi's (other professionals) for tips and reassurance! That didn't quite happen. My nerves got the best of me I think. I probably said "professional growth" a dozen times. Does that make me sound less like a Jedi? It is one of the key elements that I'm looking for in my next position. However, to be the interviewer, do you want to hear someone repeat key words? According to Yoda, “Happens to every guy sometimes this does”. I guess I've become more accustomed to much more in-depth interviews. I can honestly say that I don't think they got a good picture of who I am as a professional and didn't get a good idea of my Jedi tricks. Not in 12 minutes. Then again, maybe that's all they needed.

The brevity of this interview has caused me to question how effective I am in spitting out what I want in my next position and what my goals and skills/talents are. Sure, we could probably articulate to anyone who asks what it is we want to achieve in our careers. The question is, "Can you articulate what you want in your career on the spot with clarity and brevity while trying to be impressive?" I know I usually don't hit that clarity and brevity mark until the 2nd or 3rd interview. Impressive? I definitely love to talk about the work I do - but to do it briefly? By the time the lightsaber is on, glowing bright and I have more finesse when flippin' the switch on and off, the interview is over.

The lessons for this Jedi are these: Always have your lightsaber ready. Know what you are capable of and the power of the lightsaber. Practice, practice, practice.

"Try not. Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda

*I was inspired to write this blog by watching Director Kevin Smith guest star on Degrassi The Next Generation last night. He mentioned Star Wars - which is one of my favorite movie series.

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