Part II: What I Learned From Applying for (and Turning Down) a Job Offer to be a Contract Resume Writer for a Large Job Search Website
Once upon a time, I applied for a Contract Resume Writer position with a large online job search services website that shall remain nameless.
This experience was really just a strong, first-hand rerun of things I already knew but just hadn’t had happen directly TO me in awhile. I’m so glad I did this because it turned out to be a great way to keep myself in my clients shoes, feeling what many of you may feel during the job search process.
Interviewing (and the Interview-er): What I Learned/Relearned:
** Trying to anticipate what they might want to know and ask you is again, somewhat nerve-wracking and time consuming to think about and prep for (see below about why it is still always valuable to do so, though)
** I got nervous! (and I coach people on these things, including how to deal with nervousness!)
** Interviewers don’t always know what they’re doing (or maybe, they don’t particularly care?) Possible indicators: They don’t ask you about you or your qualifications; they just talk about the job/company & what they are looking for; they ask close ended questions (vs. open ended questions or questions worded to elicit a story-example type answer from you)
** You can sometimes tell at some point during the interview whether you probably have the job or not. Possible indicators: They say at some point “We also want you to do (thus & so)” (this happened in the first 5 minutes for me, and I thought, “Oh, well that sounds like I probably have the job” – (barring me completely fouling it up) … see above “They don’t ask you about you or your qualifications”.
They spend a lot of time describing the job, company processes, etc. & not a lot on much else (again, see above about asking YOU questions about you)
** Prepping for an interview is ALWAYS valuable, even if not in the exact way you expected. For me, the time/energy spent anticipating questions that never came (and planning out my answers that were never sought) was still valuable in that it helped quell my nervousness at least. AND, if they HAD asked me any questions, I would have been more confident and clear in my replies.
** Interviewers can have casual, tricky ways to find out information they can’t legally ask you. For example, in this interview, she said “I don’t know how old you are, but in my day (etc. etc.) and I find the younger workers don’t do (thus & so) . . .
This made me wonder if she was just trying to be clear on her expectations from contractors, OR, if she wanted to see if I would offer up my age to please/reassure her that I agreed with or understood her point of view/expectation, or both . . . (I didn’t, as it wasn’t a direct question and I’m aware of these types of tactics).
Was it intentional on the part of the interviewer? There’s no way for me to know for sure, but based on my research of her ahead of time, I know she is a seasoned industry person, so I really wondered.
** Spend time in ANY type of interview noticing what you notice… What are your impressions of the company and interviewer from that discussion? How do you feel about the answers to questions you are able to ask and the information they volunteer to you about the job and company? These observations will help you later decide if it’s the right offer for you. (I write more about this in the post “Who’s Interviewing Who?”)