February 25, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Please Bend Over

I love job interviewsalmost as much as I enjoy a fun trip to the proctologist. The interviewer grills you in detail about your history, all the while poking and prodding your most sensitive areas. Your animal instincts urge you to run away, but your rational mind reminds yourself that it's a necessary irritation. With luck, you'll stay in good "health" and won't have to do it more than once every 10 years or so.

Dating in your 30s is also like interviewing for a job. When you were in your teens or early 20s, you could get "hired" just about anywhere in any entry-level "position." Not much was expected of you, since you hadn't been out in the "workforce" for all that long. But going out on a date in your 30s is not unlike interviewing for an upper management position. The stakes are high, the competition fierce, the expectations great. Some questions you might encounter on a first date might include (slight) variations on the following:

  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Why did you decide to seek a position with this organization?
  • What are your long-range and short-range career goals and objectives?
  • What major problem have you encountered in the past, and how did you deal with it?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Are you applying for other jobs?
  • Why should I hire you?

Ah, but I digress....

At this point in my career, I've been on hundreds of job interviews (or, if that's an exaggeration, at least it feels like hundreds). In all that time, I've never come to be at ease. Most of my talents arise from more introspective sides of my personality: my creativity, my imagination, my intuition. I communicate better through the written word than I do through conversation. I probably wouldn't be a good salesman or tour guide, but that's okaythat's not where my talents lie.

Unfortunately, job interviews don't adequately assess such inward, unspoken talents. While portfolios, work samples and resumes can showcase such abilities, the job interview is still a necessary hoop through which every candidate must jump. And regrettably, these days hiring managers usually just glance over your resume during the first two minutes of the job interview; portfolios go largely ignored.

Though my work speaks for itself, I have probably been passed over for a number of jobs for which I was more than qualified. Trying to "sell myself" during the interview is a constant struggle, one which I continually try to improve upon. I may become better at it, but whenever I hear "Tell me about yourself," I'll probably still hear "Please bend over."


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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2/24: Morning Glory
2/23: Peacemongering
2/22: "Home" in the City of Angels
2/21: Capri Memories
2/20: A Man is a God in Ruins
2/19: No Man is an Island
2/18: Iraq's "Cooperation"
2/17: Failure to Communicate
2/16: Cold City
2/15: Man-Eaters of Tsavo
2/14: Valentine Gems
2/13: Grab Bag
2/12: The End is Near
2/11: And the Winner Is...
2/10: Exploration is Risky Business
2/9: Staphylococcus
2/8: Morning Cup of Kofi
2/7: Game Over
2/6: The Eagle Never Landed
2/5: Pope: Potter No Problem
2/4: Time for Another Rewrite
2/3: A Matter of Opinions
2/2: Suicidal Bravado
2/1: Godspeed, Columbia

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