Playing it Cool When Clueless

Survived a most dreadful interview.

Now I wait.

I hate waiting.

Really hate waiting.

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First my interview was pushed back several times. The manager kept having other things come up all day and asking me to wait. I told her I ad to leave at 6pm, and she finally called me at 5:40 pm. She made it my decision to have the interview and be late to my non-profit volunteer board meeting, or to ask her to reschedule and go through this waiting again. I quickly decided to be late to my other meeting and keep her on the phone. (I work remotely, many states away from corporate office, so did not meet in person)

So, a little distressed at the waiting (I really hate waiting) all day, and then the interview was not what I expected and I was completely unprepared. The Manager that interviewed me knows me. We’ve worked together for years, so I was shocked when she turned into the Ice Queen for the interview. I was expecting a pleasant discussion, some give and take. But she gave me nothing.

And the questions, fired at me military style, were so vague and text book that each one caused me mental pain.

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Manager: What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?

Me: (Really? We’re starting with that? OK, I’ll play along) Intuitive – I  learn quickly and assess new situations to catch on to old processes while looking forward to future improvements too (Intolerant of pointless questions), Flexible – I can readily adapt my framework, schedule, and goals to meet the company’s bottom line or current priority, (brilliant, amazing . . .), Professional – I have a knack for diffusing difficult or tricky situations and making all involved feel satisified. (There. Can we move on to something real now?)

Manager: What 3 words do you think your current supervisor would use to describe you?

Me: (Another pointless question? Why are you doing this? Go and ask my supervisor) I think she would say I’m responsible, as she always says she gives me the tasks and she knows they will get done. Creative – She always comes to me for brainstorming solutions to current problems. Diplomatic – She tends to give me the difficult tasks and contracts that need handled with extra care.

Manager: Describe you current supervisor’s style of management.

Me: (No feedback? No discussion? Nothing for me to go on? Why aren’t we discussing current projects and goals like we did in last week’s meeting together, face to face? What do you want from me? How does any of this prove I can or can not do this job?) My current supervisor does a great job of knowing the strengths of everyone on her team, and delegating tasks to those she can trust with minimal followup. She keeps us focused on the current goals, but also helps us keep an eye on the future demands. She is professional yet approachable.

Manager: How would your supervisory style contrast to hers?

Me: (Wow, good one. Ask me to describe how I would do a job I have never done.) I have learned a great deal about management from my current supervisor and would likely use a similar style, however, I would add in a more personal/emotional component. When leading my smaller teams, I have been able to increase morale and build team efforts through regular check-ins, providing support, providing forums for discussion, and using positive metrics to show how goals are met.

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This went on for an hour. I kept talking more and more to fill the dear air, and felt so uncomfortable and ready to hang up. She never said anything about what I said. Not even, “I see” or “Thanks”. Just stonily, icily stated each question and paused in between as she wrote her notes.

So now I wait for a call back for the second round of interviews.

And I really hate waiting.

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9 thoughts on “Playing it Cool When Clueless

  1. Sounds like she had a script to follow. I suppose it works when comparing applicants. I think your answers were awesome. Not that it counts for anything. I hate waiting, too.

    • Well, add a few more ‘umms’, and ‘ya know’s into those very clear answers, but I think I did well. Just without seeing her body language over the phone, and such a cool icy tone, I had no idea if I should elaborate or cut it short and was sweating by the end of the hour for pulling so many answers out of thin air. Will prepare a bit if I get to the 2nd interview.

  2. Sounds like an awful experience. One thing I always like to remember when I go for interviews or conduct them: it’s as much an opportunity to assess whether the employer is a good fit for you as it is their opportunity to assess your suitability for them. I’ve certainly dodged a bullet or two with poor interviewers and have declined a couple of positions based on the fact that I didn’t think I would be happy working with them. Sometimes a bad interview is a good sign that the fit is wrong for you both.

    Best of luck and I’m sure you’ll come to an outcome that’s ultimatey good for you either way. Thanks for the link, too 😉

    • Thanks for the input! Yes, I have definitely been thinking if this is a good fit for me, and for my family. If I didn’t have to think of how it affects my kids, I’d jump on this in a second and be much more aggressive. But I’m proceeding carefully right now to see if that bullet is coming.

  3. My perspective…when I did interviews for a university, I was required to use the exact same lists of questions with each interview. I was strongly suggested not to make it ‘easier’ for people I knew well that were applying. I felt awful doing the interviews. One of the many reasons I stepped down from management. I always think that there should be some sort of music playing in the background like a game show while you wait. I hope the waiting doesn’t take too long.

    • I have sat in on interviews with my current supervisor and helped her make choices. Her interviews were more like discussions, and focused on what the interviewee has done in our company. We also used the same questions, but did not deliver them in a cold, script manner. Yesterday that game show music was going in my head, but today I am settling back into life and able not to obsess about it.

  4. Pingback: I feel like the baby they took the candy from | Roots to Blossom

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