Subject: RE: Interview from hell

Subject: Subject: RE: Interview from hell
From: "Wolfe, William J. CER" <w-wolfe -at- CECER -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 08:40:16 -0500

This has been a very instructive thread, thanks to all, especially to Jan,
who's written me offline to clarify her viewpoint. It's given me a lot of
food for thought.

I'd like to add a few detail that might clarify my motivation and experience

I was in a similar situation a couple of years ago, with a couple of
exceptions. I was interviewing for a head editing job at the University of
Illinois Engineering Department. (I currently work for an Army engineering
lab associated with the University.) I thought I was extremely well
qualified for the job -- at least on paper. I had even been editing theses
and dissertations from that department as government publications.
Unfortunately, I wasn't offered the job.

In my own situation, I asked some of my colleagues in the lab what they
would have done in a similar situation. I know the University is famous for
advertising jobs when they already have an applicant in mind. A couple of
people mentioned that, at that moment in the interview when they inevitably
ask, "Do you have any more questions?" -- it's fair to ask, "Do you already
have anyone else in mind?"

I did consider calling to ask if there was any overwhelming reason why I was
not selected, but decided not to, mostly because I didn't have any really
"positive" interviewers -- that this writer did mention, just one rather
stiff administrative type, and a committee of academic department heads. If
I had, I might have called, and asked -- politely and deferentially -- for
the information I needed.

When I was fresh out of college, I interviewed for a good number of teaching
positions without knowing that my university student teacher advisor had
written me an compromised recommendation (although my supervising teacher
had written me a glowing one). The advisor was on his way out of the
university, wasn't keeping office hours, and never gave me an "exit
interview" or warned me that he had reservations about my work. I
interviewed for 2 YEARS with interviewers all politely keeping this guys
confidence, letting him torpedo every job opportunity, until on guy finally
said, with one recommendation in each hand, "Hey, this guy thinks you're
great, and this guy doesn't." So I had the placement bureau take the bad
recommendation out of the file, and worked from the good recommendation and
my subsequent work -- and landed a fair job within 6 months.

As far as I'm concerned, this is about getting the information needed to
apply successfully for the desired position. Yeah, there are always
judgement calls to be made, and you don't want to offend, but ... sometimes
you gotta' ask!


From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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