Thursday, June 5, 2008


I've been on a handful of interviews since I started my job search; some on the phone, and some in person. One of the key points I mention in these interviews (about the time the interviewer asks something like "why theatre? and why are you looking for a job that isn't in the theatre?") is this:

"I grew up in a Midwestern town with 2,500 people. Growing up, there were four job choices: you could farm, you could teach, you could work at the bank, or you could work at the local Dollar General or gas station. But my hometown also had a community theatre. That was my favorite place to be, and that's what prompted me to study theatre directing.

While I was in school, of course, I started taking on administrative jobs to help pay the bills. What I found was that I was very good at this work, and in fact was more successful at it than I was at being an artistic blah-blah theatre director. The clincher came when I began working at the XYZ position for X organization, and realized that I was more interested in that work, and was spending much more time on that work, than I was on my theatre productions."

Because of my background, I find myself coming to this job search with what feels like limited information. When a staffing agent asked me "do you feel most comfortable in a small, mid-sized, or large company," I could only respond "Where I come from, everything was small! So I'm eager to try them all, and explore whatever opportunities you have for me."

In other words, the idea of "fit" was less of a concern than the idea of "getting my foot in a door."

But I've gone on a handful of interviews since I started my job search (some over the phone, some in-person) and what I've found out is that there are places where the fit feels "right," and places where the fit feels uncomfortable.

One place I interviewed with felt absolutely right; opportunities to use my skill sets, plenty of exciting challenges, interesting colleagues, etc. (I'm really-really-really hoping they hire me.)

Another place I interviewed with was such a strange fit that the HR manager said, at one point, "you know, you're coming off as extremely qualified and professional and you're giving great responses to all of these questions, but I don't feel like the person I'm talking to is really who you are."

Which is true. I spent most of the interview thinking please don't hire me, because I would be very unhappy here and then I'd have to leave the job after a year which wouldn't do your company any good.

Which is weird. I'm still in the mindset of "I should be grateful to get any job," and so realizing that I wouldn't be happy at a particular place makes me feel a little guilty.

The crux of the matter is this: I got second-round interviews at both the place I really really like (and really really really hope they hire me), and the place where I know I would be unhappy. I declined the second-round interview at the latter company, explaining that I didn't want to waste their time.

And now I'm all "OMG, what if that was the only place who would ever hire me ever and I just said no???"

That's, really, the crux of this post. ^__^

(Also: how do you get a company you really really like to be 100% sure to hire you?)

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