Sunday, November 04, 2007

Friday Five on Sunday!!

Special Edition! Only two days late!

Mother Laura’s Friday Five on interviews…. (yes, I’m running behind this week)

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?
This one’s easy. My final interview before being sent to the conference’s three-day ordination interview (technically, consecration interview, since it was for probationary elder status). It took place at 10 am on Wednesday, September 12, 2001, near Washington, D.C. Needless to say, neither myself nor any member of the district committee on ordained ministry was in a fit state to decide my future. Nonetheless, we forged ahead, calling on the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance and comfort—many of us had friends in the Pentagon.

The worst ones ever have been two of my ordination interviews. Nerve-wracking, with questions that I knew I had to answer honestly even though the answers weren’t what the interviewers wanted to hear (and they weren’t wrong answers, just not “politically correct” according the mores of the denomination), and in one case, over three days, and in a group of four, with my fellow interviewees there to hear my questions and responses (as I was to hear theirs). As a friend said, three of the four most stressful days of my life.

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?

Oh yes, mostly for jobs. Definitely a creampuff, although I don’t hesitate to ask the difficult questions (“You stated in your letter of application that you’re planning to open a gift store in the near future. How do you plan to work that around the 20 hours you’ll be working for the church?”).

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?
More nervous. I’m very bad at recognising different voice over the phone, and the distortion of speaker phones makes it even worse. Plus, as others have said, you can’t get those body language cues.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?
The best was to have three or four questions prepared to ask the interviewers—not about benefits or the company cafeteria, but substantive questions about the work I’d be doing, the make-up of the congregation, per-capita giving, community involvement, etc.

The worst was when I was told the interview was a “formality” and I didn’t really need to prepare for it. HAH! It was not a formality and I should have prepared for it. I did OK, but still.

It wasn’t asked, but the saddest/most confusing advice I got was to wear slacks for an ordination interview, so that I would be taken seriously as a fully out LGBT woman. The mind boggles.

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?

Read my responses to the paperwork (because that’s where their questions will probably come from), pray, imagine the worst possible questions they could ask and how I would answer, and breathe. Oh, and use the washroom about three times.

1 comment:

Reverend Dona Quixote said...

Jeez, RP, what a horrible date and time for such an important interview. But OTOH a sign of hope that life goes on.

Clarence Darrow--Beyond Scopes and Leopold & Loeb

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