As the search continues to find employment in this fine city, the phone interview continues to challenge the spirit.  I suppose a healthy dose of self-criticism is good for continual personal development, but the phone interview has always been one of the most challenging aspects of the job searching process for me.  I can feel really good in a phone interview up to a point and then there is always a question or two that surprises me to the point of my brain just turning off temporarily.  And, of course, you never have the time to hit the mental reset button so you do your best to push through with some semblance of an acceptable answer.  Today I had a phone interview and there were two questions that threw me.  And they weren't complicated questions, but in the realm of questions that may have been asked they did not pop up into my head beforehand.

The first question was, "What do you think when you hear the phrase 'the customer is always right'"?  The first thing that popped into my head was I don't really think much of it at all.  Then I thought I certainly can't say that.  So I flubbed my way through the question by saying something to the effect of that it depends on the situation and the customer should always receive what they expect.  Mediocre answer at best.  This question has stuck in my head and I keep answering it over and over again.  The things that keep popping up in my ever changing answer are that when the quality of service or product is matches expectation, then that phrase doesn't need consideration.  When you put in your best effort to match quality with expectation then the customer is always right because they are getting what they expect.  Yeah, that would have been a better answer.  Oh well.

The second question was, "how do you define success?"  When I'm not thinking about the above question, this is the question I keep answering over and over again.  My answer wasn't horrible but I could have elaborated on it more clearly to round it out.  I said that I define success in satisfaction.  And success comes in different sizes.  I mentioned successfully recreating a Julia Child recipe (which can be a lot more challenging that you might think) but also dealing with a disgruntled student who doesn't understand why the expectations she set for her teammates have resulted in her doing the brunt of the work at the end of the semester.  I wish I had included in my answer that when you know you've done your best and you've obtained the intended results while feeling good about it, that is satisfaction...that is success.  

By then end of the day I'll have completely re-answered these questions, perhaps thinking about it from a different perspective.  And should I have another phone interview, or even an in-person interview, I'll have a better mental hold on how to answer similar questions.  After learning more about the company from the interview, I would really love to work there, but if it doesn't work out then the right job will come along....and hopefully sooner rather than later.

Good luck to all you fellow job hunters and stay strong!
5/14/2013 09:53:15 am

I freaking HATE job interviews. They ask the lamest questions and are usually so open ended that you are never quite sure what they are looking for... but you can bet your ass on one thing, they are not looking for what you really think or the truth. They want some stupid pat company answer or a clever trendy idea. Same with resumes. God help you if you're original.

Good luck. You're doing God's work! :-p I heard this interview on NPR about how job hunting these days can be a demoralizing process. Doesn't sound like your at that point. Good for you!


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