Thursday, April 26, 2007

Interview Freak-Out

Interview Freak-Out
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
My goodness, what an anxious letter THIS is! Let's see what this Job Seeking Reader has to say:

"Dear PeaceBang,

I'm going for a job interview this weekend and I'm freaking out mildly and I dont know what it says about my life that I keep wailing to myself 'PEACEBANG is the ONLY one who can HELLLLP' but that's the truth of hte matter.

So, what do you suggest? I need an outfit that can:
1. ride in the car for three hours
2. go to lunch at a nice-ish restaurant
3. go for a walking tour of the neighborhood and then one of the church (this second part is scheduled to last an hour! How is that possible? I'm thinking that we must be hitting the attic and the boiler room which for sure means dust...)
4. interview for 1.5 hours
5. go to dinner at someone's house

Do I wear the same thing all day? Or do I change out of travel clothes for the interview part? And then change again for the dinner after the interview? I feel like I'm going to the Oscars.

FYI: [The weather where I am going] will either be 40 degrees and raining or 70 degrees and sunny, but most likely both of these, and all the degrees in between, too.

Also, at the meals, what do I eat? Do I pull a Scarlett and have a big meal before so they don't see what a chow hound I am, and also so that I can TALK without my mouth being full?

Any wisdom you can throw my way -confidentially if it's ok as I"m job hunting on the sly more or less - would be so much appreciated."

Here's PeaceBang again, ya'll (I can't do fancy things with fonts or italics, since I'm unable to post through Blogger and am writing this through Flickr):

Well, my dear, that is indeed a doozie, and PeaceBang and her readers are *here for you.* We have ALL been there. We feel you.

First of all, if you can possibly steal a few moments to freshen up and change after your journey of three hours, do. At least spritz your face with some rose water, take a few moments alone to stretch and breathe, brush your teeth, blow your nose and apply fresh lipstick.
You'll feel ready for anything. You'll BE ready for anything!

I think a good outfit choice would be a patterned skirt (maybe an Indian print, nothing too florally-cutesy) , a classic cotton tank with some spandex in it to give it shape and dressiness factor, and a cardigan. You can leave the cardigan off on the trip so it will be fresh when you arrive. Wear a nice necklace, and keep the colors up top deep and neutral, which projects more authority and leadership than light colors (and certainly pastels!).

A nice pair of trousers with a lovely, colorful blouse and lightweight blazer would also work, just make sure your fabrics have some poly or spandex in them for wrinkle-management. Belts can also make blouses look very sharp, and a belted shirt or blouse under an open blazer is a nice look.

You might wear comfortable but nice sandals if it's not raining too hard-- not Clarkes, but something more dressy that you can still walk around comfortably in. I noticed a slew of choices at Macy's this past weekend. A really nice, substantial flat should also be fine.

Don't plan to change clothes only because your interviewing team may not have scheduled time for you to do so, and you want to feel that whatever outfit you choose can take you confidently through the entire ordeal... um, I mean, EXPERIENCE! :-)

If you do get some time alone before dinner, by all means shower, change, do whatever helps you to re-energize, but you may just get ten minutes. And wouldn't it be kinder to yourself to spend that ten minutes breathing and praying and discerning rather than scrambling into a new set of duds and worrying if things match?

If you want to change shoes for dinner, that would be nice. Sometimes I'll wear comfortable walking-around shoes at a day event and then just change my earrings and shoes for a dinner appearance.

As for eating before you eat, it's only true that you will be doing more talking and energetically reacting than actually dining. If you're hungry, there's nothing wrong with having soup or snacks beforehand on your own. Your digestion will be better for it, and so will your presence at dinner. And if you're seen picking at your food, you can always say you're too nervous to eat. Which is true! You're too nervous to eat... in front of a group of people who are interviewing you for a ministerial position! Riiight?
But honey, don't snarf down a bucket o' chicken or a big bag of Taco Bell before dinner: you'll just look puffy and you might get a grease spot on your blouse.

Seriously, though, you can always write to me (my e-mail address is always on the margins of the page, kittycats) and send photos.
This is a big occasion and we want you to feel 100% the shining star you are.

Blessings, and let us know how it goes!!
Kiss of Peace,

(P.S. Readers, the photo is random. It is not a photo of our anonymous and reverend letter writer!)


Anonymous Adam Tierney-Eliot said...

Hey, as someone who is constantly at risk of spilling, I would recommend only eating solid foods (very solid, like fruit and veg. muffins, etc) and drinking through a straw. If you are actually a coordinated person, feel free to ignore me.

I lived just fine off of brocolli and carrot sticks during my interviews, then pigged out when they were over...

10:52 AM  
Anonymous jinnis said...

I agree with Adam - solid foods without sauce or dressing is the rule of the day - and might prevent the weekend weight gain so common to interviewing.

I need to eat something with protein if I wish to have a brain during interviews. I suggest bringing Clif bars and drink lots of water. The bars are substantial enough to get me through for an hour or so until real food and I am not as tempted to scarf down the breadsticks. And they don't melt - if you get the ones without chocolate chips. Zone bars are good, too - they come in a couple of sizes, and some have a yogurt coating instead of risky chocolate.

In case of garlicky Italian food, a frequent occurrence in interviews, I like Listerine strips for breath and a roll of Tums to settle the stomach and reduce the potential for garlic breath the next day.

For clothes, I concurr with PB except that I would not have sandals, just flats. The sandals seem too casual to me for interviewing.

And go with dark clothes or accented neutrals, especially in case they show you some of the less frequented nooks and crannies of the church. But don't fret about the length of the tour - part of the point is to hear their stories and to talk about what could happen in your ministry with them. And it can be a good time for schedule adjustment in a busy day. If things go short, enjoy the chance to be unhurried with them.

If you have a few minutes in your room before dinner, a change of blouse might be just what the doctor ordered. But not more than that and shoes unless you have an hour.

Good luck!

12:17 PM  
Blogger Christine Robinson said...

Another possibility is to take some charge of the interview and ask for what you need. If it's not extreme, that shows a committee that you know yourself.
ie, (before the interview!) "Would you mind too much compressing the afternoon events just a bit so that I can have 45 minutes to gather my thoughts before dinner? I want to be at my very best for you!"

Good Luck!

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks everyone! i'll keep you posted.
No Longer As Frazzled As Yesterday But Still Grateful For Advice and Good Wishes

1:28 AM  
Blogger Sally Big Woods said...

I would say about the clothing: wear clothes with some synthetic materials in them - they travel MUCH better. I have some great pants from Ann Taylor in black and brown. Shirt could be pattered w/dark color to go w/dark color pants, and a jacket, but not a sever jacket? I'm not a minister, but, I think a vaguely suit-structured outfit is good for most interview occasions.

I agree with the no sandals admonition.

Church tours can be invaluable - listen to the stories - they will speak volumes about the speaker and the congregation.

I'm curious to hear how it went, and am sending you positive thoughts!

4:59 PM  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

Good luck! Your sisters(and brothers) are rooting for you. I agree with Adam re: the spilling. I inevitably spill when it's least appropriate. But do bring protein. I find cubes of hard cheese work (unless you are a vegan) and also nuts travel even better. Almonds are especially good, and good for you. (But sometimes you have to floss your teeth after these snacks -- still, it beats a spill on the front of the blouse.) Yogurt in the hotel room while you're still in your undies is good too, and it settles the nervous stomach and has all those good bacilli :-).

10:45 PM  

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