Saturday, November 17, 2012

And what did you do this week?...

I'm just coming off a very busy week. Four out of the past five days I've been either doing volunteer work at Central Valley Professionals (which I've referred to here before) or finishing up preparing the proofreading workshop I presented at CVP on
Wednesday. It's been a fun few days, working on the workshop, presenting the workshop, and then participating in two days of practice interviews for the new members of CVP who just did the week-long seminar that CVP offers every month.

What we on the Interview Committee do with the practice interviews is provide a panel of three or four interviewers for each seminar participant so that they can get a feel for what will be coming up as they apply for and interview for jobs in the real world. We have a series of eleven sort of generic, frequently asked questions that tend to appear in job interviews. Then we give them feedback on the things they did and said during the interview that went well and on the things they might need to improve on. All of this is put on a video card and then transferred to a thumb drive for each interviewee so that they can go back and watch their interview and the feedback and work on the parts of the interview that didn't go so well.

This isn't the only practice CVP members get interviewing, however. After the initial practice interview, if a member has an interview coming up that they are worried about, they can get in touch with the chair of the committee and ask for a practice interview focused in on the job they are applying for. The chair gets a panel together and interviews the job-seeker to get them ready for that specific interview.

Yesterday, we had the rare experience of interviewing a new member for the first time with the goal of preparing her for a real interview she had later in the morning. So, we were able to tailor her practice interview for her upcoming interview. I don't know if she got the job, but she did come back by CVP after she finished and I hear that she felt good about the real interview and that she felt that our practice interview had helped get her ready for the real thing.

Some people, of course, choose not to take advantage of the practice interview.

I was almost one of those people when I did the seminar in June. It had been at least fifteen years since my last job interview, what with going to school, then taking care of my mother, and then having a job sort of fall into my lap without having to apply for it or interview for it. Furthermore, I hadn't liked interviewing when I had to do it and I was afraid to try it again. But, I took a deep breath and went through the process. I am very glad that I did. It went better than I had expected it would. That alone gave me more confidence in my ability to interview and not make a blubbering fool of myself.

It also put me more at ease about being assigned to the Interview Committee, something that I was skeptical about when we received our assignments in seminar. I wasn't sure that being on that committee was going to really benefit me, or be much fun. I wanted to get involved in something that seemed more active - like the committee that puts on seminar every month, or the Resume Committee, which gives the same kind of help to CVP members on their resumes that the Interview Committee does with interviewing. I figured that Resume would be a natural for me as a writer.

I'm happy where I am now, though, as long as I haven't found a job yet. I can help others in my position, looking for a job, and I can improve my own interview skills while I interview others. I'm on the Interview Techniques subcommittee, which means helping write workshops and training classes about different approaches to interviewing for jobs. I am also helping the Desk Coordinator out, doing things like making sure that materials are in order for our part of seminar and for practice interview days. It is all keeping my quite busy.

I'll be happier still when I've found a job of my own, of course, but until then I at least feel like I'm doing something other than just carrying out the daily (and so far unsuccessful) job search that gets more frustrating by the day.

I guess I should consider myself lucky, though. I've only been looking for a job for just short of a year. There are others at CVP, skilled, competent professionals, who have have been looking for far longer than that.

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