And I Thought I Was Done With Exams

April 27, 2010 at 2:51 AM (Musings, work) (, , )

Here I am, approaching my one-year anniversary of being out of school, and I’m studying – nay, cramming even – and it’s for a test more nerve-wracking than any exam I ever encountered while in school.

The job interview.interrogation chair no pressure

I’ve given presentations in school. I’ve sung in public.  I’ve dealt with crises during ballroom competitions with my name attached to them.  I’ve driven with my mom in the car.  I’ve wrestled with rabid boars (okay, maybe they weren’t necessarily rabid).  Nothing has made my palms sweat as much as convincing someone with the power to provide me with a salary to add me to payroll.

It’s not that I’m not a qualified candidate – or if I’m not, it’s not that I can’t learn the skills to be that candidate quickly enough.  It’s not even so much that there may be better qualified candidates.  It’s the quite feasible possibility that the interviewer is going to ask me something I can’t even pretend to answer.

“Oh, Brittany,” you try to assure me, “how likely do you think that actually is?”

Likely enough that it’s happened to me before, that’s how likely.  And to call it a humbling experience is an understatement.

Not too terribly long ago, I applied for a crisis management position.  I thought I had a pretty solid handle of things: I was familiar with the agency, I knew someone who worked there, and I seemed to be saying the right things more often than not . . . until the Toyota question.

For those of you who are like I once was and know absolutely nothing about the Toyota crisis, the company had several vehicle malfunctions, some of which were responsible for some fatal outcomes.  Aside from having to deal with a massive recall, Toyota failed to report crucial imperfections immediately to the public, and has seemingly only offered updates grudgingly.  In addition to bad products, Toyota also lagged in customer service during the recall.  A friend of mine told me about the gauntlet she ran through when her Toyota lease was one of the models recalled.  She wrapped up her tale by swearing she’d never buy or lease from Toyota again.

Anyhoo, back to my story that has since scarred me.  I was three people into my interview when my interviewer asked me point-blank, “So what are your thoughts on the Toyota crisis?”

Insert cricket noises and the eyes of a deer caught in headlights.  I was done.  She could have held a gun to my head and asked the same question and I wouldn’t be blogging right now.  There was nothing I could do but apologise and tell her that I knew nothing of it.  It was my own fault for not studying the industry as a whole as well as the agency itself.  While I don’t think my Toyota ignorance is what cost me the position, I’m sure it didn’t save me anything.

Tomorrow I’m interviewing for a much broader position, and I know that I can’t possibly learn everything taking place in the industry at current.  However, I’m covering as much as I can and keeping my fingers crossed with my chin up.

Tonight’s Tunes
Abbey Road, The Beatles

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