Friday, November 2, 2007
Interviewing, Friday Five
Revgalsblogpals, a blog of women clergy that I follow has a ‘Friday Five' each week. They are usually fun to play. This one on interviews is fairly timely as I have just gone through a calling process.
1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?
I guess it was my first interview 25 years ago. There were eleven!! interviewing me. One fellow was NOT going to have NO woman priest in HIS church. “Interviewing a woman was a waste of time.” He hurumphed his way through brunch. They seated this man directly across from me. Each interviewer had a question. This fellow slowly came around. He was a patriarch of the church. He was an old insurance salesman. Finally when we got to his question, he asked, “How are you going to sell yourself to our parish?” I said that if they wanted me as their rector that was HIS job. He broke into a smile. They called me the night I was ordained priest and he was the greatest supporter I had. The last thing I did in that parish was to bury that man. I still hold him close to my heart.
2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?
I have interviewed choir directors, secretaries, parish administrators, education directors and youth ministers and sextons. I am not a tiger but I do ask the hard questions. It isn’t fair not to. To hire someone who is not willing to walk with you through the difficult questions will not always make the best employee.
3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?
I HATE telephone interviews! I am too intuitive and depend too much upon the facial characteristics and body postures of people to understand how to interact with the people who are interviewing to appreciate telephone interviews. People are less in tune with What is said than How it is said in any kind of interview, but telephone interviews are too narrow. When I am interviewing in a parish, I want to see the people and evaluate who THEY are.
4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?
The best advice I got was “be yourself”. It still stands as the best of advice. You need to allow an employer know enough of you to know whether they can work with you. And you don’t want to work for someone who isn’t willing to share themselves in the interview either. The worst advice is for you to try "to manipulate the interview so that you have the upper hand" It is dishonest and comes across as manipulative. I wouldn't hire anyone who tried to manipulate an interview.
5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?
I try to be prepared with the information about the parish, or the job so that my questions about the position are on the mark. Always an interview is about you interviewing them as much as it is an interview of you by them.
The interview I had for my new congregation was great fun. I had been substituting for them for some time before the interview so we knew enough about each other that we could joke around. They already knew of my penchant for preaching too long and losing my place in the liturgy. I already knew that no one liked to sit in different places. We could bust each other pretty well by the time we got to the interview and so it was quite relaxed. We had a good time.