Mother Laura at RevGalBlogPals posted this Friday Five. Great one, Mother Laura!
1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?
It was a wonderful, progressive church and I so wanted the job. They began the interview by saying that they had “hundreds and hundreds of applications,” which felt…I don’t know…a little bit like I wasn’t going to be appreciated, even before one word came out of my mouth. But I still wanted the position. Until this.
Interviewer: You say in your resume that you’re looking for a church that is open and accepting to anyone who enters it. What exactly do you mean by that?
Me: Well, I mean that I would like to serve a church where anyone could enter and feel welcome there.
I: Who exactly are you thinking of?
M: Well, I expect that a person of any ethnicity would feel comfortable. I hope that a single mother would feel welcome. I would want someone in a same-gender relationship to feel that they could worship there. You know, I think that people of varying social classes should worship together.
I: (Long uncomfortable silence) Well, I think you would be very disappointed with X Presbyterian Church. We are a very buttoned-down crowd. Our Church Information reports that 2% of our congregation is not Caucasian. But I cannot imagine who that 2% might be. And of course, we are on record for being inclusive of gay and lesbians, but I could never imagine one worshiping here. And, we are all college-educated, of course.
M: (Long, even more uncomfortable silence, as I think, “Holy smokes, did all that stuff actually come out of her mouth?”) Okay…Yes. I suppose you’re right. I would be disappointed with X Presbyterian Church.
I hung up the phone and wrote a “Dear John” letter to them. But you know what was so annoying? Six months later, they sent me a letter saying that they had rejected my application.
2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?
I am so creampuff. I figure that an interview is a two-way street. I need to show my best side as much as they do. If it’s someone I want, then they need to like me. I don’t think many church committees realize this.
3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?
There’s more that I have to get together in-person. The dress, the shoes, the hair. And there’s usually traveling involved, and I always forget something, so all that makes me uptight. But then I can read people much easier face-to-face. I make a much better impression face-to-face.
Plus, phone interviews are often impromptu, and I’ve been caught many, many times on the receiver when I’m trying to cook dinner, clean the house, and occupy a toddler. It gives me quite an unfair advantage.
4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?
A seminary professor told me, “Don’t tell the truth.” That may not be the best advice for everyone, but I needed to hear it. I’m a terrible liar, and I know he didn’t mean for me to deceive anyone. He meant that I didn’t need to be a prophetic, up-front, truth-teller before I got the job.
Although no one told me to do this, the worst thing I’ve done has been to not negotiate when I should have.
5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?
I breathe deeply, close my eyes, and say, “It’s okay. I’m good enough for this. I can do this. I have experience. I can do this. I’m good enough.” In fact, I keep muttering these things over and over again while I get dressed.
Then I wear a piece of jewelry from my husband and one from my daughter, just to remind myself that even if the committee doesn’t love me, I can always go home to people who do.
photo’s by Agnieszka