Interview

I managed to score a job interview for a marketing department position with a 2nd tier university. Im sure said institution would not care for that appellation, however after seven years working at universities (or not, as the current case may be) I know what the pecking order for universities is in my home state. I thought I might have been punching above my weight and post interview, it seems I was, however not for the same reasons I had first thought. My concerns revolved around my lack of experience working in a marketing department. Turns out I probably wont ever work in a marketing department if they all follow the same method of evaluation when conducting interviews. I am going to be wearing a guernsey for team fail every time if they do…
One of my corporate high flier friends explained to me that they would use the STAR system to interrogate interview me. Situation Task Action Result. I’ve never had to participate in this sort of ritual before, however marketing department manager types seem to be strict adherents to this extremely limiting form of communication. I found it limiting because when I arrived at the third and occasionally fourth letter in their special test the next question was fired at me from one of the other interviewers. I don’t like being interrupted when Im telling a story, especially if it’s a story someone else has asked me to tell.
Needless to say I didn’t get the job, I was called up the day after the interview and given the the chop by the head honcho who had been on the panel of three firing squad. She asked if I would like some feedback. I knew that the interview hadn’t gone as well as it could have, but again I was surprised to find out why. Turns out they really liked me for the job, they’d had over 80 applicants for the position. I’d made it to the top five and got an interview because I had international experience (head honcho interviewer was American transplant bringing new ideas to the university.) Where I fell down in the interview the disembodied heavily accented voice told me was eye contact. Not that I didn’t get to finish any of my examples of being a fine leader who balances the needs of staff and demands of the brand perfectly. No, it was eye contact when my head was snapping backwards and forwards between the three members who sat on one side each of a rectangular table that I was placed at the head of, instead of where I had chosen to sit which was obviously not part of their behavioural analysis handbook examples. When head honcho dropped the culturally inappropriate eye contact ‘bomb’ I almost guffawed down the phone. Indigenous people aren’t big on prolonged eye contact, there are a myriad of reasons applicable. In Maori culture it can be seen as the equivalent to a declaration to fight. I was also stunned by the fact that I was meant to maintain eye contact with them all even though my neck was oscillating between the three interviewers whenever a new question was fired at me by someone else. It’s a shame I didn’t get further with this position, I think I could have been a good match for the evolving needs of their department but they are going to stick to their strange white collar/ white fulla rules so a shambolic storyteller like me with sneaky focal tendencies gets the phone call, picks a nice outfit, gets one (20 minute) dance to prove their suitability but no second date.

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