A couple of years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a young woman who was working the registration booth at a social media seminar. This young woman was in the process of looking for work as a marketing project manager, and in the interim, she was volunteering at a non-profit as well as an association for business communicators.
I asked her about the interview process. She was quick to share some of the questions she was asked. One interviewer, she said, asked, “Tell me what’s in the front seat, the back seat and the trunk of your car.” Another asked, “Tell me how many outfits you tried on before this interview this morning, and how many of them are left on the floor?” Another asked, “Describe how the icons on your desktop are organized.” In the middle of our conversation, a seasoned marketing professional joined us. She commented, “It’s such a tough job market and people are well-prepared with the set interview questions such as — tell me about your weakness or describe yourself — that interviewers are getting creative. They want to see what makes you tick.”
I would imagine that the interviewers were trying to see how well she could think on her feet. They also were trying to find out if she was an organized person who planned ahead and would keep a neat work station. The best way to prepare for these interviews is to bring a sense of calm with you. Remaining calm will help you think clearly and honestly so you can answer in a way that sheds light on your true personality. If you don’t have the right answers for the interviewer, then chances are you weren’t the best fit for the company’s culture and you were spared some months of anguish in a job not right for you.
This young lady also added that she was having a hard time getting work because the interviewers said, “We are really looking for someone already in that job.” She added, “They don’t want me because I am unemployed.”
At any stage of your career, you may find yourself in the unemployment line or in the chair across from a zany interviewer. You must remember to never get disillusioned with the process.
Looking for work is the hardest work that you will ever do. Once you accept this reality, the journey will become easier.
— Debra Scala Giokas ’87
Debra Scala Giokas has been in the field of Legal Marketing for 25 years. For the last 16, she has been working as Marketing Director of Long Island’s second largest law firm, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP. Debra shares her love of English as a board advisor for Literacy Nassau which promotes adult literacy in the community. Debra was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Dowling College, where she taught an undergraduate course in services marketing for six years. She has been published in a variety of business and legal trades, which includes a quarterly column in the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island’s (PRPLI) newsletter “For Immediate Release.” Debra’s poems have appeared in magazines and literary journals, most recently in the 2014 Nassau County Poet Laureate Review. Debra was recognized by PRPLI with its Mentor Award in 2012. You can follow Debra on Twitter @debrascalag.
Making educated career decisions can be difficult at any stage of career development. The ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) Blog is intended for Stony Brook University students and alumni to learn career knowledge and get advice from experienced alumni, working in various career fields, about lessons learned from their career experiences.