The post-interview feeling

Last week, I applied to be a casual examination supervisor at the university. Actually, I have applied to join the casual examination supervisor pool. I’ve just come back from my interview.

Initially when I saw the ad I wasn’t too sure just how serious this whole application thing was. I didn’t think they would give that much of a stuff to have a serious selection process for people to supervise exams. But still, I wrote a really sucky enthusiastic application letter and sent my CV in. And today, I wore my black suit jacket instead of my usual denim, and black shoes instead of my usual comfy sneakers for the interview.

The interviewer/potential boss was pleasant enough – he reminded me of my high school art teacher – he did most of the talking, mainly telling me about the selection process, what he’s looking/hoping for, what the job will involve. I suppose this was a reasonably good sign; I presume that if having met me he’d decided I was definitely not what he’s looking for he wouldn’t have bothered telling me all of that information. But then of course he might just be the talkative type.

I think I did OK but I didn’t really get a chance to talk all that much. I told him about myself, responded to the information he gave me and asked about the pay rate (I know they say you shouldn’t ask about money at an interview, but I’ve always thought it’s good to ask if they haven’t told you – no nasty surprises later). I walked away feeling positive but still like I hadn’t done everything I could’ve done to impress him. I just didn’t really get the chance – short of interrupting him, there just weren’t many opportunities for me to speak. But then I remember I walked out of my interview for my first web designer job thinking how crap I’d been, but I did get offered the job, so it’s possible I did better today than I am feeling at the moment. I always feel that the hard part is getting the interview anyway; they wouldn’t bother to even meet you if they didn’t already think you’d be suitable. And different interviewers like different things – sometimes you can see they will be responsive to mega-suckiness (all truth, of course! I’m sucky but I don’t lie); sometimes you can sense they will be put off by suckiness; your CV has done most of the work and as long as you don’t give bad answers to their questions or rock up looking like a dog’s dinner they will be happy enough. The people who would not be impressed by suckiness would never do it themselves; the ones who are impressed would.

There were apparently about 60 applications, which became a short list of 16 or 17 that are being interviewed, and eventually only 10 or so will be invited to join the pool. I do hope I get it. The extra money will be very helpful come Christmas-time (though I wouldn’t get too excited about the pay – $19.20 p/hour) – but this job isn’t really about the money (and this is really nerdy): I do like getting involved, and want to get involved with, more university stuff… but not as a student, if you know what I mean. I’d like to get my foot in as many doors as possible. It will all help after the PhD if it takes a while to get a ‘real’ job.

What I’m hoping will happen is:
The rest of this year – keep plugging away at the PhD, finish another two chapters, supervise second semester exams
Next year – teaching in first semester, more exam supervision and another three chapters plus conclusion
The following year – finish off the thesis (final editing, tidying etc.) and submit by mid-Feb (that’s when my scholarship runs out).
Oh, and somewhere between next year and the end get a chapter or two published in some academic journal. Lofty ambitions, no?
And when I’ve handed in the thesis… I’m not thinking about that yet. But if you have any suggestions for celebrations, let me know and I’ll add them to the list that I’m ignoring for another one and a half years :).

When I came back to the office after the interview L gave me a slice of her homemade pear and polenta cake, which was really yummy (I’m getting the recipe off her). Now I must try to stop thinking about the job – forget it until the email arrives on Friday or Monday. My meeting with my supervisor today was really good – she really liked my latest chapter. OK back to work.

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