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about a memorable job interview?

Well that’s what it says over on a the post a day 2011 website, but I haven’t really had a memorable job interview, so mine is going to be a little different. I’m going to tell the story about how I got the “job” to be features editor for my college newspaper. It was actually a really great experience. Here’s how it went:

All the editor’s were sitting around the table, plus those that weren’t editors that semester, but wanted to be an editor next semester. I was in the first category, interviewing for a “promotion” of sorts from campus life editor to features editor. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I knew that no one else wanted to interview for features editor, so that made it a little better, but not by much. I knew there were a few people on the editorial board that would rather not have a features editor than have me as features editor, and that made me extremely nervous. These were influential people on the staff, and it was going to be hard to counter that influence. I knew I was qualified for the job, but that didn’t matter in a tight-knit group like ours. What mattered was who liked you and who didn’t.

Our staff adviser was at the head of the table, with the head of her department standing behind her. I took in a big breath and said a quick prayer. I took out four folders from my bag and passed them around, asking each person to take a paper from each folder. After they came back to me, I explained what the first two pieces of paper were. The first was my entry in the feature competition for the state conference we went to earlier that semester. The second was a copy of the third place certificate I’d won in that competition, along with some of the judges comments attached to it.

The next paper was my arts & entertainment entry from our own inter-organization competition that had been judged by professionals in the newspaper and journalism field. The final piece of paper was my first place award for that entry, along with comments from the judges. I asked our adviser to pass around one final folder. I’d never seen the contents of this folder, and that made me extremely nervous. Once I’d decided to interview for the position of features editor I’d gone around and asked the people I had managed (writer’s, photographers, designers, etc.) to write down how they felt about my overall performance and turn it into our adviser so she could compile them and share them with the editorial board.

As I read over the comments for the first time, I was shocked. I’d never known how much the people around me valued me as a person, and it was a really uplifting feeling to know I’d done so well. I’d never done so well in my entire life, and it reinforced my decision to enter into the journalism field. I spoke for the first time then:

“As you can clearly see by the papers provided to you, I am more than qualified for the position of features editor. The staff likes me, more than a few professionals in the industry say I can write, and I’ve NEVER missed a deadline in the entire year I’ve been an editor.”

That’s when the questions started flying, and I’d have to say I handled them well. By the time we were done, only two people didn’t want me to be features editor. I’d expected them to be hold outs, but I was a little disappointed that they couldn’t get over their personal feelings towards me and realize I was the best person for the job. I think they realized they made a mistake when I voted for both of them in the positions they were interviewing for because I knew that even though I didn’t personally like them, they were the best people for the job.

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