Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Extra - I never talked about Outplacement, Day Two, did I??

I might have done that because I wanted to wash it from my memory.

The most funnest part was the 20 minute talk on the underlying psychology when you go in for an interview and they ask if you'd like some water or coffee.

Seriously.

As it was told to us, it's some huge psychologic interplay about them offering and you being a good host, and also a power play that you need to take advantage of, and a zillion other things that would be much better presented as "Hey... it's an interview. You will be talking. You might get thirsty. Better to take it at the start since you may/will likely need it."

That was about the point I zoned out of Outplacement Day Two.

But the point where I really, REALLY wondered about the whole service was when the talk was about how to answer the question that you always get, which is something like "What is your biggest weakness?"

(Pretty Little German Rocker Boys like Cinema Bizarre? Oh, wait, not THAT kind of weakness)

What is your biggest job weakness. It is one of those things, in an interview situation, if you're not expecting it, it can throw you.

They gave two ways to answer the question.... and I do think they were more addressing the "how to ace the interview with HR" portion of the interview process and not the "how to interview with potential peers and managers" portion. Because they obviously don't know how badly the answers play upon a lot of jobs.

Choices were...

  1. I don't do well on my own, because I thrive in group situations.
  2. I don't do well with monotonous tasks, because I thrive on a challenge.

Um. Yeah. As a technical writer, a lot of the work you do is solo. A lot of the jobs out there right now ARE solo gigs. So no Answer 1.

And well, a good portion of all technical writing jobs I have had involve a great deal of monotonous tasks. And you actually kind of value those nice little moments of non-thinking when you are compiling something or generating something and get to zone out and have the brain go to the happy place. So, no Answer 2.

Ugh.

It was also funny that the same day as Outplacement Day Two, I was talking to my brother in the evening. My brother is a somewhat high-up manager in a technical position. He's interviewed people many times. And when I was telling him about the "what is your biggest weakness" portion of the day, he laughed about the "standard answers" because he's heard them before, and always wondered where they came from.

So... yeah.... I have my first meeting with Outplacement Firm, post-job, next week, to get the updated resume and have some sort of "talk". Right now, I'm really hoping that the latest interview results in something good, mostly because I really want that job, but partly because it would mean I don't have to go back.

3 comments:

GypMom said...

I went thru the outplacement stuff about 5 yrs ago and I'm also a soon-to-be-unemployeed tech writer but I refuse to go back. Most of their silly advice is still etched in my brain. Good luck with your job search!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

What about saying your greatest weakness is your obsession with detail and desire for perfection.

MrsVJW said...

Rosie - that one don't fly either... to get stuff done when it needs to be done, sometimes you have to let those things slide. Especially when you're talking commercial products - you don't want documentation to be the reason something doesn't hit the market on time.

And I might say 'attenshun to detail' if I could keep myself from a fit of hysterical laughter after that....