April 26, 2011 Leave a comment
Last Thursday I had my first interview with a Peace Corps recruiter. Over the course of the nearly two-hour interview, I made some mistakes. Isn’t retrospect great!? I know you’re just dying to know how I screwed up my interview, so I won’t keep you waiting!
First, I spent a lot of time looking out the window while answering my questions. Even during the interview, I knew I was doing this. I tried to keep my eyes on the recruiter while I was speaking but struggled. It’s my natural reaction to look up and to the left when I’m thinking…and if there is ever a moment when I’m thinking hard, it’s during an interview. I sacrificed eye contact in search of the best answer I could think of at the moment…
Next, I used weak examples in explaining myself. Instead of discussing how I worked to teach a person with learning disabilities how to do a job, I chose to talk about how I’ve been working with Erin on improving her rock climbing techniques. And, in all honesty, I didn’t even think about training that individual until about five minutes ago. I told you retrospect is great!
I feel like I didn’t express my thoughts in their entirety. An example of this revolves around the question of culture and style of dress. I was asked if I would be willing to dress in local styles if I were to be placed in a location where the people are expected to dress a certain way. Of course I’d be willing to change my personal style of clothing in order to assimilate into the community, but I feel like I should have just shut up after saying that.
Instead, I blathered on about how personal appearance isn’t important to me. Even when I was answering the question, I felt like that was a stupid way to respond to a question directed towards a culture where appearance obviously does have a high value. I also feel like maybe I should have discussed the fact that the Peace Corps is a give and take relationship, where both cultures learn from each other…
Of course, retrospect might also just be over-analysis in disguise.
I made mistakes and didn’t answer the questions the best I could have. I looked out the window a dozen times too many…I can only hope that through all the mistakes, my character made its way into the conversation. There were highlights, too. At one point, both of us were laughing and joking. And after the interview was formally over (it’s never over) I felt like I wasn’t under as much pressure to give the “right” answers and I could just speak openly. At that point I was able to make eye contact and just be me without all the stress.
I’ve been in email contact with my recruiter since our interview, and hope that when the time comes, she feels comfortable in giving her recommendation and I make it to the next phase.
I’ll continue to keep everyone updated when I know more over at the Hundred Goals’ Facebook page! If you’re not already a part of the community, come check it out! We’re a rowdy bunch, but we’re good people!