After the interview

I went to a 50th birthday party last night for a terrific woman who works in our tech department. It was a local party, I work in the district in which I live.

I’ve lived in G-Town for 22 years and I’ve worked in four different school districts in my 18 years in education. I mention this because I have to admit that there are times when I see someone whom I can’t place. This happened last night at the party. Eventually, I realized why I knew this young woman, even though I couldn’t remember her name.

I interviewed her for a position at our school. And she didn’t get the job. And here we were at a party together. Awkward. I felt bad because I’m sure she knew who I was long before I realized. It’s too bad there isn’t a way that we can help candidates understand what they need to do differently. Or that we can’t say, “look, the candidate we hired just had much more experience.” Or some words of encouragement. Maybe it’s the teacher in me fighting with the administrator who understands hiring practices and liabilities. But who’s going to tell these kids what they need to do to get hired?

  1. Oops, you’re right Dale, it is confusing. Nope, the terrific woman in the first paragraph was the guest of honor. The “young woman” was someone at the party. Thanks for calling me on it–that’s the difficulty in not using people’s names on the blog. I’m never sure if they’ll be comfortable with it or not. Thanks!

  2. I’m confused. Is the woman in paragraph 1 the same as the woman in paragraph 2? The ‘young’ modifier doesn’t clarify it for me. (My definition of young is expanding, a lot.)

  3. Kim, it is a little freaky how your blogs so often reflect what has been on my mind. If I had a blog, my topic this week would be titled “Do all butterflies start as caterpillars?”

    My 5-year-old asked me that question driving to kindergarten Wednesday morning. Her kindergarten class is following the development of a caterpillar to a monarch butterfly and she is intrigued. The questions followed – how do they know when to make their chrysalis? What does an ant come from? How does milkweed taste? Over thinker or critical thinker? (Your answer may depend on how well you know me – quiet Kim!) What I see in my daughter when she asks those questions is the very thing that I don’t see in many of my employees and what, for me, separates those who get the job and those who don’t.

    This summer, I had the opportunity to interview and select an intern for my Human Resource Department. I targeted my search primarily to graduate programs. Why? I can teach someone human resources functions and I am finding, after much frustration, head banging and tears, that I can’t teach someone how to know when the answer to the question a manager is asking them is not really what the manager needs. I can’t teach someone to see beyond the walls (laws, regulations, legal mine fields) to seek out the doors and windows needed to serve. I can do everything by the book – frequent positive recognition, challenging environment, tools to get the job done – and some employees still will not take the extra step to anticipate, respond and/or plan with out being told to.

    I can teach employees processes, procedures, and technical “how-to” but I can’t teach them to think critically. I will take the critical thinker over experience every time.

    So who will tell these kids what it takes to get hired? Educators, business leaders, community advocates, mentors, coaches, and parents.

    I probably shouldn’t use the word “teach” in an educator’s blog but you get my drift 🙂

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