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Interviews

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by Charc, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Sorry guys for another work related thread, but this one is semi-unique! (At least my search result only returned interview threads pertaining to portfolios and college review boards.)

    So, as some of you might know I have the month of January off of school to intern somewhere. I prepped my résumé (but now I get to add the line: "Student Head of Technical Theatre '07-'08" :cool:), and sent out an email to my top choice. (I had thought about trying my hand at concert lighting, but ended up going back to theatre.) I got a response a couple hours ago, and it looks good! However, I will have to go in to interview for the position. Though I've help a variety of position, I've never actually interviewed for one before. So I'm new to the whole interview game.

    I'm curious if a tech theatre interview is any different? What sort of questions should I expect? I'm worried I'll get hit with a question out of the blue. I'm also not really sure what the general guidelines are for an interview. I believe I've heard "dress more than the interviewer"? So in that case, I'd presume jeans and a polo aren't acceptable? I also plan to bring a printed copy of my résumé. (Maybe an extra one or two incase I loose the first one on the way...? Haha, I guess I'm over-thinking it, I just don't want to be unprepared.) Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject? From an employers point of view, what are they looking for? What's the protocol of an interview. Technical questions? Considering I'm a high school student, is there any other concern I should be aware about? My impression of this interview is that she wants to get a sense of who I am, how I come across, before she locks herself in for a month. Thoughts?

    ~Thanks, Charlie
     
  2. Chaos is Born

    Chaos is Born Active Member

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    It would help us a bit if you let us know what position you are interviewing for. That way any questions that are commonly related to a specific area can be relayed.
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah what he said.

    In General...
    Put on the most professional looking thing you've got. It's disrespectful to the person or people doing the interview to not dress up... even if you know the interviewer usually dresses like Van. Do you have any pictures you could put together to be a portfolio of your work? If you do that would be a great idea. Make several copies of everything as you may find 3 people in the room when you get there.

    I would work hard on coming up with 2 or three good questions to ask the interviewer. Every interview always ends with "Do you have any questions for us?" A few well thought out questions show your interest about the position, that you care about this job over other opportunities you might have, it shows you are trying to invest something into the interview instead of just going through the motions.

    If you get a weird question out of the blue, don't panic. Stop take a breath and think. Too often people try to answer the question as soon as possible without thinking about what they are saying. Take your time and think about what you are going to say. It's ok to say, Let me think about that a moment... don't take more than about 10 seconds as it's going to get uncomfortably quite quick, but don't be afraid to stop and think. It's better to come off as deliberate and thoughtful than it is to be considered bold and confused.

    Multiple copies of your resume is good. If you have enough to make a portfolio or an expanded resume with one or two pictures do it. My feeling is the conventional resume get's you in the door. Once you are in for the interview, your job is to show them that you know something, provide them as much proof as possible, and make a positive impression that sets you apart from others who are getting interviewed. You don't want to be remembered by the committee as "the guy in the green shirt". Be remembered as "the guy with this really nice portfolio of work he left". So pictures are great. Print up something really nice... I've been known to go to Kinko's and print up a full color bound copy of my portfolio on fancy paper to leave with the committee (you want them to keep thinking about you after you leave the room right?). And if you don't have enough pictures to do a portfolio, start taking them now so that in a few years you will have them.
     
  4. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Right, I forgot to mention the position.

    "Production Intern". And it's not really a competitive thing, it's me or no one. So I suppose I have to show that they stand to gain from taking a student into their workplace?

    Thanks for the tips on the questions for the interviewer. I never really thought of that before.

    I guess I'll just go with a nice long sleeve button down shirt and a pair of nice khaki pants.
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    They probably are not going to play quiz game with you, or anything like that. They are going to be looking for someone with a good personality that will mesch with theirs. I would highly recommend bringing something in with you that might not be your best work every, but something that you are highly passionate about, and can talk about for hours if you could (you won't, but you could if you had to). They will be looking for someone that wants to be there, and will work hard for them, show them how hard and how much you want to do. Try not to "geek it up" to much, unless the person you are talking to leads you to that way. Just take it easy, odds are they probably just want to talk to you a bit before they "hire" you. Most people it takes a lot to turn away someone that says the magic "work for free" words. Just talk, be yourself, and take something with you that show why you love your work.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Great points Footer.

    Yeah I really like the idea of planning to have something you can talk about. They want to know that you are a good guy, that you won't drive them crazy to have you around, that you have a good head on your shoulders, that you are a hard worker, and that you know something about theater. They aren't going to care about the intense details of your knowledge, they want to know you can be taught.

    Being prepared with to talk about something theater that you really know and are passionate about is a great idea. They'll eventually ask you a question that somehow relates and you can sort of launch into your prepared topic... don't make it sound like a speech... just have a topic in mind that you could talk about that demonstrates your knowledge. You might also plan to have a story about how you have been a leader, a hard worker, dealing with adversity, thinking on your feet. All possible topics they may ask about. Also be prepared for the obvious questions like: "Why do you want this position?", "Why do you want to do theater tech?", "What do you like about theater tech?", "What do you not like?", What are your greatest strengths?, and of course something about your ability to work well with others. All typical job interview type stuff. Just spend some time putting yourself in their shoes and asking, what would I want to know about a potential intern?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007
  7. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    My two bits (and this comes from the non-theatre world):

    Search on the web for interviewer/interview help websites – there are many of them. You should be able to find a site that includes something like “questions for recent graduate” which are geared for people with limited experience. Take a look at those and be prepared for them.

    Make sure you can discuss every single item that you put on your resume. If the interviewer is looking for something specific or if the interviewer is trying to screen out inflated statements, they may say “Tell me about this item…”

    There is good chance that you’ll talk to more than one person and they will likely ask many of the same questions. Treat each person like they are the only person you will be talking to – answer all the questions fully, regardless of how many times to end up telling your life story.

    Be on time. (For that matter, be early, even if it means sitting in your car in the parking lot for 15 minutes.)


    Joe
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    That's critical. If you're late for an interview you are DONE!! Be there 15 minutes early. Judge how long it will actually take you to get to the office you are reporting to and get to that place about 5-7 minutes early. Often there is an additional form they will want you to fill out before the interview that will be waiting for you with a secretary. Getting there early allows you to complete that task early and get your head in the zone. If you get there right on time you'll end up late and confused because you still have this stupid form to fill out.

    The experts say if they offer you something to drink, always ask for water. If you don't accept a drink you look a little odd, but all other drinks have dangerous spilling and burping side effects. Water is easy, clean, and won't hamper you ability to talk. It's also a nice way to stall a few seconds while thinking about an answer to a question.

    OH and above all else, look the interviewer in the eyes when talking to them.

    P.S. I would recommend never interviewing on International Talk Like A Pirate Day... You might find yourself dressing and speaking in ways you really shouldn't.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Then again, with the right people you might get the job right off the bat.
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    That's true... note to self... if I ever apply for a job at A.R.T. in Portland wear pirate gear!
     
  11. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    DO YOU HOMEWORK, ask around about other people who interviewed and got the internship and what it was like, not only the internship but the actual job. it's the old research research and be prepared. Know what production they are doing during your internship, etc
    Sharyn
     
  12. bdesmond

    bdesmond Active Member

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    Some one off thoughts having conducted a lot of interviews:

    --> Be honest. If you don't know, say so. If you're not sure, say so. If you BS your way through a question chances are it will show, especially if it is a technical question.

    --> Be prepared to answer more general or career oriented type questions e.g. Why do you want this job? Why do you want to work for XYZ? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What do you hope to gain out of this internship? etc

    --> If you put it on your resume be prepared to talk about it. I have an absolute field day with people who put stuff on their resume that they aren't capable of having a conversation about

    --> Wear something appropriate that you're also comfortable in. If the dress shoes hurt like hell you're going to be distracted. Find a pair of shoes which are still appropriate but are also comfortable (e.g. the white tennis shoes with the dress slacks might look a little out of place)

    --> Bring half a dozen or so resume copies

    --> Be prepared to fill out a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense at some point (forms)

    --> Have some questions to ask. It's always akward when I go (as the employer) "So do you have any questions for me?" and the candidate goes "No, not really".

    --> Proofread your resume for spelling and preferably grammar/punctuation. Spelling gets me everytime since Word will fix it for you. I don't appreicate grammar screw ups but I am at least slightly more sympathetic to grammar issues but not much

    --> Make sure your resume doesn't look like a Microsoft Word template. Personally, I have seen them all and it shows no creativity on your part IMO.
     
  13. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I thought, after having finished my interview, it might be interesting to post some of the things I learned from the experience:

    1. Have questions ready. I didn't, and it was awkward.

    2. I was asked for "What's one piece of advice someone gave you that really stuck with you." And I knew I'd heard a great one, but I couldn't remember it, so then my mind kinda panicked 'cause I couldn't the great quote so I ended up with "Measure twice, cut once." I was kicking myself later that night when I remembered the quote: "Nothing in this industry is worth dying for." Oh well.

    Other than that I did pretty well, and followed the general advice.

    Oh wait, except I was in a swivel chair... I kinda gently rocked side to side, and kept screwing together and unscrewing my pen's casing... :oops:
     
  14. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Charc, don't sweat it man. You sound like you are/were WAY more together than some of the sack o' hammers that get hired around my venue and have a hard time with verbs, nouns, etc...
     
  15. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Nope... I only have a hard time with adjectives... I was asked to describe myself in three positive adjectives and two negative adjectives... That didn't turn out well either. :rolleyes:
     
  16. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Not at home, that's for sure.
    Seriously, they did that? They really did the "good/bad adjective" question?

    OM*G, someone went to Barnes and Noble and bought "How to Interview for Dummies". I thought for sure nobody did that anymore.

    Chalk it up to experience bro.
     
  17. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather let my work doing the talking in the future.

    (Consider it officially chalked up)

    Scoreboard:
    Interviewers: 1
    Charc: 0
     
  18. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I was 18 and applying for a job as a part time school custodian to pay for college. My first job interview. I was freaked out. I'm thinking it's going ok until this guy who I later would learn is a real jerk asks... "What do you think is the importance of custodial work in our world today?" long pause... my answer... "People make messes and someone has to clean it up?" (yes in the form of a question). :oops:


    I got the job anyway and it paid my way through 4 years of school and my wife's way to a nursing degree.
     

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