I don't like to talk too much about my real life on here, but this is a story that I've just got to share.
For those of you who haven't looked at my about page in a long time, I'm an Austrian who moved to England nearly a year ago now, to live with my boyfriend - whom I met through WoW, incidentally.
Since then I've been unemployed. The economy here is in a bad state, I'm a foreigner without any particularly fancy qualifications... you get the picture. With every unsuccessful interview I came to loathe those generic interview questions that Syl posted about the other day even more. I don't think they are completely pointless, but all too often they strike me as clearly conjured up by some higher-ups who have no idea what the actual job looks like or what kind of people will be interviewed. One of my most hated examples is "Name a situation where you worked successfully in a team." I used to work in retail, and we had to work together like a well-oiled machine all the time, what do you mean I have to name a "situation"?!
Anyway, to get to the point of this particular story, I had another interview for a retail job on Friday. I didn't think that there'd be anything special about it, even though I immediately took a liking to the manager when he appeared to express a dislike for generic interview questions as well. We chatted away quite nicely, and then came the dreaded team question once again. /groan
I gave my "well, I've always worked in a team" answer but he still looked expectant for more. I had received some interview coaching in the last couple of months and remembered that I'd been told that it was also acceptable to mention hobby-related examples in reply to questions like these if they were applicable to what's being asked.
Well, I thought, when the guild nearly fell apart this summer and we pulled together to save it, that was definitely a "situation" that required team effort...
"Okay, I play this cooperative game..."
Lamest and most awkward description ever, but I know that not everyone is into games so it would be presumptuous to assume that they know what I'm talking about. And of those that do know their games, not everyone might associate WoW with good things.
Okay, he's one of those that really want to know. No way around it then...
"World of Warcraft. So I was..."
"Oh? How many eighties do you have?"
Huh, a real expert! Wait, how many eighties do I have? Hekatie only just dinged, so that makes... was it seven or eight now...?
"Eh, too many..."
No! Bad answer! That must sound like I'm playing so much that I can't even remember...
"Well, I have five myself."
Oh, he plays himself and has five eighties? That's... unexpected.
"Anyway, so my guild was falling apart..."
"Ah yes, mine's been pretty dead as well, what with everyone waiting for the expansion..."
And then we basically spent the next five minutes or so talking about WoW instead of actual job-related stuff. I have to admit, I struggled a little not to burst out laughing because the whole thing just seemed so absurd. Here I am, trying to be in super-serious job interview mode, and the manager is telling me about how his main is a paladin and he wants to roll a goblin in Cataclysm.
Eventually we got back on track and when I saw him hesitate over what to put down as my answer to the team question, I couldn't help myself...
"Hah, now you have to figure out how to explain that to someone who doesn't know the game!"
Oh god, could I be any cheekier? Yegads...
"Hm yeah... oh well, I'll just complete this later!"
Then he asked me the last couple of questions and sent me on my way. I did eventually burst into giggles once I was out the door.
During my many months of unsuccessful job-searching some people have told me that job interviews aren't so much about assessing your skills as they are about seeing whether the interviewer likes you as a person and thinks that you'd fit in.
This morning I got a call. I'm starting on Thursday.
I guess they were right!