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Week 1 of interviews:  over.

Week 2 of interviews: on deck. I’ve mocked (interviewed) my socks off with students, alums and career consultants. I’ve walked the grocery store, 7-11 and CVS looking at products, placement, packaging, prices, and promotions. I’ve studied flash cards, annual reports and online industry boards. I think i’m ready. Put me in, Coach! The bad news: I don’t have a job yet. The good news: a few close friends DO have summer jobs and it’s been terrific to see them so ecstatic and help them celebrate. And, I’m hopeful for my interview schedule this week.

Something I hadn’t encountered before was the online personality assessment that companies use to help determine “fit” for potential employees. I took my first one yesterday. Standout questions were:

1. Do you know why stars twinkle? Aha! Got this one. Thanks, undergrad Astronomy class! Odd that they don’t ask you why, though. They should ask if you know the constellations. This would prove:

  • grounding in classical mythology (education)
  • a propensity to check one’s horoscope (ability to seek external guidance)
  • potential navigational skills, which are mighty handy if you’re lost in the woods. (North Star, aka Polaris, anyone?)

2. Did you ever want to run away from home as a child? Who didn’t? My roommate, who has taken 5 of these tests opposed to my 1, suggested a revision that reads “Did you ever want to run away from home as a child so badly that you packed a bag?” This would reveal a bias for action as well as the propensity to follow through. Companies LOVE people who can execute on a plan, right?

3. Do you believe science & mathematics OR art & literature are the highest form of human expression? Um…. may I choose none of the above?

 4. True/False: Most of my friends are scientists. False. Wait – most of my friends here at Darden are overworked, sleep-deprived MBA students. Scientists? I know a couple engineers, does that count? And, after 7+ years at Bank of America, I do know a bunch of bankers. Who are kind of like money scientists, right?

Of course, the questions are designed to be opaque yet revealing, like sensibly sexy lingerie. What they’re revealing, I haven’t a clue. I’m worried that they will pull the results and confront me with them. “I see here, Ms. Cook, that you’ve indicated you DO know why stars twinkle. Care to enlighten the evaluatory panel?”  

Actually, come to think of it, I’d vastly prefer explaining my personality test questions than answering “tell me about a time you were an excellent leader leading a difficult team of people while making swift analytical and creative decisions using incomplete data while standing on a lily pad in a pond filled with hot lava.” Hmm. In case this whole interview-get-a-summer-job thing doesn’t work out, I’ll really be in hot lava. I need to have a solid Plan B. Perhaps I’ll moonlight as a personality-test question writer….

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