This is part one in my series on job interviews done right.
You’ve been on the interview and you got rejected for that job but instead of feeling depressed, you feel fine with it because on a rare occasion hiring manager will have treated you the right way. What is the right way? It’s when the interviewer kept his or her word. He followed up with you like he promised. She treated you with courtesy and respect and when it’s all said and done, that’s really all that a job candidate is asking for.
Props to SC Magazine, Haymarket Media
Some years ago I interviewed for a staff editor’s position with SC Magazine, a technology b-to-b publication that targets the IT security market. I met with Ilena, the editor-in-chief of the publication, who struck me as off the charts intelligent and very genuine.
The interview was fairly straightforward— what is your background in technology, writing, editing, etc, etc. I answered everything to the best of my abilities, though I did point out that even though I didn’t have any direct experience in the IT security market, I also had no prior auto reporting experience but still excelled in my old post as a news editor at a niche automobile site. Ilena informed me that very few people have background in this niche industry so it wasn’t something that would be held against me.
She sent me home with a writing test to be completed in a few days time. I spent the next several days aching, stressing over this test. I had several sources to interview and I got my pithy quotes, finished the draft, rewrote and edited it into the wee hours of the night. I submitted the test feature the morning of the deadline.
I got a call from Ilena a few days later and she said that she neglected to mention during the interview that the job called for an extensive amount of travel, and if hired, was I open to doing all that traveling? I liked the occasional travel opportunity, I told her, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do on a weekly basis. She thanked me for my honesty and said even if I wasn’t staffed for her, she’d like to have me as a freelancer.
A week later I got my first assignment, just as she promised.
I turned in a monster story. During an interview with one of my sources, the article found a new, unexpected angle and as a result, the feature exceeded the word count by several hundred words.
My article was accepted in its entirety with no complaints and no request for rewrites. The new angle became a separate article and my feature ran as part of the cover story. Even better was the fact that I was paid promptly.
To this day I have a special place in my heart for an editor-in-chief who performed the job interview process with class and dignity.
Read part two my series on Job Interviews Done Right.