Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Woes of Unemployment

There's nothing like getting an interview for an awesome job to make you feel confident and optimistic.

There's nothing like botching an interview for an awesome job to make you feel small and hopeless.

I just finished a 2 hour phone interview. I've been studying and preparing for this interview for 2 days straight. I've spent 10-12 hours in the past 2 days studying Recreation Therapy books from college, trying to remember all the diagnoses and medical terminology and psychological theories that I learned. I wrote down 4 pages of possible questions and answers to common interview questions, including situational questions, and practiced them over and over.

And then I wasn't asked a single one of those questions. I wasn't asked one single question about my knowledge of therapeutic recreation. I wasn't asked what skills I have or what my strengths are or where I see myself in 5 years or what my philosophy of recreation therapy is or what activities I would use to treat a 10 year old patient or how I resolved a conflict with a supervisor.

The interviewers used behavioral interviewing techniques. As soon as they told me that's what they were about to do, I silently groaned. Besides the fact I find these interviews terribly uncomfortable, Jared just attended a conference last month in which a behavior specialist said that behavioral interviews are worthless.

The basic idea of behavioral interviewing is that past performance will predict future behavior. Instead of saying how you would react to a certain situation, you have to explain how you actually did react to a situation. This is supposed to guarantee more honest answers, because the interviewer will pick apart everything you say to make sure your story is complete.

Anyway, I think I realized after I got off the phone why I find these interviews so difficult. I have a terrible memory. So when I'm asked a question like, "describe a time when a negative situation could have been avoided by identifying a risk earlier," I kind of freak out. I hope the interviewers don't think I'm lying when my story seems a bit flaky. I just can't remember! Also, I don't think behavioral interviewing questions are necessarily applicable to every job. For instance, I was asked the question, "describe a time when you were working on a major project for a supervisor and the focus of the project changed, but the deadline remained the same." I think I can honestly say that I have never been in this situation. But I can't just say, "oh that's never happened to me. Next question, please." So I have to come up with some distantly related experience and try to cram it into the parameters of the question. Does that really help predict my future behavior? Or does it just demonstrate how well (or poorly) I can manipulate the question?

I'm so tired of job hunting. Please, someone just let me work!


The optimist in me cannot end this post on such a pathetic note. I'm sure something will come along. Hopefully before we go broke.

Also, don't you love fall?


  1. My interviews were all behavioral interviews. I knew they would be though so I was able to prepare for it. They are annoying. Good Luck.

    ps - fall is my favorite season too.

  2. I didn't even know there was such a thing! That stinks... I KNOW you are a fab RT. One that we all miss so much. That pic was beautiful.

  3. I'm sorry, Jenn. I think that is lame. :( I think it is lame that you had a two-hour phone interview. I think phone interviews are challenging because body language is really important to gauge whether a person is being honest or, in your case, if she is just plain forgetful.

    Also, I think behavioral interviews stink because they don't give you a chance to redeem yourself from past mistakes. Sure you may have reacted badly to a situation in the past, but what if you've learned from it? Boo. :(

  4. Wow... that is way tough. I always hate those kind of questions, because like you, I don't remember all of the details, or I don't even remember one real situation in which that has happened to me. I agree... so not fair. Keep your head up... something will work out for you.

    P.S. Give me a call sometime. :)