First, I’d like to furnish a warning to those reading my blog. I’d like to offer thanks to a blog called “The Good Luck Duck.” They posted of a warning and provided a link warning about the use of Google’s AdSense as being a source of malware. I’ll provide the links for both The Good Luck Duck and for the site that they provided.
With all that I discovered at that last link, it is doubtful that I will ever put AdSense on “Ignoring the Barking Dogs.”
Now, to the topic related to the title of this post. Jo and I work for the state of Oklahoma and for the last 13 years, I’ve been working in a pretty menial job. I’ve been a supervisor and manager in several jobs over the years, but it was a financial benefit for us to work for the same agency and in the same building. We’ve saved a lot of gas money in the last 13 years.
I’ve tried several times to get better, more challenging jobs with our agency, but have never had good luck. The state has a tendency to use what is called a “structured interview” process. Basically, that is a situation where all candidates for a position are asked the exact same questions. There are some real issues with that kind of an interview.
First of all, if a question is asked of a candidate and in their answer they bring up a related topic, the interviewers cannot follow up with a question or ask for additional comments on that related topic. Thus, the structured interview is almost designed to miss getting really good candidates hired for the jobs. I’ve told people at our agency that the structured interviews are almost guaranteed to result in mediocre employees.
In the process, it is usually three individuals asking the pre-selected questions in turn. Then, during the answers given, they are taking notes as to what the candidate says in their answer. Another problem with this process is that the interviewer’s have their heads down to watch what they are writing and very little eye-contact is had with the applicant being questioned.
After the interview process is done with all candidates, they go through and rate the answer to each question on a basis of 1 to 10 as to the value of the answer. Then, those scores are totaled for each candidate, using all three interviewer’s scores for them.
Such a process leaves the possibility for one interviewer to skew the whole process. For instance, if an interviewer has a preference for one particular candidate because of association or friendship, that interviewer can lower their score for the other candidates and raise the score on their preferred candidate. With only three interviewers, you can see an almost immediate effect on the outcome of the interviews.
So, in addition to hiring mediocre employees, one can also see a situation where one is hired not on the basis of their abilities, but on who is a friend of whom. I have even been skipped over, even though I have more experience in management.
A couple of years ago, the agency was hiring 3 people for APO I (Administrative Program Officer 1) positions. Six of us interviewed for those three positions. When all was said and done, three others were chosen who had less experience.
Not long after those positions were filled, an APO II position (Administrative Program Officer 2) came available. I applied and the state’s Office of Personnel Management deemed my level of experience to be enough to qualify for that position. The designation of OPM in regards to my experience surprised some of the original interviewers. Well, at least one of them was surprised.
Just about a week ago, we saw a posting of the APO II position again. The individual that was hired for that position has decided to resign from it. This position is at a new facility and that individual had been the project manager for the building of that facility, so it was natural that he should be the one hired for the position.
So, I applied for it again, and my interview was this morning. In most structured interviews, there were not a lot of questions that were not related to the job being interviewed for, nor were they related in any way to finding out good information about the applicant’s abilities for those positions.
Today’s interview was different, based on my observations. All the questions were pertinent and relevant. Also, prior to the actual questioning, I was asked to tell a bit about myself and my experiences. Two of the interviewers have never really met me nor worked with me in any way to have knowledge about me, nor what kind of experience I have.
Overall, I felt that in 13 years and several interview situations, this was the best one I had experienced. Even though it was still a structured interview, it just felt better than all the previous ones I had. Even though there are no guarantees, I feel that I did well in the interview.
Should I get this job, Jo and I will be working in different buildings, so our fuel costs will go up to some extent, but the job will almost double my current salary. That would go a long way towards getting us completely debt free, including the Mobile Suites.
However, there is one drawback. The state’s retirement system calculates the last three years one’s employment in determining what that individual’s retirement benefits will be. So, if I get the job, I will likely work for another three years.
That is a bummer, but an extra advantage to that is that I could then afford to get yet another really nice camera lens. Every cloud has the potential of a silver lining.
Wish me luck.
I hope…I hope.