At any given point during the last few days, if you've seen me talking to myself, I was most likely answering potential job interview questions, often ending with a shaking of the head and a muttered "No, don't say that ya dummy."
My big interview with Air North was this morning. I'd researched Air North, flight attendant blogs, interview question sites and even called up my cousin Katherine, who is a flight attendant. Basically I put to use my photojournalism training.
The was a saying in my journalism class at college, "Never ask a question you don't already know the answer to." I was hoping I would know all the answers to my prospective employers questions. I was also hoping the preparation would prevent me from a) imitating a robot b) telling inappropriate jokes and giggling c) shaking and weeping.
I spent the 30 minute car ride asking myself more questions while simultaneously reminding myself "smile, don't slouch, relax, be yourself, don't say that." I pulled in to Air North's slush laden parking lot, navigating around chunks of snow the size of small glaciers, feeling grateful for our 4Runner, Fi, who didn't take much notice. I looked at the time, I was 40 minutes early.
20 minutes of Candy Crush later, I couldn't take it anymore and I slowly headed towards the building, trying to find a path where I wasn't stepping in ankle deep slush and cold water. The howling wind took a fancy to my jacket and tried to whip to off me while making a hash of my carefully coifed hairdo. After a brief tug of war with the front door, I burst into the building dripping water, jacket half off, hair awry and tried to unobtrusively straighten myself.
Next, I had a photo taken by the receptionist. This would also be my ID photo if I was hired. My mantra of "smile and relax" was replaced by "smile, chin out, 45 degree angle" so after the photo all that remained of my mantra was "Smile!" At this I could feel my smile becoming stiff and grimace-like.
Here is the problem with getting to an interview early. I had a good 20 minutes in the waiting room, psyching myself out. "Be natural!" I scolded myself. I tried for the most natural yet professional pose I could muster in the waiting room chair. Jacket on my lap, no, no, jacket on the chair, jacket on my arm... legs crossed, legs not crossed. I may have ended up looking a bit like a contortionist, I'm not sure.
I tried to remember some of the preparation of the past few days but all I could call up was the name Krista, the contact name on the ad. I remembered this using a brilliant pneumonic mental device, and also, my name is Christa.
A professional smart-looking woman came down the stairs and with an outstretched hand and a smile on her face said, "Christa?"
"Krista, Christa," I said, in an epic brain fart. While I was giving myself a mental slap on the forehead, she gave me a queer look and introduced herself with a name I can not remember because I was to busy with my mental slap but I think it was Debra and I know it was definitely not Krista.
I proceeded to make things worse by trying to explain my earlier not-so-clever comment as we made our way up the stairs, down corridors and around corners. The door opened and I was confronted with a large conference table and two other interviewers. One of whom was Krista, duh.
The questions began. I remembered to smile three or four times but every time I checked I was slouching so I snapped myself upright. In hindsight I probably looked like I was dancing, I think "krumping" is what the kids nowadays would call it. That or having small seizures.
Aside from the grimacing and krumping my preparation did come in handy for the actual questions and I think I did okay. I didn't completely bomb anyway. They seemed happy that I already understood the nature of the job from my interview with Katherine and there were quite a few similarities to my job on a cruise ship. I answered the questions clearly and gave specific examples, I was totally prepared to be away for a week at a time, have odd hours and be on call and I had the family support to do this. I believe they were also happy that I'd done my homework and I managed to relate a few tidbits Katherine had told me.
When they asked me to give an example of great customer service I hit a complete brain block. All I could think of was the wedding I shot six hours away from home three weeks after giving birth. I'm pretty sure that doesn't apply to the world of air travel but it was all I could think of so I told it anyway. At one point they asked if I would be okay leaving my family for a week at a time I answered, "No problem at all, I love my son but I just spent two weeks at home with him and a week away would be great!" Thank goodness I wasn't interviewing for mother of the year.
My drive home was a little bit like the next day after having too much to drink, I kept wincing as I remembered stupid stuff I said.
All and all it wasn't perfect but it wasn't anywhere near the disaster that was my Princess Cruises interview, and I got that job! Now, I wait and hope my Aunt Nonie's angels come through for me.