Personality and Interviewing

I know I’ve stuck by my girl Dr. Meg Jay saying that identity capital can be the reason someone gets the job over you, but what about personality? Sometimes your personality is the reason why you don’t get the job.

Maybe you just don’t fit into the culture of the company. I know Zappos has a very specific atmosphere they want to maintain in their office. I personally think that’s smart. It is a good way to keep moral up at the office and give good service. Take South West for example, they have such great service! They hire people for a positive personality that can work in some of the hardest areas of hospitality.

You also might not get the job if the interviewer just “doesn’t see it”. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. I can’t say I blame the interviewer either. This can happen a lot when you’re working very closely with one other person. If your personalities don’t mesh, but instead mix like oil and vinegar then there’s a chance it could affect your work.

So what do you do? The way I see it is you have two choices:

1) Find a company that has a culture you fit into.

It is perfectly acceptable to say you do not want to change. You are who you are. Then fine a job that suites you. Are you really quiet and shy? Maybe a salesperson isn’t the best choice for you. Do you have a lot of expendable energy? Maybe you can focus that in a job that involves more physical activity. You might need to think outside the box or maybe you need to come back into the box and reach for something that’s not as extreme. You want to find a place where people are like you. They might not think the same or have the same talents, but they have similar personalities.

2) Be aware of your “unfavorable” qualities.

Are you a very talkative person? I think of Daisy Wick from Bones… I don’t know if you watch the show but Daisy Wick is an intern who is a very fast paste talker. Her boss, Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, is a very serious person who likes her facts. Needless to say Dr. Brennan let Daisy go because they did not work together very well. Long story short Daisy realized her “unfavorable” quality and how to restrain it. She staid true to herself but also made herself easy to work with for anyone.

Which is better? I honestly don’t know. I’m going to assume it depends. It depends on how you feel. Obviously there are cases where not getting the job outside of the job description is not professional or acceptable. There are the obvious discrimination of sex and race, but we’re talking about personality. These two examples I would have to say are legitimate.  I think they’re legitimate because they directly affect work atmosphere and potential.

What do you feel about this? And what would you do if you were in this position? 

 

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Dr. Meg Jay from The Defining Decade – 30 Is Not The New 20

Check out my girl, Dr. Meg Jay! She’s on TED talking about her lessons for twentysomethings.

I did a post series on her book, The Defining Decade, where we learned about the importance of using our twenties to build of future in work, family and personal life. Listen to this talk, read some of my posts, and take the time to read The Defining Decade. If you learn and act, you will be better prepared than most of your peers.

“Thirty is not the new twenty, so claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.” ~Dr. Meg Jay

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Where Have I Been!?!?

Oh my goodness it feels like years since I’ve written a new post! I apologize to all of you readers and I thank you for the continued support of comments and views while I was away. And a very merry welcome to new followers!

As you may know, I am a production assistant for Sesame Workshop, meaning I work at Sesame Street helping with a variety of tasks to make creating the show possible. The last few weeks have been crazy busy! We’ve been at the studio creating new pieces for the show. Although I can’t give you any clues as to what we did, I can tell you that I am surrounded by so many creative and talented professionals. The team never seizes to amaze me, the writers especially. The writers are so talented in creating content that is educational and entertaining for children, but also have content for the parents, guardians, babysitters, nannies, teachers or whoever is watching the children.

Since I’ve been away so long, I thought I would share with you the type of work I have been doing while I was away…

Studio

Our studio is at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. The studio has been there from the very beginning! When we are shooting at the studio I have a variety of tasks to complete so everyone else can do their job smoothly. Let me give you a generally run through of my day…

The day before I will usually receive the running order. The running order is basically our shooting schedule for the day. I print and distribute copies to everyone the day before so they know if there have been any changes and what to have ready first. Some people receive timed running orders, which are the same thing but someone has written the actual times of when we should be doing what and how long it should take. This is how the producers, stage manager, director and a few others can see if we’re on time or not.

In the morning I come in and immediately check my email. Even though I handed out the running orders the night before anything can change in a matter of hours… minutes really. Sometimes there are no changes and sometimes I have to start all over again. Either way, in the morning I hand out any running orders to people who weren’t there the day before and put up two extra large printed copies on the studio doors and talent doors. During the day the production stage manager will cross out what we’ve completed so everyone knows where we are. And it’s a real motivator to see how much we’ve done!

In addition to my running around with running orders (see what I did there 😉 ) I set up snacks and waters in the control room, hand out walkie talkies, refill water coolers and make sure the stage manager has waters on set for the talent. You may have seen my quality snack presentation on my Instagram. These tasks are small but I take pride in them. The little things need to get done so the big project can be fully functioning.

At a break before lunch I check in to see who needs lunch orders. There might be a vocal recording or meeting during lunch, these people will need personal lunches ready for them. These people could be talent, producers, directors, clients, international partners… basically there’s a potential I’m getting lunch for someone who is important. I need to coordinate my time to make sure I can get all the lunch orders at a time that is not interrupting their work schedule, order the food with enough time for it to arrive on time, and set it up before the lunch break. Taking these lunch orders gives me an opportunity to meet some pretty amazing people. Taking lunch orders and going on coffee runs is how I first met a lot of people at Sesame who are the reason why I work here.

The rest of the day is a little less planned out. I can get a random phone call to go on a run to pick something up for the director or an email saying we’re making changes that I need to notify people of. Sometimes I have time to observe on set. I learn so much from just observing. It’s also a great time for people to learn more about me by coming over chatting when they have a break.

Studio time can be a little hectic. I can wake up at 5am and not be back in my precious bed until after midnight. Normal call time for me is 7:30am at the studio, but depending on the work load I might come in earlier to set up. A normal wrap time can be from 6pm – 9pm. On long days we work more than twelve hours. I’ve learned how to get into a routine to keep me going for an entire week. You learn to adapt your lifestyle to what work asks of you. There are weeks when I’ll wake up, go to work, go home, have dinner, shower, go to bed and never see my roommates. It can be tiring but studio time is my absolute favorite! I would rather be on set than anywhere else!

Gala

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I was asked to help the stage manager for our Gala. You may have seen my pictures on Instagram for this as well. I was an assistant stage manager for the Sesame Workshop benefit dinner where we honor people for the extraordinary achievements and raise money for Sesame productions. The Gala is basically a dinner and a show. We have celebrity hosts, Muppet bits and a musical act. This year we had George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth as our hosts and the PS22 Chorus for the musical act. A stage manager’s job is to make sure the show runs smoothly and talent has their cues. This was a one day project so we arrived early for a meeting with the director. When I say “we”, I mean the 3 camera men, the teleprompter, the other assistant stage manager, the stage manager, the assistant director, the director and myself. The director went over the script with all of us to share his vision of when shots and entrances would take place. I was out in charge of all the Muppeteer entrances. I marked up my script to see who had to be where, when and with what.

I loved working the Gala because I had never done it before. It was kind of similar to my theater experience in high school, but I was never actually a stage manager. It gave me new exposure to something that I think I could do one day.

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks but I love the chaos. The constant need of things getting done gets my adrenaline pumping so I can keep going throughout the day. What I’ve learned from my time at Sesame Workshop is to do everything that is asked of you to your best potential and do it with a smile.

If you have a job that at first glance might not look too important, look again. You’ll be surprise how much you would be needed if you weren’t there. Make an impression by taking yourself and your job seriously. Go above and beyond the normal. It’s a great opportunity to show your potential, but most importantly you will be happier at your job.

Quick Tip #0026

Keep everything!

You never know when you’re going to have to refer back to something. Someone may ask you a question where you’ll need to pull up an old document or even refer back to an old e-mail. Another co-worker showed me her work flow once…

For her e-mail she created a folders for projects and co-workers. This way she was able to quickly find an old e-mail.

For important documents that were updated regularly she saved them with the day’s date. Every time she made an edit she would “save as” and update the date. The old dates were placed in an archive folder.

Archive folders and organizing e-mails with folders can really be a life saver.

Quick Tip #0025

Know names!

Imagine its your first day in the office. You get a tour around the office. On this tour you will probably be introduced to the physical layout of the office and many people. Lets face it, those tours are always way too quick, you’ll never be able to remember it all. So what do you think is the most important piece of information to remember (besides remembering where the bathroom is)?

NAMES! Try to remember as many names as possible. Its a lot more impressive to know someone’s name on the first day than to remember the copy code for the copy machine. Someone will always be able to remind you or help you with any questions you have. Especially if you’re a friendly person who asks for help by using their name!

Quick Tip #0024

Have a copy of your resume and cover letter as a PDF.

A lot of recruiters are like the rest of the world, they use their phones to do work. They are so many different formats your resume and cover letter can be looked at. It should be something you think about when you’re formatting your cover letter. Saving it as a PDF can save the formatting work you’ve done to make the layout just right and guide their eyes to the important parts.

Try it for yourself. Save it as a PDF then check it on different devises.

Quick Tip #0022

Talk to someone from Human Resources.

You’re probably thinking that obviously you know to do that because you want to get hired… and they’re the ones that do the hiring. But I’m talking about more than getting an interview. I’m talking about talking to someone from HR to gather information to prepare yourself for future interviews.

Think about it… HR  hires the people… shouldn’t they have the best advice on what to wear, how to format your resume, what you should and shouldn’t ask in an interview… They know the answer to every question you could possibly have about interviewing and applying!