The latest interview debacle

I had my third interview from a Wyoming newspaper Monday. I botched it.

Usually I am a quite articulate person. I am able to express complex concepts and ideas simply, translate technical jargon into lay terms and generally say what I need to say quite well. Being interviewed for a job turns me into a blithering nitwit. I hope I’m overreacting.

For one, the editor was especially interested in my field of study—a rarity. He seemed very excited to be interviewing someone with a religious studies degree and asked me how I use my major in writing and developing stories. Even though I had specific key talking points written down on paper directly in front of me, I sputtered like a toddler trying to articulate the very thing I pride myself in: using the study of religion to gain insight into people and culture. I could have said something like: “Religion is one of the most important influences in major decision making from the level of government all the way down to an individuals’ personal choices and actions. It effects every aspect of a community from economics to legislature to development. Whether a person is devout or even an atheist, the beliefs of the community and decisions made by the religious majority effect each and every one of us.” Or something like that. But, No. I can’t even remember what I said. I mentioned Tim Tebow at some point in time during the interview, but I am kicking myself because I let my nerves get the best of me.

Do you want to know what the worst part was? I’ll tell you. It was when, near the end of the interview, the editor mentioned he thought the paper was lacking in coverage of the religious community. Duh! Why didn’t I say that. I knew that. This is what I want to do. This is what I have been looking for in a job. This is why I went to freaking school in the first place—to find a job where I could report on the religious angle of the community. See! Botched it.

So aside from this horrific beginning, there were more troubles. I went completely blank on a basic journalistic question. The question: “If I were to send you into Saratoga (a near town that the paper covers as well) and told you to bring me back five stories, how would you do it?” Well obviously I would call up as many sources as I had to begin preparing and developing leads. I would call the Fire Chief, the Chief of Police, the Mayor, the City Council members, etc. You know, the common authority figures most towns have. I would preset meetings with them and ask before I went if they had any good leads for me. I’d probably visit town hall, scope out the local meeting places all towns have. Check public records to see if any new businesses were in the works. The normal stuff journalists to to develop stories.

What did I say? “Uhhhhh…. Hmmm… Well….” That’s what I said. OMG! Could it have been any worse. And then, when I did reply, it was along the lines of, “I would call my sources. You have to be prepared.” (Deep breath) Wow. Fail.

I also stumbled on a few other questions and I think I made myself look like an idiot. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. If anything I learned what NOT to do during an interview. I got some good questions to ponder out of it, too.  I just hope the other person had a worse interview than I did and they call me up on Friday and offer me the job. Here’s to hopin’ anyhow.

The job is perfect. I think that’s why I was so nervous. The more he talked about the plans he had for this little daily, the more my mouth began to water and visions of me as a reporter in Wyoming danced in my head. The people seem nice and welcoming. The layout of the paper is clean, bold and simple. It places a large emphasis on photos, which I love! The editor discussed how he wants to start developing more stories with impact on the community, an idea I absolutely agree with, and focus on social media. It sounds perfect for me in every way, especially with the financial state we are in. The lease is up in August, the rent is due, the bills are due, my student loans will be coming due soon and all we have to go on right now is me throwing papers (the worst job ever) and Ryan’s part time cooking job. Gigatours is still in the early development stage and profit is out of the question for awhile.

I honestly can’t stop thinking about how significant this would be for me and my family. How just one little job offer in another state could completely change the course of our lives forever and take us out of this poverty that we’ve know our whole lives. Like I said earlier—Here’s to hopin’.