Interviews: It’s weird being on the other side.

For the first time in about six years, I'm on the other side of the table. I'm returning to the "regular" work force, having been gone two years. This is the first interview I have had since landing my last corporate job. It's interesting to be interviewed again, now that I myself have experience interviewing people. It changes things.

I find myself spending as much time thinking about the quality of the questions, what they mean, and what the interviewer is looking for, as I do answering them. I was much more comfortable last week, even when I interviewed with a group, than I ever was before. Some of it is confidence. After building up a business I really feel like whatever they throw at me can't be all that difficult, especially if I'm willing to put in entreprener-type hours. Some of it is that I'm older and not so concerned about failing or screwing up.

It surprises me, the things people want to know, and what they don't care about. The fact that I have been blogging since Mar. 2003 and have a site that is pretty popular usually gets a nod and then on to the next question. I'm not sure if people don't understand or don't care. I keep thinking I would love to go work somewhere and have them ask me to blog as part of my job, because I've done it for so long, but I think most people still perceive this as a silly hobby.

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The most popular question is still "are you detail-oriented?" That hasn't changed. I'm not really sure what it means though. I want to say "at what level of detail?" There's also "tell me a time when you disagreed with someone, and how you handled it." I'm married now, so I have plenty of examples ;-)

The best question I got, I think, was "what one question have you not yet been asked, that you expected to be asked?" Nice. My answer could say a lot about the way I perceive the company and the position. Luckily I had been thinking of several things that I hadn't been asked, so they were at the tip of my tongue.

There are good and bad things about returning to corporate America. Wherever I end up, I think I will have fun, but I'll have to put a lot of my ambitions and ideas aside for now. I just keep reminding myself that life is a marathon, not a sprint, and there is still plenty of time to pursue my goals.