500 first dates

Back when I was looking for jobs, an interview was very exciting, the peak experience of the week.  What to wear?  What to say?  How to prepare?  Now I am helping to interview candidates for the open admin job (because NLNRU finally posted the open position) and finding this: I don’t like interviewing people.  I am shy, to begin with, and it also feels totally wrong to have other people being deferential to me.  Also, while I do think this is a pretty good job, I am struck by how hard it is to convincingly perform your enthusiasm for a job you’re not already in.  Everyone knows you’re supposed to have reasons for why this would be a great job for you and you would love doing it, but those reasons so rarely match up with the reality of the job as experienced by the people who are hiring for it.  And it’s squirmy work, sitting and listening to people work up their genuine enthusiasm for “having a job” and “not being broke” into simulated enthusiasm for aspects of the job that may or may not match up with reality.

After another cup of coffee, I’ll admit that the process has its interest.  The program is small enough that the person we hire for this gig will have the opportunity to affect how and what we do (and, we hope, will end up genuinely enthusiastic about it all).  Yesterday’s candidate, for example, had managed post-degree training courses for a different program at NLNRU and had some persuasive thoughts about how we could get into doing occasional weekend courses for the public or for people in specific professions (and why we would want to).  Any person we hire is going to have to cover a core set of functions–mundane stuff like answering the phones and reordering copier paper–but there’s also a lot of room for the person to make the job bigger and more ambitious.  We aren’t offering a giant salary, but part of the reason we have as much to offer as we do is that our chair went ahead and got the position reclassified to better match the areas that the talents and interests of the last person in it had led her to take on.  (The immediate impetus for doing this, about a year ago, was to try to keep her for longer, before her talents and interests led her right out of our program.  As you can see, it only worked for about a year; now, though, we’re in a much better position to hire someone of comparable caliber.)

Okay, off to get showered and go on some more dates.


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