Interviews: Take a Leap and Book a Flight

Posted on September 9, 2019


Today’s Buzz is by Susan Barkman (Twitter & Linkedin)

What I am watching: Golden Girls

What I am working on: Public engagement for our Animal Services code revision

What I am looking forward to: Three day photography class at the Colorado Sand Dunes!

Facebook reminded me that three years ago I was in Portland. You would not know by my Facebook posts that I was visiting Portland for a job interview. It was a risk because I was paying for the trip. But I took a leap and booked a ticket anyways. 

I flew to Portland because the other option was a Skype interview which I felt put me at a disadvantage and I wanted to give myself the best shot at the job. Skype interviews are hard especially when it is a group interview. It is harder to pick up on body language and visual cues that might help you know how it is going or when someone is getting ready to speak. They lack the flow of an in-person interview. 

(Pro tip: During a Skype interview, prop your laptop so the interview committee isn’t looking up your nose when you speak.)

I also wanted to get a better sense of my potential co-workers. Sitting in the waiting area you see how people treat each other. In the interview, I figured out the decision maker wasn’t the person who would be my supervisor. Based on the way they interacted with each other and the different ways they interacted with me, I knew it might not be the best situation. If it had been a Skype interview, I am not sure it would have been so clear. 

Since I had never been to Portland or the Pacific Northwest, it was important to see the city that I might be calling home. Living in Colorado, I’m used to 300 days of sunshine and I had concerns about living in the Portland area since they only have about 140 a year. That is a big change in weather and I wasn’t sure if it was for me. It was sunny during my visit so I may never know if it is for me. In addition to the weather, I wanted to get a feel for the city and figure out if I wanted to live there. I did touristy things and went for walks through town and tried to see myself really living there. (I did actually really love Portland!)

I spent time looking for housing, in case I was offered the job. If you accept a job that requires moving, the second thing you do is figure out where you are going to live. Being able to see options was helpful in learning about the different neighborhoods, commuting distances, and how much it would cost and the quality of housing.  

Ultimately I didn’t get the job, but I never regretted flying in for the interview. I would definitely fly again in the future to make sure a job is right. Portland is a beautiful city with awesome stories, and I’m excited to jump on the Oregon trail for #ELGL20 in Portland!

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