November 15, 2000
Answering the Tough Questions


So ... tell me a little bit about yourself, Secra.

I'm a career administrative professional with 10+ years of office experience. I am particularly interested in communications, written and verbal, all facets of office administration, and anything related to computers, the Internet, business software, and web design/development.

(Yeah, I know my eyes are bloodshot. I haven't had any sleep in three days. My period finally started yesterday -- after an entire WEEK of hormonal nonsense -- and today it feels like I've got a Powerpress ® 3/4" Pipe Clamp attached to my uterus. Plus I've got an oozing blister on my right little toe from these stoopid shoes, three new zits on my chin and a hole in the crotch of my pantyhose the size of the fudking Grand Canyon. On top of everything else, we've got to be at the airport in one hour to pick up my daughter and we still haven't bought any of her groceries ... I screwed up my first e-mail to the Notify List people last night ... last time I checked, we still don't have a new President ... and I saw my first goddamn CHRISTMAS COMMERCIAL on TV this morning, more than a week before Thanksgiving.

Now let's hear a little about YOU.)

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Can you tell me why you're interested in working for Acme Computers?

It has long been my goal to work in an area of both professional and personal interest. The computer industry is just such an area of interest.

(Right now I would be "interested" in boiling steer carcasses at the Jell-O factory if it meant I would never again have to call my employer's eighty-five year old mother on her birthday and cancel dinner.)

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How would you evaluate your present firm?

The Totem Pole Company is an excellent company that has afforded me many fine opportunities.

(The company is great. It's my boss who causes me to grind my teeth into little pointy stubs, each and every day.)

And can you tell me why you're thinking of leaving?

Working at the Totem Pole Company for the past year and a half has provided me with an opportunity to familiarize myself with the Bay Area and to update my professional skills. I am now prepared to look for a position that better utilizes my strengths and experience, and which more closely matches my career vision.

(In my head, I left this place six months ago. It's the rest of me that is having a little bit of a problem packing up the koala bear plate and getting onto that elevator.)

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What experience have you had in pressure situations?

Throughout my career I have chosen positions  --  front desk, customer service, office administration, Executive Assistant  --   that require focus, finesse, and the ability to concentrate on multiple tasks simultaneously, especially in pressure situations. I feel it is something I do very well.

("Pressure situtations?" You mean besides marriage? And motherhood? And running a daycare for ten years? And online affairs? And divorce? And abject poverty? And oven mitt fires? And collapsing ceilings? And alcohol recovery? And packing up everything I own and moving to another state ... TWICE in one year? And melting Panda Toasters? And spending a year and a half of my life working for somebody whose idea of a great SecraTerri's Day gift is a jar of spaghetti sauce?)

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What would you consider to be your professional strengths?

I consider my professional strengths to include excellent written and verbal communication skills, reliability, accuracy and organizational ability. In addition, exercising discretion and focusing on multiple tasks are essential job strengths I have acquired.

(Plus I can peel an orange with my letter opener, type a bazillion wpm after only seven and a half cups of coffee, and change a fax cartridge without getting so much as a *molecule* of toner on my pristine white sweater.)

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Briefly describe the most significant responsibility you have had in your career and what it taught you.

I believe my current position as Executive Assistant to the CEO of a busy engineering firm has been the most significant, both in terms of responsibility and in terms of my ability to manage that responsibility. Finding creative solutions to complex problems has been the most exciting challenge of this position.

(Franz sent me out at lunchtime to buy a refrigerator once. I ordered it online ... and then I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting next to a fountain, reading a library book.)

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How confident are you that you can successfully perform the duties of this position and why?

I've carefully reviewed the job description you've provided me, and I see a close match between the duties as outlined and my own professional experience.

(I'm willing to bet my children's Christmas presents on it.)

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Tell me about a time when you tried and failed.

While at the front desk position at the Totem Pole Company, I designed an Excel database system for conference scheduling. However, I was promoted to the Executive Assistant position before I had a chance to implement the program. I should add that recently I was able to work with the current administrative staff, and my conference-scheduling program has now become company-wide policy.

(I dunno. I "tried and failed" to turn Franz into an organized, efficient manager who treats his employees with consideration and courtesy. When that didn't work, I "tried and failed" to not give a fudk about it. At some point you just have to stop trying.)

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So ... do YOU have any questions about Acme Computers, or about the position?

  • Does the position offer exposure to other facets of your organization?
  • What other positions and/or departments will I interact with most?
  • Does your organization encourage its employees to pursue additional education?
  • How would you describe the organization's culture/environment?

  • Where is the bathroom?
  • That's not decaf, is it?
  • Got any window offices available?
  • You're not gonna be springing a bowling league on me or anything, are you?
  • Mind if I take off my pantyhose? I've got a hole in the crotch the size of the fudking GRAND CANYON.

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When would you be able to start?

I would like to provide my current employer with at least two weeks' notice, and to assist in training my replacement, if requested.

(Actually ... if you've got a sofa around here somewhere, I was thinking of spending the night and starting first thing in the a.m.)

note to all HR professionals/potential employers/my mom:
i'm just kidding, of course.
i would never ever ever use the word "crotch" in an interview situation.
i'll say *pee-pee* instead, ok?

throw a rock