Friday, July 01, 2005

On interviews...

So I've been looking for a job for a solid month now, and pretty regularly for a while before that--maybe another two months. I've heard from one place, but that ended up not working out. Other than that, silence.

Now I have an interview at a software company for a Marketing Associate position on Wednesday! Yeah!! And I talked to someone else about a job possibility, too.

In both these phone calls, the potential employer was concerned that all I could do was graphic design. This bothers me a little, because it's a slight on the profession. "What, you can only teach? We were really looking for some other qualities." "Oh, I'm sorry. We were looking for a programmer who can also do the accounts for us." "An accountant? Do you also answer phones?" "Now you say here on your resume that you are a brain surgeon....tell me if you know anything about maintenance work as well..."

Okay, so maybe I'm taking it a little out of proportion, but it's like a Minister of Music/Youth. It means they don't want to/can't spend the money on two positions, and feel that your position is the one to be compromised. Why doesn't the pastor ever lead the music? Or the Marketing VP come up with the copy for a letter he's sending out?

Granted, graphic design does have its fingers in several fields. Marketing, Public Relations, Art, etc. And I know I can do everything required of both employers. So...the question I compromise? Once last year I was offerred a raise if I changed my position from graphic designer to Administrative Assistant/Graphic Designer. I turned the offer down because I didn't want anything to do with being an administrative assistant. I don't like doing stuff like that. I want my resume to say Graphic Designer, not Administrative Assistant.

At the company I'm interviewing for on Wednesday, the things I would be asked to do are not administrative kinds of things; they seem a lot like graphic design to me. Things like ads, sales collateral, websites, press releases, communications inside the company and out, e-mails to customers, and event planning management (I wrote them all down while he was listing them). Anyway, all of these things are in some way related to graphic design. They all take layout, adherence to a certain look, etc. And several of them sound like fun design opportunities. But I think the employer was also saying it would require copy writing and some other things. He said graphic design would be 50% or more of the job. When I was offered the Admin. Asst. job, I was told graphic design would be 40% of the job, but--knowing my boss--I knew I would have to fight for that 40% every day, and it would be very easy for it to go completely by the wayside. I don't know the boss here, so I don't know what I'm up against.

Thinking of the responsibilities listed above brings up the question of how honest do you be in an interview? My conflict is this: I want to be as honest as I can be. I never want to go into a job where they expect me to be an expert at something I've never seen. It wouldn't be pretty for either of us. On the other hand, I am a fast learner. Just because I've never done it before doesn't mean that I can't do it, and that I won't be able to do it very well within a short period of time.

For example: the website maintenance. The employer said he saw my website and was impressed (or "it looked good") and showed it to the web programmer, who thought the same thing. (THANK YOU, JOHN, FOR YOUR HELP!!) But I felt compelled to tell him that that is the only website I have designed. I explained to him that I used my website to learn HTML and CSS, and now I feel comfortable with them. I am not an expert, and don't know Flash or anything like that, but I'm comfortable with web design. Was that a bad thing to say?

I don't think so, because it was the truth.

Also, about copy writing. I have done it for Texas Life, but not very much. I did the ads and some of the flyers, but all the legal wording and information about the product was already provided for me because of strict compliance parameters. So I've never written a memo to the company, or an e-mail sales push to customers. But I think I could do it. I'm a good writer (I hope), and I think I can do that. Give me just a little instruction and let me go! :)

And about salary. On the job posting, it says the job I'm interviewing for pays between $35-45K. That's really good for us! However, for some dumb reason, the employer still required that I include my salary requirements. That makes me so mad! They know what they're willing to pay! It just hurts the potential employee in every way. Let's say I don't even know who the company is. If it's Mom and Pop Print Shop, I've just shot myself in the foot by asking for $35K, because they wouldn't be able to pay that much (and I could have let them know that I could work for less). If it's Disney, they've just got their cheapest employee at $35K! But I didn't know who they were to know to ask for more!

Now, with this company I'm interviewing for, I had an advantage, because I 1) know who the company is, and 2) know their basic range. I took the middle ground and asked or $40K. Today on the phone I was asked if that was what I really was looking for. It sounded like they weren't willing to pay that much (if they're paying according to experience, I really don't have much experience), so I back-pedalled a little bit and said I was looking for $40K, but $35K would be okay. Jon said that was a mistake, and it probably was. Although in reality we could live on $30K, so I'm still $5K in the black, right? I mean, you've got to give me a little credit. For a month now I haven't heard anything from anyone, practically. I don't think I have a right to be picky at the moment! If it means knocking five grand off my salary, then so be it.

I just wish that with all this honesty I'm giving them, they would give me a little, too. Tell me how much you're willing to pay me, and I'll tell you if I'm okay with that.

I hate looking for a job. The self-promotion, best-foot-forward, one-word-could-ruin-your-chance-at-a-job, and every other super-hyphenated phrase I can think of. It just stinks. I want to do my job. I want to be busy. I want to do well. And I want to get paid a fair amount and have fair responsibilities. I'm not asking for special treatment or huge amounts of money. I just don't want to be demeaned.


  1. Amen sister! Preach on!

    I saw this special on CNN the other day about this guy calling our generation the "Why" generation. Basically, because we ask why we have to dress a certain way or act a certain way or give people tons of respect and awe even if they don't deserve it. He didn't make a case for himself, so I'm thinking he doesn't really know what he's talking about.

    What I thought, was why not ASK! They don't seem to respect us or really help us or even tell us the truth, or gaurantee us a job. So why not ask why and look out for yourself!

  2. I agree that looking for a job is that worst way to spend a day, a week, a month, etc. And, I, too, always wanted to know information up front in the interview, then let me decide if I want it or not. Apparently, the rest of the work world (led by men) are into negotiating instead of plain dealing.

    Take heart; this won't last forever, but neither will it be the last time you'll have to do this (unless you're self-employed).