These are tough economic times. I know. It's been about four years since I left my job as a college academic adviser in order to pursue the more flexible lifestyle of a work at home freelance writer. I love working from home, learning new things every day and networking online and in person with fabulous people. Lately, though, I've been feeling like something's missing, like I'm ready for another change. I kind of miss the structure of getting ready and going someplace every day. I miss the sense of purpose it gives me to leave for a job, and I miss the social interaction of working with others. That's why I began to look for additional employment. Notice I said "additional". I have no intention of leaving my writing and blogs behind!
I've been a bit conflicted about the type of job I'd like. Should I work full time in order to receive a steady salary with benefits? Do I just want to have a part time gig so that I can continue to be available to my children? There are so many things to consider that I decided not to rule anything out. I applied for several different kinds of opportunities, and I've been excited about exploring each one.
That is until I showed up for my interview at a local Pittsburgh campus of University of Phoenix last week. That experience was less than exciting for me. The events leading up to the actual interview were encouraging. The hiring process was rigorous, but I felt that showed they were serious about ensuring the quality of their candidates. I took an online assessment, received some information on the position and the benefits, then had a telephone interview. After the phone interview, I was told that I'd meet with the hiring manager in person to continue the interviewing process. Great.
I was excited, but a bit nervous, when the day arrived for the interview. The position was for an Enrollment Advisor, and the information I received led me to believe that it was a very similar role to my previous advising position. In fact, the webinar I listened to about becoming an Enrollment Advisor specifically stated, "This is not a sales position." Okay. Again, great!
Except that one of the first things I'm told at the interview is that the campus location will be changing in about six months and that the job is, essentially, a sales position. Yep, seriously. To the institution's credit, I was asked on the phone if I would be willing to travel elsewhere, as there were plans to relocate the campus to another Pittsburgh location. I just found it a bit odd that I was told they still don't know where that location would be, but the change would occur in about six months. Really? I have a bit of a problem committing to a job when I don't know where I'd have to drive. As it stands, the ciurrent location is a little over an hour from my house.
Things only went downhill from there. I was prepared for the fact that it would be a behavioral interview. The telephone interviewer told me as much. However, the interrogational approach came as a bit of a shock to me. I was interrupted between each portion of my first answer to point out ways in which I could be more specific. When the interviewer told me to feel free to take five or six minutes to write down my answer, it just hit me that I didn't want to spend another five or six minutes wasting my time or theirs. So I politely told the two gentlemen conducting the interview that I would actually like to end the interview right here and explained my reasonining.
They were actually very polite and gracious, and I left feeling a bit defeated. I felt like I had failed in some way. After taking time to reflect on the experience, I realized that this was not the position for me and that I made the right choice. To endure another half hour or more of such interrogation was pointless. If the job interview itself was that stressful, I can only imagine what the actual work environment would have been like. This may be a good fit others, and I don't know about University of Phoenix's quality of interaction, recruitment or education. I only know that it wasn't right for me, and it feels good to take action based on what I feel to be right.
Have you ever had an experience like this?