Interview Questions

1.  Tell me about yourself

I’m a person who is driven to make things.

“Things,” you say, “ is a very ambiguous term.”

“Quite right,” I respond.

An ambiguous term is necessary when describing what I like, because my interests do not fit into any specific category. My projects range from websites to patch panels for a rust hole on the fender of my 1966 VW to small sculptures made from computer parts. What do photography, auto restoration, blogging, web design, strict file naming practices, and video editing have in common?  After a long time I realized that all the things I enjoy entail making, fixing or beautifying “things.” Most recently “things” has come to include ideas. I’ve been known to take classes like statistics and macroeconomics simply because I enjoyed working with the ideas so much.

2. What are your strengths

Brainstorming and research are probably my greatest strengths. When I need to learn new software, come up with ideas for a website, or figure out how to refurbish the sunroof mechanism on a (rather rare) 45 year old car, a combination of creative thinking and good search skills help me learn about others’ solutions or devise my own. Over the past few years, I’ve come to enjoy both of these processes. When presented with a new project or problem, I immediately brainstorm and research – it’s become a reflex.

3. What are your weaknesses

Perfectionism is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s easy for me to get fixated on little details. While this often produces good results, it also slows my progress. One of the ways I try to overcome this is by asking those around me for feedback – an external observer’s opinion often provides a new perspective and starts new chains of ideas. Another weakness is the tendency to jump headlong into something new and overwhelm myself. Pacing myself when learning or exploring new things isn’t one of my strengths.

4. Where would you like to be in your career five years from now

Ideally I’ll have a few years of working for a company under my belt and have branched out and started my own business doing web design, film making, and photography. I’m hesitant to go directly into business for myself for two major reasons. First, working for someone else will mean I get to practice my job, cementing the skills I’ve learned, without having to worry about running the business. Second, creatives can’t exist in a vacuum, and the water cooler conversations which take place in a larger (than one person) company will allow my skills to be honed through dialogue with co-workers. While I think a few years working for another company would help mature my skills, eventually I’d really like to run my own business. I’ve done this with film and photography work for the past few years, and I really enjoy the freedom it offers. My short career has been fairly geographically diverse so far, and I’d like to keep it that way. So geographically, my hope is that my career will have me somewhere unexpected in 5 years.

5. If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?

For me there are two classes of “disagreement:” moral and amoral. Ask me to do something that I find unconscionable or unethical and I’ll flat out refuse, stating why I can’t follow your instructions. On other issues I’ll argue my point and then let you make the decision. In past jobs, I’ve had to work in ways that I felt were less efficient or made an inferior product, but I was fine with it because that’s what my employer wanted

6.  What’s the most difficult decision you’ve had to make in the past couple years? how did you come to it?

I had the opportunity to take a paid trip to all parts of the UK,  two countries in South America, and a wide variety of US cities. During the trip I would have toured castles all over the UK, gone to Machu Pichu in, and seen the sights in a whole bunch of US cities. I would have stayed in nice hotels, eaten at good restaurants, and enjoyed the company of good friends during the 2-3 month trip. Of course, there was work to be done – carrying camera cases, setting lights, holding boom poles, downloading footage, and the like.

Though the job would have been fantastic in every respect, I turned it down. Instead, I took two semesters of a very heavy class load. My rationale was that the long term benefits of education would outweigh the short term benefits of traveling. If this kind of opportunity was available to me without education, better things would be available once I could offer more skills and expertise.

7. What kind of personality do you work best with and why?

I find it easiest to work with people who are sincere and moderately serious.  While I don’t have a problem with kicking back and having a good time or making work fun, silly frivolity and empty talk don’t go over well with me.




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