Monday, March 28, 2011

Mad skills

About a month ago, I applied to be a part-time tutor.  As a part of the interview, I had to teach someone to do something bakey/crafty via Skype.  Thanks to Skippy Mom, I made key lime pie.

So you know, the pie was easy to make and turned out delicious.  But at some point in the interview, I decided to go "off message," if you will.  I had gotten sticky stuff on my sweater and a gomer was asking me why I -- a high school, college, and law school graduate -- was qualified to tutor high schoolers on algebra and grammar.  I had just spent $20 on pie ingredients and I while I wanted to bake the pie, I didn't want to rush it on someone whose most incisive question was, "Do you have access to reliable transportation?"

So I pretended that I was putting all the ingredients in the mixing bowl.  (Don't worry if you get eggshells in the bowl, it's really easy to get them out!)

I pretended I was stirring the pie filling.  (The great thing about this recipe is that it gives you a really creamy consistency!)

I pretended that I was pouring the filling in the pie crust.  (Now it's important to pour the filling evenly so it doesn't leak through the graham cracker crust!)

I pretended to put the pie into the oven.  (Now obviously this pie won't be done in time, but I'll email you to let you know how it turned out!)

At the end of my interview, the interviewer asked me whether I had any questions.

At this point, I figured I either had the job in the bag, or I had nothing to lose -- and since I was so annoyed that I had to bake to prove my competence at a subject totally unrelated to baking, I said, "So what is the deal with asking me to bake or craft?"

The interviewer got a really smug look on his face and said, "Well Ru, after doing literally hundreds of these interviews, I have to say that by forcing someone outside their comfort zone, I learn a lot about them.  I figure out how they will react under pressure.  I've gotten really good at reading people."

Outside, I said, "Oh, okay."

Inside, I said, "Well, you didn't notice I didn't really make a pie.  So who's fooling who right now?"

And yes, I was offered the job.  

(Which I later had to turn down, since their mandatory training session took place during working hours.)

A song from a band you hate: "Daughters," John Mayer.  (Yes, I know he's not a band.)


  1. I will always hate the "What is your worst quality?" question. What do they expect me to say? "I have terrible body odor and hate puppies, America and clouds shaped like unicorns."

    Then you of course turn that into a positive "However, I find that having a terrible cloud of sweat stank around me keeps distractions from co-workers to a minimum and puppies, America and cloud shaped unicorns are things that are known to cause people to be chronically late and jam a copy machine."

  2. Great post! Job hunting really, really, really stinks.

  3. What an unexpected way to interview for a tutoring job.
    I agree with Colt, I hate the "worst quality" question. I always want to say "I don't really care for talking to people unless I have to" and then make it a positive by saying "at least you don't have to worry about me wasting time by socializing!" Heh.