I feel my interview went well. Last I spoke with 902, she made the impression that I was the candidate they were hoping to hire, and final arrangements would be made when 901 returned from vacation. When they (three people around a conference phone) and started saying, "We will start the formal portion of this interview now" I got a bit nervous, as 1) I didn't expect the switch from casual to formal in such a direct move, and 2) I was under the impression there would be no formal interview. In fact, at that last phone call with 902, she said, "As far as I'm concerned, the last 6 weeks in Juneau seems to us to be interview enough."
I know I interview fairly well. I don't get exasperated, I don't have awkward silences, and I have a wide variety of experiences to draw from. Had I realized this would be such a formal occasion, I would have done what most interviewees do and take a minute to think about that question that everyone asks: What are 3 strengths of yours? What are 3 weaknesses? Realistically, my answers were honest and strong, with the exception of my last weakness - I wholly admit it should have had a better answer (no, I won't tell you what I said.)
The interview lasted an hour, with a total of 12 questions. I talked about my ease with change, being able to relate with a large variety of people from different backgrounds and age groups, and knowing my skills to problem solve, think rationally in stressful situations, and work ethic would be a good match for working in tourism. I admitted being a part of such a large company after working the past year in a staff of 6-10 people would mean my propensity to accomplish tasks on my own (ie: I need to work on delegating) would need to be reevaluated if I were to be selected for the position.
There was good discussion at one point where they asked me what I felt the company needed to do now that they have a full year of being merged as HAP (formerly Holland America separate from Princess.) I suggested marketing themselves to the local community as being a transportation company instead of being available solely for cruise ships in the season. It seems HAP hasn't found it necessary to brand themselves outside of new letterhead and fliers, and more attention should be paid to that. Most people don't know what HAP is. 901 admitted that was a main discussion point at the end of season meetings this past September.
The hour went by very fast. It seemed at some points that 902 was interrupting my answers to add some comment or clarification, and I don't know if that was good or bad. I'm sure if I listened to myself I would cringe at some things, but overall, I am happy with it. There was the usual, "what do you see yourself doing in 5 years/10 years?" and I honestly answered I would be starting my coffee shop and in 10 being a successful business owner and active member of my community. Their follow up question asked how it would be beneficial for a large company like HAP, who tries to hire for long term growth of their business, benefit from hiring a person who was so pointedly looking to leave at some point. I was direct in saying something in the lines of - having a goal to be a business owner does not mean my talents will be in hibernation in the years leading up to that point. If I were to stay with HAP for the five years proceeding the start of my venture, only good things would come of it for HAP. I would hope that in those years, the management staff would have a solid team of well trained problem solvers, who grew to make the Juneau division the most successful port in Southeast. Recruiting would benefit from increased positive word of mouth and other divisions would have people who would want to transfer to our shores. Being in a place for a limited time doesn't mean that change can't happen and the company won't benefit. In fact, I think there are positive side effects to knowing there is a set end date. I ended with, I know Juneau would be a better division with me as a part of it - cocky, maybe, but clear.
So, who knows. I wish I would have recorded the interview. Jacob and I used to talk about how great it would be if employers used interviews as a learning tool instead of just a selection tool. Can you imagine if instead of being told you didn't get the job, they could reference specific answers as to why you didn't get it? There can be mock interviews, but nothing really compares to that moment, where your mind is pumping and you have to be on. Regardless of the result, I am happy to have more experience with formal interviews. I should have some word with in two weeks.