Is this your first job interview?

As stated in my previous blog post, I was laid off last year. With different things coming up I wasn’t able to fully focus on finding a job.

It being the holiday season I applied for seasonal/temp jobs from JCP, Sams Club, Target, etc.

I interviewed at two places and got both jobs on the spot. Thank you Lord! At one of the jobs as I was sitting there waiting to be called and making small talk with the others that were waiting…one of the other guys turned to me and asked..so is this your first job interview too?

Best compliment so far since turnings 26 this summer!

Advertisements

My last day of work

I haven’t updated in quite a while. I took a break because of my CPA exam which I PASSED! I do have another one tentatively scheduled for Jan/Feb. Depends on the progress I make on those long lectures and heavy workbooks.

Today is my last day of work. It has been a month shy of two years. I am thankful for the job I did have. It enabled me to study and pay off my student loans. I learned new software and honed my reconciliation skills. Definitely provided me examples of how I’m a self-starter and reliable. Unfortunately, office politics and my principles win out despite the free breakfast, free lunch, healthcare paid costs, PERS, and minimal gas expenses. I can no longer handle working for the department or the district.

Actually, I’m really hating these government jobs. Great benefits but I get a clear view of the underlying causes of bankruptcy and debt in the state.

Today, I opened up a goodie bag from my co-worker. It was filled with snacks to eat at work and something to wear for work. She also made me homemade fudge! I also received a shaped bamboo plant in a vase artistically filled with rocks and marbles. I’m going to miss the people I work with, but change is good and I’m excited!

Monday morning, I will be a Staff Accountant for the YMCA. I’m excited. I will be commuting by bus. It cost me $105 for a monthly unlimited bus pass. I will no longer experience stress over driving or traffic. I will sit and relax. Maybe I’ll sleep, read, or study. Anything at that point is better than driving in traffic; I should say sitting in traffic!

Continuing my journey of life: the good, bad, ugly, funny and entertaining. No doubt, there will be the entertaining!

Interviews: The ending

Monday. I took my lunch late. Things were hectic at the office.

I’m relaxing in my car.

I receive a phone call from my old boss, Nick.

Nick: Melanie! I got a phone call from Whittier. They’re probably going to call you soon. You probably got the job.

Mind you, I’m not one to believe in here say. I must hear it myself from the source or I won’t believe you.

Nick and I continue talking about other things.

Me: Nick! Sorry I’m getting another call. Oh its Whittier. I’ll call you back!

Me: Hello, this is Melanie.

HR: Melanie! Hi this is, K from East Whittier I’m calling you regarding the Accounting Food Specialist position. Are you still interested?

Me: Oh yes! Yes, I’m very interested!

HR: Oh good. We would like to offer you the job. When can you come in so you can take your TB test and have fingerprinting done?

So, I’m taking a personal day on Wednesday to get all that stuff done and taking half-day on Friday to get the results back.

I will have to write a post re-capping my interview experiences. It’s been quite an adventure, hasn’t it?!


Interviews: The Story of My Life II Update

Remember my Forever 21 interview experience? Read here if you need a reminder.

I was unable to call them back on Friday night. They called me Monday morning 10am. I decided to call them back on my lunch break. I took a late lunch Monday, not on purpose, of course!

I called back but the line was busy. I couldn’t get through. I felt bad only because I didn’t want them to think I was being rude or making them wait on purpose.

Monday afternoon on my lunch break I receive excellent news. News I will hopefully be able to share on Friday 🙂 Stay tuned!

Tuesday morning. I receive an email-she’s been trying to call me: ‘Please call me back, etc.’ I tell the initial interviewer I was unable to get through on the phone lines yesterday. I’ll call her at 3pm.

She replies with her work number and her cell number.

Hm….guess they really really want me.

I call her at 3pm. She wants to know my thoughts.

Me: “It’s $10,000 less than I make now and its a further drive for me. I can’t do it.

Her: Ok, I can’t really talk because there’s not much privacy but I will email you and it’s more than what you were expecting.

Me: I won’t be able to check my email for another hour.

Her: Oh ok, I’ll expect a call at 4:30

Me: Ok that sounds great. Thank you.

The email?

1. The CFO and President authorized a $0.50 increase. Wow?! $0.50 Forever 21 is a GROWING company. They’re opening stores internationally EVERY MONTH!

2. One hour of overtime each day. Again, this is an extra expense of my time mandated by the state of California to be rewarded by time and a half.

3. Estimated $1500 bonus every year. Estimate? Still can’t lock it and load? What is one person’s salary worth?!

My response: I am truly honored the President and CFO would authorize a pay increase. Unfortunately, I have another pending job offer in which the salary exceeds the yearly compensation Forever 21 has authorized. etc..

I didn’t hear back from them. I didn’t think I would. Why were they hounding me? I had the experience they needed at a pay rate they can easily afford. They would have the ultimate benefit. Me? I would have the benefit of the retail industry learning everything from sales and retail tax, international accounting, etc the greatest con? The further drive and the stress. My dad worked retail-he was a manager. He did not like it. He only lasted 6 months.

 

Don’t forget to stay tuned on the pending job offer! 🙂

 

 

 

Interviews: The Story of My Life II

Friday afternoon was the mother of all interviews. I’m not joking.

I received the call on Wednesday early evening. HR:  Are you available for an interview on Friday at 1:30pm? Me:  Actually, I’m going out-of-town at 2:00pm can it be earlier?

HR: 10am

Me: Ah..no, sorry.

HR: Ok, 1pm.

Me: Yes, that’s fine thank you.

Thursday afternoon. I receive a phone call from one of the Hiring managers. Melanie will you be available for interview on Friday at an earlier time? I have several people who may want to meet with you/interview, etc.

Me: No, sorry.

HM: Can you come into today?

Me: Oh dear. Sorry, I can’t.

HM: Ok I’ll see you on Friday at 1pm.

Friday 1pm.

I meet AP manager. Interview with her for about 15mins. At the end of the interview she says I have a few more people I want you to meet. [Oh dear I wonder how long this will take]

I wait. Probably 3-7mins. I think it may have been 10-15mins.

This time I meet Carmen, in charge of sales tax.

Interview for at least 10 minutes. Wait again. For the next person.

Stephen. He didn’t really tell me what specific department he worked in. Except that he’s worked in all of the different departments. This interview was a little bit longer: 20 minutes.

Wait again for the next person.

SURPRISE! It’s the Controller.

She was nice. I really liked her; very personable and she talked. a lot. good talk though. at ease talking. She’s the only interviewer I feel has actually taken the time to listen to what I had to say about myself. Not the typical what I can offer about the company but what makes me and what’s shaped me-the university i went to. why i chose the particular university, etc. She commented on what I said and supplied her life experience as well. It was refreshing. as if she really tried to get to know me.

At the close of the interview… she says I have to meet a few more people. Oh dear. Ok that’s fine.

She walks me to the exit and says she’ll be in touch.

It’s 3:15 GOODNESS GRACIOUS I’m running late! I don’t actually get to leave the building til around 3:30 because the first interviewer wanted to speak to me before I left.

I don’t actually get out of hairy LA traffic til 4:oo. At 4:30ish my butt is already hurting/sore from sitting/driving, etc.

You think my interview day ends there right?

WRONG! 4:52 cell phone is ringing.

Its original interviewer. The CFO wants to meet me even if it’s over the phone.

Me: I’m actually driving right now

HM: Oh when do you think you’ll be able to talk?

Me: I’m actually driving out-of-town.

HM: Oh really?

Me: If CFO doesn’t mind my talking on the phone while I’m driving and the noise, etc.

HM: Yes, she really wants to meet you.

We talk. on speakerphone. while I’m driving.

[I realize I don’t usually type with the periods cutting me off but that’s my thought process at the moment]

We cut in and out only twice. I’m surprised I didn’t drop the call since I was driving in the mountains.

CFO and I are done talking. She’s going to put me on hold while she talks to HM.

HM comes back on the line. The CFO really likes you. Will you be able to give me an answer about accepting the job offer today?

[TODAY?! I can’t give you an answer today! I’m hardly in the mood to deal with such a decision]

The biggest reason as to why I could not accept this offer on the spot…. is the salary.

Its $10,000 less than what I make now. I can’t accept it on the spot even if I’ll be hourly, working overtime, and having 3 bonuses every year.

Back to the phone call. I didn’t know what to do or what to say. I told HM I’ll have to make a few phone calls and that I’ll call her back. Honestly, I wanted time. I wanted to talk aloud about it. I wanted someone to hear me out and tell me what I was really thinking. Help me think it through. I dialed my mother’s number frantically. I’m upset because 1. I was expecting a one hour interview TOPS. 2. I was running late. 3. They’re hounding me

I dial my mother’s number incorrectly. I finally get a hold of her and wouldn’t you know?! I get a dropped call with my mom of all people and of all times to get a dropped call!

So that’s that. I can’t accept the job even though I get the feeling they really need me but they can’t provide me with the salary I’m wanting. I even told them my minimum which is $4,000 that I’m making now.

I’ll make $10,000 less closer to home. Not farther.

By the way, if you haven’t noticed. I’m not very timid when it comes to my schedule anymore. If they need someone they’ll make arrangements. I wouldn’t want to work for an organization that doesn’t care about another’s schedule.

Interviews: My Life Story

I don’t know how many interviews I’ve been to the past few months. I probably have at least 2 every month since I’ve been back on the job market.

 

I had told my friend I have another interview this Wednesday… she said, “Another one? How many has that been now?!”

 

To be quite honest, I haven’t kept track. I probably should though.

 

I would like to think I’ve gotten quite used to the interview process. Basic questions pertinent to the job, how have you handled certain situations, how would you handle certain situations. They’re looking for key words: “I don’t take it personally, I do my best, I remain calm and polite,” etc.

 

There are also phrases interviewers say to you… “Please feel free to call me regarding any questions or concerns you may have.” “You’ll be hearing from us within a week via email or phone.” “HR will contact you with the next step” Dreaded words right? Oh, it’s also a good sign when they walk you to your exit, elevator, stairs, etc.

 

This past week I don’t exactly know how to read how the interview process went.

 

#1. They found out I’m still employed… “How many days/weeks notice must you give your employer?” Interviewer did lay out that she may be “jumping the gun,” to use her phrase of words.

 

#2. “What are your hobbies?” Answer: Blah, blah, etc. My family is musically talented and we are occasionally asked to provide special music. This past Sunday my sister sang for a wedding and I played the piano for her…etc. Their comment: “Wow! We may ask your family to perform at our events.”

 

#3. If you have any questions please feel free to contact HR. [Ugh, HR the dreaded letters] they will direct your question to one of us and we will get back to you.

 

#4. I like to gauge the probabilities of a second interview, job offer, etc. I ask how many people they are planning to interview or have applied, etc. “How many people are you planning to interview?” The demeanor of the interviewer became slightly rude as if I overstepped boundaries… “Four.”

 

 

 

The next step—a second interview with the Finance team consisting of eight members. The most I’ve had is 3. Apparently, this is going to be gauge how well I fit in the team.

 

Wednesday I have an interview with a school district. Friday I have an interview with a Hotel in Anaheim.

And so the cycle starts…again.

So much for preparation

I had a METRO job test for Accounts Payable yesterday at 12:30 in the afternoon.

I’ve been talking with different people about the tests; my boss and my mom both know people there who have been finding out about the test.

From the information other people were telling me it was dealing with POs, invoices, accounting terms, calculations, etc.

I had driven around the area on Thursday to gauge how far away it was from my job. (About 5-10minutes)

I left work at 12:10 and got at Metro around  12:20. HUGE building and very nice.

There was a group of 30 people there. We were ushered upstairs (4th floor) in a classroom-type room.  I was expecting computer tests right? Wrong! They were scantron tests!

As I sat there, I was hit with a major thought, I FORGOT my calculator!

Oh well, let’s do this and  see how it goes…

We had 1hour and 40 minutes to complete the test and it was 50 questions. Only about 5 questions were non-calculation type questions.

I sat there and used my scratch paper-I did it all by hand. I also remembered a few of my SAT taking skills. Ruling out the wrong multiple choice answers.

Two hours later the results were being read, I wasn’t expecting my name to be called but then again I didn’t know what the pass rate was.

Surprisingly enough, I passed! I was in complete shock! Oh and the girl I was sitting next to had TWO CALCULATORS!

Twelve of us passed and moved onto the typing test. I didn’t know how fast I typed but the requirement was 30 wpm. I most definitely knew I typed faster than 30 wpm.

My typing speed: 62 wpm with 9 errors in 5 minutes.

oh and the pass rate? 70% I had to get at least 37 questions right.

This was so not any of my skills! Thank you God, I know it was all you.