On honesty and job interviews

So there’s been some rumblings about a job for me back with the MotherCorp. I’ve had two chats with the program manager in the bureau-which-shall-remain-nameless: one two weeks ago, one this afternoon.

The first time around I was on the road with my sister, and gabbed away about life up north, myself, etc. for a good 20 minutes. She told me there were three openings in the area, in three different towns/cities. One permanent, news. One permanent, current affairs. One maternity leave, current affairs. I explained my preference, and said how I felt about belonging in current affairs. I talked about some of the stories I did up north. I was myself, as much as I could be, under the circumstances.

I didn’t hear anything for a while and the whole experience began to slip from my memory. Until I hit Quebec City on the way back from my epic trip to Montreal/Ottawa. And I was told by former colleagues there that someone had called for a reference. There was only one employer that had their contact info: the program manager from the bureau-which-shall-remain-nameless.

My heart leapt into my throat. Someone was calling my references. It had to be a good sign. I began to walk that delicate line between fantisizing and planning a move to the location of the permanent, current affairs gig. It was further west than I had hoped, but it would be doing what I WANTED to be doing. In a place I’d visited years ago. I could picture myself and Sully frolicking through the streets. It was beautiful.

When the woman called back with a human resources rep this evening, I was buzzing like crazy. The anticipation killed. This could be ‘the one,’ I thought. I began to think deeply and seriously about the flow of my life. I’ve always been an anti-fate-ist, but this was just too much Serendipity – even for me.

And then a little monkey wrench soared into my daydream: the job wasn’t the permanent current affairs gig in the dream-town. It was the permanent news gig in a beautiful city… just not the one I had been imagining.

They asked me again about my news vs. current affairs preference, and I told them the truth. It’s not that I don’t ever want to do news again. I know I didn’t really like it where I was. But why WAS that? Maybe there wasn’t enough to do. Maybe it was the environment. Maybe if I had more variety, I would have liked it better maybe if I got to do a more in-depth piece once in a while I would have wanted to stay. It’s hard to say.

After I hung up the phone, after they said they’d let me know within the week, I sat and wondered if I’d done the right thing. I told them the truth: that I feel much more at home doing current affairs, but at the same time I didn’t want to shoot myself in the foot. I know I’m qualified for this job. I had good answers and examples for all the questions they had of me. But I did tell them that I wanted to get back into a different type of job: that was my end goal.

If I had of said nothing, if I had of gone along like news made my blood pump, got me up in the morning, made me hungry… I would have the job in the bag. But because I was truthful, I may be on more precarious footing.

And I have to wonder (especially as I look at my bank account balance): is it really worth it to be 100% honest in a job interview?



7 Responses to “On honesty and job interviews”

  1. Megan Says:

    Hmmm. This is a tough one.

    This is easy for me to say, because I have a job, but I think it’s best to be honest about what you’re looking for. That’s the best way to ensure you actually get a job that you can be happy with.

    Now, the priorities might be different if you’re not starting off with a job. Looking for the perfect job takes a bit more time than looking for “any job”. But still, I think you did the right thing.

    Is the woman responsible for hiring for the Awesome Job? I started with the CBC in St. John’s after boarding for — and losing — a hosting job in Goose Bay. They called back and said I didn’t get the job, but they still wanted me to work for them. Actually, they said they wanted me to move to Labrador and do casual work. It didn’t end up that way: I ended up in St. John’s doing casual work, and then I got a permanent AP job in Inuvik.

    Does any of this help at all, or have I turned it into ME ME ME? πŸ™‚

  2. Mongoose Says:

    No, it’s not, especially in a Recession. But it’s also not a good idea to think there is such a thing as a “dream job” and that one can find it, especially at a young age and in a Recession. You’re better off to get a less-than-perfect job and make the best of it, than sit at home waiting for something better to come along. Especially for the obvious reason that you can always quit the less-than-perfect job if something better does indeed come along.

    • Jackie S. Quire Says:

      Hmm, well you brought up a couple interesting points. While I’m not intent on getting my dream job immediately, I would like to do something I enjoy doing. Maybe some of that is location and coworkers rather than simply job description… and maybe enjoying news reporting will require a slight change of perspective for me.

      Don’t get me wrong, if offered this job I’ll take it. I don’t have any other choice: if I say no, I drop off the priority hiring list.

      That being said, I think there’s a difference between making sure a job’s right for you (and being a little bit picky) and settling for just anything.

  3. Allison Buchan-Terrell Says:

    Hi Jackie,

    I just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog. I heard about it from Elizabeth at the Mothercorp (I interned at Spark). As a young journalist frightened about going out into the real world soon, it is really nice to read about your experiences.

    Anyway, to address your question my policy is honesty at all times. It might be because I cannot lie, but also because I think if I’m not honest it will come back to bite me – that I will be revealed in some way. Like if I told a white lie about my computer skills in an interview and was then tasked with a tech project, my lack of skills would reveal themselves.

    But I’ve also been in the situation you are deciding between different positions. I chose to be honest, even with the risk I wouldn’t get it, and it turned out well. I think being honest is a quality that stands out in someone’s mind. So hopefully it works out.

    By the way, I’ve linked to your blog on mine. I hope that is alright. Feel free to link back if you like what you read!


    • Jackie S. Quire Says:

      Welcome Allison! And thanks for your comment. It’s encouraging to hear that someone’s been in a similar position and came out on the right end of things.

      In my rational mind I know that I could have been a little less truthful, could have said that news made me wake up in the morning and stay up late at night. If I had of done that I am sure I’d be in a more comfy state during this ‘waiting game’ …

      But then the hopeful part of me thinks maybe having been honest will work out okay… maybe it means that if I do get the job they’ll know where my preferred career direction is, and help me achieve it. And if I don’t get the job, maybe it means they’ll think of me next time for a more current-affairs role.

      PS – I’m so jealous that you had the chance to work for Spark, I’d love to do that some day. Ah-ha! A new goal for me πŸ˜€

  4. Sally Says:

    I say good on you for the honesty. You could BS and say you would *love* the news job, when you reallyreallyreally wanted the current affairs job and end up with the job that makes you go “meh”.

    Stick to your guns. If you do not like news, don’t do it! Life’s too short to spend it on things that make you go “meh”.

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