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Old 07-23-2009, 06:13 PM   #1
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Default Job Hunting Tips for BBW's

Hi, I am having to go back to work after a six months temp disability.
I have a Master's and a BA but I am really wary.

I am pretty big and I already tower over most people at 5'11 in shoes. I am a big apple on stilts. And I am still pretty devastated loosing my last job over a clerical error I made. I am afraid to go back and put myself on display again in the public eye.

I wondered if you could post some tips to help me and others get back in the job hunting mindset. I know I got some great tips before in the "BBW in the closet" forum.

I would love to hear more and stories how people found their dream jobs while unapologeticly large and lovely?
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:20 AM   #2
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I smile, give a firm handshake and act like I own the place. Even if I think I am over my head, fake it. I never knew how much people judged a handshake until a male manager told me. Something about it says how confident a person is. Now don't try to break the person's hand but you want to let that person know you mean business. Good luck with your job hunt.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:17 AM   #3
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Maybe I'm alone in this but it is a terrible time to be looking for a job. I thought my BA would get me something, but I'm even getting turned down by retail. I guess I'm going back to school.

Good luck dear :\
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:17 PM   #4
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I've been lucky that I've gotten every job I've had an interview for...so with that...

Dress nice but comfortably, if you're uncomfortable in your clothes that sends off a weird vibe. Sure those pretty pumps look nice but can you walk in them upstairs and back down again?

I agree with Jewel on the handshake. Firm but don't hurt them and for heaven's sake no dead fish action going on...as a former hiring manager it would irk the heck out of me.

Ask questions...don't just pretend you're interested...be interested.

Don't be scared to let your real personality shine. People, especially hiring managers can usually tell when someone is being fake.

Most of all don't apologize for who you are or what size you are...hiring managers in my experience appreciate someone who is genuine and confident without being arrogant.

Keep stress low...check out where you are going before you have to leave. Get lots of sleep the night before. Do whatever it takes so when you walk in you're feeling calm.

Good luck and I hope we hear that you landed something very soon!
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:26 PM   #5
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I agree with Lucky about the pumps. Nothing worse than a person walking in heels who can't handle them. I sweat alot. So I always arrive early and sit outside to cool down. I know we live in a technology age.....But for God's sake, please put the the ringers on hold and do not answer the phone during an interview!!!! I can not believe how often I have seen this happen or heard the stories.
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tooz View Post
Maybe I'm alone in this but it is a terrible time to be looking for a job. I thought my BA would get me something, but I'm even getting turned down by retail. I guess I'm going back to school.
I'm in the same boat as you, Tooz. I had to move back in with my parents a few months ago (not just for economic reasons, but if I had any damn money, I promise you I'd be on my own).

It's ridiculous how hard it is to find an entry-level position; compounded by the fact that given the high unemployment rate, the competition now includes people with gobs more experience.

I think a lot of retail stores are turning down candidates like you and I because they don't want an employee who is going to sprint out the door as soon as something better comes along. You just have to keep telling yourself that, because otherwise you'll drive yourself nuts.
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Old 07-25-2009, 07:58 AM   #7
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Default Regarding asking questions

I am still in law school so haven't really had to apply for too many serious jobs. So far everything has been internships or college type jobs (camp counselor, receptionist, nanny etc. which was easy enough). I know that when going for a job interview you should make sure to research the company so that you can show you are knowledgeable about them, serious about the position and to give you an idea of what questions to ask. Still, I often find that after looking through the website and any other relevant material I am at a loss about any questions beyond any that naturally come up during the interview. I am fine with answering questions, asking them, and just naturally conversing during the course of the interview but have once or twice noticed that interviewers like to end the interview by asking: "do you have any other questions?"

By that point I am sometimes stumped as to any other questions to ask. Does anyone have any questions they keep in their arsenal for moments like this. Or questions that impress to ask at any point in the interview are welcome too.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:38 AM   #8
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Default From the desk of an HR Rep...

The following ten questions come from Jack Griffin's book, How To Say It At Work, in the chapter 'How To Say It To A Potential Employer':

1) Have you had a chance to review my resume? (It might seem obvious, but often times HR people only skim resumes for key words and can miss a lot of things.
2) Is there anything else I can tell you about my qualifications? Use this to hammer home why you are the best for the job.
3) How would you describe the duties of the job? Another chance to bring up your qualifications. Also, ask for a written job description if they have one. You can use it as a place to jot some notes.
4) What are the principle challenges facing your staff right now? Use the interviewers answers to illustrate how YOU can assist them in solving their problems and facing their challenges.
5) What results would you like me to produce?
6) What do you consider the ideal background and experience for this job?
7) How would you describe the climate in the company? The department I will be working with? This can be a tricky question and may unnerve the interviewer. Their reaction will let you know, though, if there are "issues" within the company/department and may bring up potential red flags.
8) Was the person who held this job before me promoted?
9) May I speak briefly with that person?
10) Based on what I have told you about my experience and qualifications, donít you think I can deliver all that you need in this position? This is your CLOSE THE DEAL question. It shows you are interested and communicates confidence to the interviewer that YOU are the cure for their woes!

Griffin's book is my workplace bible when it comes to communicating.

I'll be back later with some great articles I have saved the links to.
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:24 AM   #9
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Donna those are really good questions.

I always ask about the work environment. I will also sometimes ask about the dress code, especially for corporate environments, like will wearing black walking sneakers be an issue? Some places don't want women to wear anything but pumps or flat dressy shoes, which can be hard to find if you have big wide feet.

I also think how we dress makes the biggest impression in an interview. Don't wear anything too baggy or too tight. If you can't find a blazer that fits, wear a nice duster or a vest with your dressy blouse. If you don't have a blouse that fits, then wear a really nice tunic and dress it up somehow. If you're applying for a design position you can get away with being a little more funky with your clothes. I just try to go out of my way to not give the interviewer any reason to think - eww, fat slob.

I think too if you're applying for a position in your field, try to demonstrate that you know your stuff, and don't bad mouth your former employer. When the why did you leave your last employer question comes up, I always say something like I felt I had learned all I could and that it was time to move on. Or I learned all I could and I want to use those skills in a more challenging environment.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:17 PM   #10
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Bad mouthing a former employer is a huge no-no for sure. A savvy interviewer can pretty much tell when you have left a previous employer because of a personality conflict/dissatisfaction, etc so the best answer when pressed is that you left to pursue other opportunities.

One question that throws a lot of people is being asked to describe their strengths and weaknesses, so I always recommend being prepared for this type of question. I always struggle with this question myself. Listing your strengths can sometimes be seen internally as bragging and a lot of people are conditioned not to brag. But if there is ever a time to brag, it is in a job interview! You are essentially selling yourself and you need to highlight your strengths. Likewise, you want to downplay your weaknesses when possible, or at best put a positive spin on them. Always talk about your weaknesses first, be as brief as possible then move on to strengths.

Dress code is a valid question. Most interviewers use it as a discussing point, so I generally don't get to ask it. I know when I am conducting phone interviews, I usually mention the dress code up front. But I only do a high level interview and assessment of a potential employee...I am tasked with verifying information on the resume and informing the candidate about the company, job responsibilities, benefits, etc. The actual department supervisors/managers & directors get down to the gritty details.

As far as dressing, I agree a conservative look is the way to go unless you are applying for a more creative or more casual position. For example, if you are applying to work in a factory, a linen suit and pumps might be perceived as being too much. You cannot go wrong, though, with neutral colors and patterns, light make up, neat hairstyle, understated accessories. Save the eye popping red dress for after you are hired. Tailoring is important, yes, but I know most interviewers are checking to make sure the person is clean and neat. I wore a nice tunic and dress pants when I had my face to face interview for my current position where I normally wouldn't dress that casually. There's a great article here about dressing for an interview (and some great links to other articles of a similar nature on the bottom of the page.)

Here are some articles I have saved of the last couple of years that I found interesting:

In The Hot Seat: 7 Interview Tips

Why Should I Hire You?

Once you've had the interview, make sure to follow up. Email is the current favorite amongst candidates, but a phone call, note or a formal letter are also good. I've known some managers and directors to actually put off making a decision to see who follows up and who doesn't. I was told one of the reasons I was hired for my current position is because I asked if I could follow up and then I did; which showed I respected my manager and that I did indeed have follow up skills that I claimed as a strength.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by StarWitness View Post
I'm in the same boat as you, Tooz. I had to move back in with my parents a few months ago (not just for economic reasons, but if I had any damn money, I promise you I'd be on my own).
Another boater here. I just graduated with my BA in June and immediately moved back in with my mother. I need and desperately want to go to NYC where the jobs in my field are, but I need to save money first. I've been applying to jobs but all I usually see advertised is part-time.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:59 AM   #12
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This thread makes me sad. =[

My someday-mother-in-law was a finance manager at a Toyota dealership for well over two years when she was "let go" because of her medical problems. She has Crohn's Disease and was in and out of the hospital every Sunday and on her off days. Her body doesn't retain iron; she has to get a blood transfusion every 6 weeks. Her lymphedema is flared up because of the steroids she's on for her Crohn's, and she's been having problems with the loose skin around her middle from the GB she had over five years ago. Anything she takes for one ailment causes something to go wrong with the next. It's an endless cycle.

She's been on unemployment for almost a year. Her extension is up soon. She's been looking for a job the whole time, and hasn't found a thing. She has so many factors going against her with her health, her age, and her expertise. It's impossible to find a well paying job in the mortgage or car industry right now. She's been denied SSD. We're stuck and are scared about her income coming to an end.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:18 AM   #13
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It's really tough when people who need time to heal can't get on SSI and are forced to try to find work while ill. I worked through much of my illnesses which lead to resigning from my last two jobs.

I wish there were lucrative "work-from-home" positions that did'nt require you to be in the adult entertainment industry (no offense to it) or require you to fill your house full of adorable yet sticky toddlers.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:29 AM   #14
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I have something to add about your qualifications.
I've been on a few job interviews, and while they've been for things like waitressing jobs, a hospital dietary dept., auntie anne's, wendy's and now a call center, I think similar things would apply to bigger, more important jobs.
I always try to answer questions in a way that references your old job.
Ex. When I went to interview at wendys, they asked questions about dealing with customers, and i answered with what i would do in certain situations, and why i would do it, and how it worked for me at my old job.
I think they like that

Oh. and i mean... if you're a trained roller for Auntie Anne's, mention that and they'll be much more interested
People don't like to train new people if they don't have to. They'd prefer people who are able to pop right in and work, even if it is just making soft pretzels
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna View Post
Bad mouthing a former employer is a huge no-no for sure. A savvy interviewer can pretty much tell when you have left a previous employer because of a personality conflict/dissatisfaction, etc so the best answer when pressed is that you left to pursue other opportunities.

One question that throws a lot of people is being asked to describe their strengths and weaknesses, so I always recommend being prepared for this type of question. I always struggle with this question myself. Listing your strengths can sometimes be seen internally as bragging and a lot of people are conditioned not to brag. But if there is ever a time to brag, it is in a job interview! You are essentially selling yourself and you need to highlight your strengths. Likewise, you want to downplay your weaknesses when possible, or at best put a positive spin on them. Always talk about your weaknesses first, be as brief as possible then move on to strengths.

Dress code is a valid question. Most interviewers use it as a discussing point, so I generally don't get to ask it. I know when I am conducting phone interviews, I usually mention the dress code up front. But I only do a high level interview and assessment of a potential employee...I am tasked with verifying information on the resume and informing the candidate about the company, job responsibilities, benefits, etc. The actual department supervisors/managers & directors get down to the gritty details.

As far as dressing, I agree a conservative look is the way to go unless you are applying for a more creative or more casual position. For example, if you are applying to work in a factory, a linen suit and pumps might be perceived as being too much. You cannot go wrong, though, with neutral colors and patterns, light make up, neat hairstyle, understated accessories. Save the eye popping red dress for after you are hired. Tailoring is important, yes, but I know most interviewers are checking to make sure the person is clean and neat. I wore a nice tunic and dress pants when I had my face to face interview for my current position where I normally wouldn't dress that casually. There's a great article here about dressing for an interview (and some great links to other articles of a similar nature on the bottom of the page.)

Here are some articles I have saved of the last couple of years that I found interesting:

In The Hot Seat: 7 Interview Tips

Why Should I Hire You?

Once you've had the interview, make sure to follow up. Email is the current favorite amongst candidates, but a phone call, note or a formal letter are also good. I've known some managers and directors to actually put off making a decision to see who follows up and who doesn't. I was told one of the reasons I was hired for my current position is because I asked if I could follow up and then I did; which showed I respected my manager and that I did indeed have follow up skills that I claimed as a strength.
Is a thank you in the form of a little card (think thank you type card) appropriate? or seen as too ass kissy? The managers here get so much email that I'm afraid an email would get lost, and I suck on the phone so wouldn't want to call.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:46 PM   #16
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Handwritten note cards are best for internal thank you's (posting to another department/division within the same corporation) or for more creative/relaxed jobs. Something I neglected to mention above, is that a thank you communication should be sent the next day, two days at the most, after the interview unless the interviewer specifically gives a timeline of when a decision will be made. There is a lot of information here about thank you notes.

ETA: I almost forgot this link as well. Very informative.

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Old 07-30-2009, 03:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by AshleyEileen View Post
This thread makes me sad. =[

My someday-mother-in-law was a finance manager at a Toyota dealership for well over two years when she was "let go" because of her medical problems. She has Crohn's Disease and was in and out of the hospital every Sunday and on her off days. Her body doesn't retain iron; she has to get a blood transfusion every 6 weeks. Her lymphedema is flared up because of the steroids she's on for her Crohn's, and she's been having problems with the loose skin around her middle from the GB she had over five years ago. Anything she takes for one ailment causes something to go wrong with the next. It's an endless cycle.

She's been on unemployment for almost a year. Her extension is up soon. She's been looking for a job the whole time, and hasn't found a thing. She has so many factors going against her with her health, her age, and her expertise. It's impossible to find a well paying job in the mortgage or car industry right now. She's been denied SSD. We're stuck and are scared about her income coming to an end.
I'm so sorry to read this - just wanted you to know that I'll be praying that this works out for her and for you *hugz*
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:30 AM   #18
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I'm so sorry to read this - just wanted you to know that I'll be praying that this works out for her and for you *hugz*
Thank you so much! It really means a lot to me. <3
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:14 AM   #19
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So I have a panel interview tomorrow at 3pm. I hate that its so late in the day because I have to work all day first! Gonna bring my suit along and leave it in the car and change when it gets closer to time for the interview. Fingers crossed for me please!
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Old 07-30-2009, 10:36 AM   #20
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Good Luck darling!!!!! all fingers and toes are crossed for you.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:20 PM   #21
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Good Luck!! After your interview (which will go great) I will share what happened to my roommate the last time she had to go in front of a panel for a job, it was pretty priceless
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:11 PM   #22
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Panel interviews are one of the most excruciating experiences, ever! I had to endure several along my career path and they never get any easier. Good luck, Ella...I know you will do well!

I had an "interesting" experience a few years back. I was trying to post out of the department I was in and into a higher level position. The final interview was with three people-the supervisor, manager and VP of the division I wanted to get into. The interview was toward the end of the day, about 3:30pm. I have a long standing rule (ok, more of an illogical superstition actually) that it is bad luck to eat before an interview so I always try to schedule everything for first thing in the morning. Because of the timing of this interview, however, I broke my longstanding rule and had Chinese take out with my coworkers around noon. I thought I was home free when I managed to avoid dropping General Tso chicken down the front of my best business suit.

About an hour prior to the interview, my current supervisor was telling me about the people I would be interviewing with. She described one of them as a ball-buster and that started my nerves churning, which in turn combined with the General Tso chicken to start my gut to churning. Because I had all day to think about it, I was kind of wound up when I walked into the conference room for the meeting. Somehow I managed to knock my padfolio off the table and when I bent down to pick it up, I farted. Rather loudly.

And no, I did not get the job.
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:21 PM   #23
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Panel interviews are one of the most excruciating experiences, ever! I had to endure several along my career path and they never get any easier. Good luck, Ella...I know you will do well!

I had an "interesting" experience a few years back. I was trying to post out of the department I was in and into a higher level position. The final interview was with three people-the supervisor, manager and VP of the division I wanted to get into. The interview was toward the end of the day, about 3:30pm. I have a long standing rule (ok, more of an illogical superstition actually) that it is bad luck to eat before an interview so I always try to schedule everything for first thing in the morning. Because of the timing of this interview, however, I broke my longstanding rule and had Chinese take out with my coworkers around noon. I thought I was home free when I managed to avoid dropping General Tso chicken down the front of my best business suit.

About an hour prior to the interview, my current supervisor was telling me about the people I would be interviewing with. She described one of them as a ball-buster and that started my nerves churning, which in turn combined with the General Tso chicken to start my gut to churning. Because I had all day to think about it, I was kind of wound up when I walked into the conference room for the meeting. Somehow I managed to knock my padfolio off the table and when I bent down to pick it up, I farted. Rather loudly.

And no, I did not get the job.

This will be my third panel interview with the company. The first time was for a job in Anchorage which I didn't get, the second the job I'm at now (which is a temp job and ends in Sep), and tomorrow for a permanent position within a brand new division.

The people interviewing me? Call Centers Managing Director, Call Center Training and Development Manager, Call Center Instructional Design Supervisor, Call Center Training Delivery and QA Supervisor, and an HR rep. Needless to say I'm a little bit nervous. I just finished putting the finishing touches on my portfolio which I plan to leave behind with the manager so that she has more than my resume to refer back to when considering me. Went to LB and bought a suit yesterday and just gotta make it through the day tomorrow.

I know the job, I do the job now in a different division, if I can just get through the interview without making myself look stupid (I get really nervous) I should have it in the bag!


ETA: I will have to eat before and I really hope I don't fart LOLOL
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:53 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Donna View Post
Panel interviews are one of the most excruciating experiences, ever! I had to endure several along my career path and they never get any easier. Good luck, Ella...I know you will do well!

I had an "interesting" experience a few years back. I was trying to post out of the department I was in and into a higher level position. The final interview was with three people-the supervisor, manager and VP of the division I wanted to get into. The interview was toward the end of the day, about 3:30pm. I have a long standing rule (ok, more of an illogical superstition actually) that it is bad luck to eat before an interview so I always try to schedule everything for first thing in the morning. Because of the timing of this interview, however, I broke my longstanding rule and had Chinese take out with my coworkers around noon. I thought I was home free when I managed to avoid dropping General Tso chicken down the front of my best business suit.

About an hour prior to the interview, my current supervisor was telling me about the people I would be interviewing with. She described one of them as a ball-buster and that started my nerves churning, which in turn combined with the General Tso chicken to start my gut to churning. Because I had all day to think about it, I was kind of wound up when I walked into the conference room for the meeting. Somehow I managed to knock my padfolio off the table and when I bent down to pick it up, I farted. Rather loudly.

And no, I did not get the job.
Oh Donna, that's awful. Tho I know it was probably mortifying, I'm sorry, but I couldn't help but to laugh at the last bit. It honestly sounds like something out of a comdey. Tho maybe it happened for a reason. You are probably better off not working for them. Who wants to work for a ball buster.

Even worse than panel interviews are group interviews for a panel. When I was in college I went on a group interview for the gap and I didn't say much. Come to find out afterwards that I didn't get hired because I didn't demonstrate enthusiasm as compared to the rest of the group. After that I decided never to go on another group interview again. It probably didn't help that I couldn't and didn't wear the clothes or know much about them either, so in the end I was a bit relieved to find out I wasn't hired and I ended up working at a bookstore, which was a perfect fit for me.
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:55 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by fatgirlflyin View Post
This will be my third panel interview with the company. The first time was for a job in Anchorage which I didn't get, the second the job I'm at now (which is a temp job and ends in Sep), and tomorrow for a permanent position within a brand new division.

The people interviewing me? Call Centers Managing Director, Call Center Training and Development Manager, Call Center Instructional Design Supervisor, Call Center Training Delivery and QA Supervisor, and an HR rep. Needless to say I'm a little bit nervous. I just finished putting the finishing touches on my portfolio which I plan to leave behind with the manager so that she has more than my resume to refer back to when considering me. Went to LB and bought a suit yesterday and just gotta make it through the day tomorrow.

I know the job, I do the job now in a different division, if I can just get through the interview without making myself look stupid (I get really nervous) I should have it in the bag!


ETA: I will have to eat before and I really hope I don't fart LOLOL
I'm sure hiring managers know people are nervous during interviews. I wonder if admitting you are a bit nervous would help at all....
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