Tips for Interviewers

Normally, career websites offer nifty tips to job candidates on how to dress to impress and ‘wow’ the interviewer. We often hear about interviewing horrors such as interviewees showing up ‘under-dressed’ for the appointment.

While taking human resource courses in undergrad, I had the opportunity to hear some HR professionals recount tales of interviewees. The tales revolved around bad hygiene, bad manners, and bad cases of flatulence. Suffice to say, I was far from throwing my hat in to be a supervisor after that. (But lo and behold, I started my own business. Go figure).

Once I donned the role of interviewer I finally understood the trepidation involved with the task. Job candidates can do some pretty silly things. Being unprepared for an interview is one of them. Unprepared for an interview entails being: sans resume, sans proper etiquette, and sans an inkling about the background of the company. I could rip on interviewees quite extensively but my aim is actually to point out mistakes made by some interviewers.

I have experienced both ends of the spectrum and therefore sympathize with both parties. But as I stated, being unprepared for an interview is just plain silly. The same saying goes for interviewers, too.

At no time should an interviewer have his desk in disarray before a job candidate arrives. There should be absolutely no time wasted on the interviewer running last minutes errands or putting away files. Tidy up before the interview. No one wants to show up 15-20 minutes early for an interview and end up waiting another 15 minutes for the interviewer to get organized.

The interviewer should set the pace of the interview. Job candidates are told to give in-depth answers to questions without being too ‘chatty.’ The interview should never become personal. By the same token, interviewers need to keep their opinions in check. Blowing off steam to a job candidate about the hectic day you’ve been having is not a good impression of the company you’re representing. Leave your rants for the break room (and even then keep your rants to a minimum). The objective of the interview is to get to know the candidate and evaluate whether he will be a good fit for the company. The candidate should not leave knowing more information about you than you know about him.

During an interview… please, please stay focused! Do not try to multi-task while conducting an interview. You scheduled the candidate for a particular length of time and you should devote that time slot to the interview. You would think this would go without saying, but…

Unfortunately, I have either heard of these poor practices or I have experienced them. My remedy? I suggest letting inexperienced interviewers shadow a more experienced interviewer before unleashing them on any unsuspecting job hopefuls.

*Please, leave a comment or rating for this post. Thank you! 🙂

Happy 1-year anniversary, Calee! :-)

Happy anniversary to me!!! LOL! Well, more like happy 1-year anniversary to my blog (It turned 1-year old on Sunday, April 11th).

I’m just thankful to God that I was able to update on a regular basis. While I didn’t meet my quota of 52 posts (the equivalent of one post a week for an entire year), I did manage to stick with it. That’s progress… right? 🙂

I’d like to thank everyone who has encouraged me to continue writing. I’m also thankful for my subscribers (You guys rock!)

The feedback is always articulate and thought-provoking (you all have no idea how much I appreciate that, lol). I’ve never had a ‘flamer’ and hopefully it will stay that way (or at least if someone disagrees they will do so nicely… *chuckle*)

This year I would like to tackle more issues effecting Christians worldwide. I feel there is a need for us to become more proactive… sans the fanatical approach.

And of course, I would like to finish my creative works by the end of the year. I’m going to remain prayerful about that one. 🙂

Thanks again, everyone! God bless!

Encouragement to my fellow writers

I really didn’t feel like writing today. Hey, I’m being honest. But I remembered the fact that I want to stay committed to this venture. If I stop now I may not get started up again for quite some time. I’m still trying to balance everyday life with my writing. Such a task is no small feat.

On those days where I’m in serious danger of overdrawing my account trying to pay bills, I think, “Why didn’t I just go to law school?” It’d be so much easier and I wouldn’t be a literal ‘starving artist.’ Then I remind myself that anything worth having comes with a price. There will be sacrifices. I cherish my gift from God. I’ll continue to nourish it even at the expense of my poor bank account.

I said all that to say you should never give up on your writing… or any dream for that matter. Heed God’s call and pursue your purpose.

Focus!

Now I’ve noticed that when things bother me, I remember Jesus’s words to me… “Eyes on me.” I equate it to a parent holding his baby’s hands while teaching her to walk. Whenever I look down He re-focuses me. Once I’m focused on Him again, my fears fall away and the things of the world seem inconsequential.

Projects! (status report #2)

I have a load of blog entries to catch up on… -_-;;; I actually have several saved as drafts. Some are about half-way completed and the others… well, I have writer’s block with those entries. *shrugs* I’ll get it together.

First of all I’d like to say that I have made leaps and bounds with my first book. I currently have enough material for half of the book. It’s in need of some heavy revisions, but it’s a start. I decided to pool all my energy into my Contemporary Christian fiction novel. I also made the decision to combine my father’s biography into the third installment of the series. Due to the nature of what will be discussed I would prefer to tell the story using an indirect approach. I can avoid having to ask permission to release certain information or other legal matters if it’s all mixed together. Besides I’m sure some of the people involved will want to remain anonymous and I can respect that.

My collection of creative works is on hold (mainly because I would like to start from scratch with it). There are some poems that I would like to replace since I’ve been having a myriad of revelations in the past couple of months.

The web comic… at first I wanted to commission someone to do the artwork for the comic since Carmen is unable to continue due to time constraints. A friend of mine, JP, suggested that I attempt to do the artwork myself. I had a moment of silence after hearing said suggestion. I thought he was nuts but after some words of encouragement from him, I decided to give it a shot. I have about three pages completed, but I want to work on them so they aren’t so… rough looking. -_-;;

My mother’s an artist and I’ve got a teeny bit of skill. It’s not my forte. However, I want to make her proud by giving it more practice. Hopefully, I can iron out all the kinks and have those three pages posted by April. Since I’m dividing my time between my book and then having to do double duty for the web comic, I will probably commit to one page/one scene a month. At least until I get better at drawing.

While there have been set-backs, I’m staying positive. If one door is closed another will open (in some cases I’ve been known to kick doors down, but that’s another story, lol).

2010

2009 is finally over… I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go… I’ve seen better years, to be perfectly honest. I’m a tad bit weary with added battle scars, but to God be the praise for seeing me through it.

The one-year anniversary of my father’s passing came and went. At first I wished I could delay it. I dreaded it. But once the day came it was so surreal that I really didn’t know how to react. It was a very somber day. I don’t want it to cause me to drop everything. Life should continue to flow. I just needed to take time to regroup occasionally. I’m sure it will be that way for a while. I’m doing my best to adjust.

2010 brought in some more life changes. The changes are much more exciting and joyful. After a 21-day church wide fast, I was given insight from the Holy Spirit. I will address these insights throughout the coming months.

Booktalking

This week in my Multi-Cultural Lit. for Young Adults graduate course, we had a read and react assignment that involved writing a first-person booktalk on one of three possible YA novels. (A booktalk is, in general terms, a spoken word performance meant to entice people to read a particular book). Booktalks come in several forms (e.g. first-person booktalks and excerpt booktalks). A large focus in this booktalk assignment is getting young adults to take interest in reading.

I wrote a first- person booktalk for Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It, by: Sundee T. Frazier. I used the model from R.E.C. Clark’s article, “Becoming the character! First-person booktalks with teens.” Instead of using the voice of the narrator/main character from the novel, I decided to take the first-person voice of a secondary character examining the main character of the novel. (I wanted to be different, lol! ^^)

First-person booktalk:

“Hi, I’m Khalfani! And one day I’m going to become a Tae Kwon Do master! My best friend’s Brendan Buckley. He’s been my friend since we were little. He can be sorta bossy sometimes, but he’s a good guy. He asks a lot of questions and he’s really into science. Sometimes he gets way in over his head though. Like the time he experimented in his basement with his mom’s extra-garlic garlic bread. (Now it smells like our locker room after gym class, if you ask me). Since we’re adults now, we get to do all kinds of cool stuff. Like detective work! There’s this one big case, the mystery behind his missing grandpa, that we plan to crack really soon! He’s always wondered why his grandpa’s never around even though he lives close by. We think it has to do with his dad being black and his mom being white. It really gets under Brendan’s skin so we’re going to get to the bottom of it!

Honestly, I never really thought about it until he pointed it out. The race thing I mean. It was natural to me… him and his mom. But I guess for other people it may seem weird. Don’t get me wrong. I know his mom’s not black. It just never really mattered to me. She’s Mrs. Buckley and she’s a really nice lady. ‘Nough said.

Seems like it’s tough for Brendan sometimes… having to deal with people. And they can be rude when they want to. (He told me about what some kid said about him and his mom not looking alike after Tae Kwon Do practice one day. I knew Miss Gladys would tell them off!)

Stilll… if only they were alike… A matching pair instead of an odd couple. If him and his mom matched, maybe they wouldn’t get such strange looks and stares.”

And here is an excerpt from the book to give you an idea of an ‘excerpt booktalk.’

Excerpt booktalk:

“You know, Miss Gladys, I’m not black,” Mom said, laughing again.

“More Caucasian people got black in ‘em than care to admit it.”

On the way home, I thought about being black. I don’t think about it all that much. Until something happens like that kid saying my mom and I don’t match. Then I remember that my skin makes me stand out in some places- like with my mom.

Truthfully, I hear more about how tall I am or how good I am at science than anything about what race I am. But I know I’m black and I’m glad to be that, because that’s what Grandpa Clem was and Dad and Gladys and Khalfani are.

If I ever wish something were different, maybe it’s that Mom was black, too, or at least had brown skin like the rest of us. Then I wouldn’t get asked about what I am all the time at school. Seems like things would be simpler.

And there’d be no questions about whether we belong together. (Frazier, 2007, p. 40-41)

At first, writing in the voice of an 11-year-old boy was difficult. But I will say that it was much easier than writing in the voice of say a six-year-old child. While completing class assignments that required that I write annotations for children’s books, I found it very difficult to write for a younger audience (i.e. elementary level).  The young adult category seems to encompass more age-groups than I initially anticipated (or at least in my grad. course it seems to cover a broader range). *shrugs* Regardless, it’s good practice as far as my writing skills are concerned.

References:

1.) Clark, R. E. C. Becoming the character! First-person booktalks with teens. Library Media Connection v. 26 no. 2 (October 2007) p. 24-6.

2.) Frazier, Sundee T. (2007). Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.


Excerpts from Elijah of Buxton

I deleted this post by mistake… (oops!)

It was originally posted Thursday, 10/1/2009

********

At the moment, I’m juggling catching up on assignments for my classes (the flu put me out of commission for quite some time) and preparation for a presentation in my Multi-cultural Lit. for Young Adults graduate course. I have to lead a group discussion in what we refer to as ‘story circle.’ The book we will be discussing is called Elijah of Buxton, by Christopher Paul Curtis. Eventually, I will write a review or reflection on the book later. Right now, I would like to point out several excerpts that firmly grasped my attention while reading the book last night. But first I will give a bit of background on the book.

The story is set during the 1800s and takes place at a Canadian settlement known as Buxton to its natives and Raleigh to all non-natives. It was a settlement established as a refuge for slaves who had escaped bondage. The main character is an eleven-year-old African-American boy who proudly claims the title of being the first freeborn child in the entire settlement. Like most of the adolescents in the settlement, his responsibilities revolve around school and chores. He also does odd jobs for his family’s neighbors. His community is very close knit. (Children are well aware that they will be rebuked by the elders of their town just as quickly as they are rebuked by their parents).

One day Elijah is walking home with Mr. Leroy, one of the adults he helps around the town. He is relating a story to Mr. Leroy about his friend, Cooter. The conversation is very one-sided with Mr. Leroy only nodding his head at best. Elijah felt particularly riled about the story he was recounting which involved his school teacher, Mr. Travis. It is safe to say that Elijah became so engrossed in what his was saying that he forgot whom he was speaking to. He used a word that solicited such a very strong reaction from Mr. Leroy that it led him to discipline the young boy. Mr. Leroy struck Elijah as soon as the words left his mouth.

These excerpts were very powerful to me. The first is a quote spoken by Elijah.

“I knowed better. Ma and Pa didn’t tolerate no one saying that word ’round ’em. They say it’s a sign of hatred when a white person says it and a sign of bad upbringing and ignorance when one our own calls it out, so there ain’t no good excuses” (Curtis 96).

The second excerpt is a passage. Mr. Leroy articulates to Elijah why he is so outraged:

‘What you think they call my girl when they sold her? What kind of baby they call her from up on the block?’

… ‘What name you think they call my wife when they take her to another man for his own?

What?’

… He said, ‘Who you think it was cut my finger off? Who?’

I didn’t know if I should answer him or just keep quiet and let him have his say. I shrugged my shoulders.

He said, ‘A slave, that’s who. And the whole time he slashing and stabbing at me trying to cut my throat, what name he calling me? What name?’

I said, ‘I know, sir, but I ain’t gonna say it no more.’

He said, ‘You thinks just ’cause that word come out twixt your black lips it mean anything different? You think it ain’t choke up with the same kind of hate and disrespect it has when they say it? You caint see it be even worst when you call it out?’

I told him, ‘Sir, I only said it ’cause I hear lots of children say it.’

‘What difference it make who you hear say it? I can understand a little if one of ya’ll freeborn use it, ya’lls ignorant in a whole slew of ways. Ya’ll ain’t been told your whole life that’s what you is. But someone what was a slave, or someone whose ma and pa was a slave and raised them goodlike your’n done, that just shows you believing that what we be. That just show you done swallowed they poison. And swallowed it whole.’

(Curtis 98-99)

I believe that it is very obvious what hateful word he is referring to. It was always understood that the n-word was the same as uttering a curse word in my home. As a result, the word never passed my lips in my youth. Once I was older, I began to understand the ramifications of the word and the hurt filled history behind it. Hearing or saying it just didn’t feel right. I had no qualms with denouncing it entirely.

I don’t believe in ‘reclaiming’ the word. If that is what some individuals would like to do that is their decision. However, I stand by the fact that something that was created with the sole purpose of degrading a race of people is not something that should be embraced. The term, ‘Negroe’ can be reasoned away as being Spanish for the word, ‘black.’ Yes, ‘niger’ means black in Latin. But since we have moved from Negroe to Colored to Afro-American to African-American and Black-American is it really necessary to hang on to that word? Is it so firmly embedded in our psyches that we must continue its proliferation in our vocabularies? For the sake of future generations, I truly hope the answer is, ‘no.’

Work Cited

Curtis, Christopher Paul. Elijah of Buxton. New York: Scholastic Inc, 2007. Print.

Alone with my Thoughts

No, I haven’t forgotten about ‘journaling.’ It’s just that my thoughts have been a bit too personal to share (not in a bad way, just some things are private).

I’ll start posting when I’m done hashing things out. For now, my thoughts will remain in my notebook.

Making Amends

This entry will be extremely short (mainly because the healing process is still very new). I have no illusions that things will ever be completely the same. And I am grateful for that. Lessons have hopefully been learned. Character traits have been altered for the good or done away entirely if they are detrimental.

While things may be awkward, I believe it is all necessary for closure. That’s not to say I needed closure to move on, but it is nice to have, I think. I’ve always believed that repairing friendships is important and I don’t want that to change.

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