Interviewer job milestone: past probation

In Australia where I live, new job starts begins with a three months probational period during which employment can be ended without warning by either part.

In my previous job I remained in employment limbo for over nine months. My probation period was first extended to six months and then to ‘indefinitely’, while I watched newer and lazier employees pass their probation milestones in worry-free manners. My ‘indefinite’ status was changed only after I complained, almost tearfully, to my manager about the distress (and lack of self-esteem) my ongoing uncertain status caused.

So I’m happy to say that I have past the 3 months probation period in my part time interviewer job in good style.

During the last few months I’ve become steadily better at interviewing and managing work equipment, admin and the whole assignment cycle. I’m quite excellent at undertaking the main interviews and keep improving – navigation, speed, attentive listening, probing, intonation, pauses, coordination…

I still don’t like to do the ‘recruitment’ part, and to do the introductory interviews (not to say that I suck at doing them in any way). That is probably because I’m an introvert and hate sales persons, so I hate to act like one… The work isn’t sale, but approaching people uninvited resembles sales-like behaviour.

 

 

In-field monitoring

I survived my in-field monitoring recently. To my luck, it took a place in a tricky household where one respondent was busy and absent, and the only English-speaking person in the family was a somewhat reluctant teenager (and maybe his sibling… who was too shy to talk).

This tricky interview set-up allowed me to show off my problem solving skills. I used the teenager as a translator and initially interviewed the missing person via proxy; then converted it to a telephone interview when it became clear that the person would never show up face to face. I got very positive feedback from my supervisor afterwards for my ‘handling of a difficult interview’, and noted in particular the excellent rating for ‘interaction with respondents’.  Win!

I’ve also received nice feedback from respondents, such as ‘well conducted interview’, ‘very professional’, ‘nice’… so I actually think I’m quite good.

 
Interviewer assembly

I also survived the interviewer assembly, which takes place a few times every year. I worried quite a bit in advance, especially because the organisation eagerly encourages mingling with the other interviewers outside of the structured time. As expected, the ‘free socialisation’ time was noisy and uncomfortable, but survivable with invisible ear plugs.

Overall I think I conveyed a positive impression, and I learned useful things from listening to the other interviewers experiences. I got positive comments from ‘old rats’ such as ‘good questions’, and the boss said that they’re happy to have me on the team, that my work is always spot on. The structured parts of the meeting went well and were informative and interesting; so overall, going there was a success (and mandatory anyway;-).

So overall I guess I’m doing fine in the job so far!

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10 thoughts on “Interviewer job milestone: past probation

  1. Nic Windley

    Hello Mados and thank you for the link back to that blog post submitted by one of my guest posters. The exchange of ideas is the fundamental building blocks of what is good and creative about the human race and selling those ideas is an important part of that exchange. See this Ted Talk.

    We are working hard to right the problems of selling, however I do understand how it may appear to others 🙂

    I’ve met quite a few introverted extroverts in my time…..

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    1. Mados

      Hello Nic,

      Thank you for your comment and link to the TED talk. I don’t really buy into Matt Ridley’s assumptions about human uniqueness (like: no other species ever do this and that), but the ‘ideas have sex’ metaphor is great, and the same with the comparison between the stone tool & computer mouse.

      Anyway… I linked back to your side because I borrowed the illustration from your guest’s post (great post by the way!). I did in no way mean to criticise your line of business, it did not even occur to me. I just meant in my post that I don’t like to be approached by sales persons, particularly not door to door sales persons (and telemarketers… and sales emails), so therefore I am not much fond of the door sales-like aspect of my job. I agree with your guest poster and with your business concept that sales can be done in different ways, and what makes all the difference is to do it in the right way.

      Have a great day.

      Mados.

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      1. Mados

        Clarification: scientists disagree on ‘what makes humans unique’, but so far the vast majority of ‘human alone do’ assumptions have been disproved over time… and counting. So I get sceptical whenever someone uses a ‘humans are evolutionary successful because they have [insert trait] which no other species do’ statement to spice things up and say: THIS topic is particularly relevant.

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        1. Mados

          Also: Matt Ridley starts out saying that all the doom & gloom warnings of the 70s never materialised: deserts advancing, acid raining on forests, oil running out, population explosion… He says ‘none of these things ever happened’. However, some of these things very much happened, some of them are ongoing concerns and others have been largely solved, but then there are new serious environmental concerns. After re-viewing his talk I realise I do not buy into Matt Ridley’s view at all. He isn’t being objective, he is in love with a set world view and downplays all aspects that don’t support it.

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          1. Nic Windley

            Thanks for your response Mados and I wasn’t inferring that you were being in anyway derogatory to me or my profession 🙂 It may have come across like that as we (us sales folks) tend to be a direct bunch at times (as you know).

            I would agree that our success as a species is not indicative of a single trait, but many. One of which is our ability to mix the gene pool and the other is the mixing of ideas from the simple to the complex along with many other traits we posses.

            I think Matt’s points about the doom and gloom is that during the 70’s these events were all said to happen in the very near future (remember all the nuclear attack training done in the 50’s – still not happened)….so here we are some 40+ years on and like you say with lots of different outcomes.

            We certainly have issues to deal with, its part of the journey and so we must be mindful and adjust our course accordingly.

            If Matt’s views are extreme, you could say that so were our historical predictions of the future. However, if you mix them all up (the only species to truly reflect on history and predict the future) ….you start to plot a course or direction……of the human species.

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          2. Mados

            I wasn’t inferring that you were being in anyway derogatory to me or my profession

            Good! … (You sounded slightly apologising on behalf of your profession, so I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t insulting anyone!)

            And now to the debate about humanity and our uniqueness:

            One of which is our ability to mix the gene pool and the other is the mixing of ideas from the simple to the complex along with many other traits we posses.

            Neither is necessarily unique to the human species. Mixing of gene pool evidently isn’t, mixing of ideas – that’s an assumption but it isn’t really testable (because we can’t test all species. We don’t even know all species. And we can’t even test the ones we know properly on matters like consciousness).

            I find it unlikely. When plainly, subjectively, unscientifically observing my dogs, they seem to share/mix ideas and be inspired by others.

            I remember being taught as a kid that animals don’t dream – that their in-sleep moves were just instinctive, automatic reflexes and not perceived imaginary events like human dreams, because to dream requires imagination and consciousness, which supposedly animals didn’t have.

            As I watch my dog bark agitated and ‘run’ with her legs in the air while she sleeps, I think: OK so the dreams themselves are not observable, but how could anyone make themselves not see that dogs dream?

            the only species to truly reflect on history and predict the future

            That seems like common sense, but again, how do you know? No one knows, for example, if dolphins or whales have some sort of reflection/prediction of past/future history. Also, which history? Human history? Ocean-current history? Are we talking abstract thinking or intuition? What counts?

            (I guess it all comes down to the definitions of ‘truly reflect’, ‘history’, ‘predict’, and ‘future’)

            I see it as just another one of those ‘humans are unique because of [assumptions]’ bombastic statements that supports a view and fills in assumptions that fit it. Maybe some day when science becomes much better at surveying the complexity of animal consciousness and behaviour will we look back at how naive we were in 2012.- just like we now look back on abandoned immature ‘scientific’ presumptions.

            (remember all the nuclear attack training done in the 50′s – still not happened)

            Not the 50’s because I wasn’t born yet, but the gloomy WW3 vision was still very much alive in the 80s when I was a teenager and I was quite affected by the idea that the world may not survive throughout my generation. Thankfully yes, nuclear war didn’t happen.

            However, this doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have happened. Great many people were extremely concerned with the danger, and political forces were at work at many levels to evade the danger. Rather than say ‘people were scare mongering back then, because it didn’t actually happen’, you could say that ‘ the danger was eventually successfully removed’. (well, I guess it isn’t totally gone, but it doesn’t seem like an imminent danger anymore).

            I’m not saying that people earned the absence of nuclear war. Maybe it was pure luck; or a combination of drivers including activism, political sacrifices, political power games and so on. I’m guessing that a lot of hard work by competent people took place behind the world political scene to save the world (actually) from the risk of nuclear war, but I’m just guessing.

            Probably we will never know the full story about how near or far the world was from the anticipated total ragnarok (unless it ends up on Wikileaks;-)

            So I pretty much disagree with almost anything you’ve said so far;-) (which is not necessarily a bad thing for a discussion)

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  2. Nic Windley

    Mados you seem to be arguing against the human species uniqueness by comparing it to individual characteristics of other species so…..

    Question – does any other creature on this planet (known to the majority of humankind) display the exact same (ALL) characteristics as the human race right now ? Look around the planet and show me one single species that looks like us, acts like us, drives a car, sleeps in a house, flies to the moon, considers nuclear war etc.

    Yes, apes may have “some” simillar characteristics, meerkats employ similar society and family structure, other animals catch lifts on other creatures, live in a shell and even decide to go to war against one another (this all fits with Darwin and evolution) I get all that…however they are doing this within the confines of their world as it is….not redefining it to the extents that we are doing so now.

    If there is such a species (exactly like us) then I would like to meet this species, go down the pub, have a chat about politics and maybe do a bit of web blogging and some experimental control system analysis with it….I welcome your introduction to this species 🙂

    I would consider a dog to be unique when you consider all of its characteristics, however if I were to look it as merely as a quadraped it may not appear to be very unique.

    What you seem to be suggesting is that not one single person on this planet is unique in any way. If there is no uniqueness between the species, then there is certainly no uniqueness within the species. Then we are doomed….yet we know how we mix our genes….this creates variety and differences (as with other species).

    Are some people susceptible to some illnesses whilst other are not ?

    Heck the guy on the Para-Olypmics with the wheel chair has a very unique way of getting around which I do not….or maybe I haven’t noticed something ?

    I could use your words “So I pretty much disagree with almost anything you’ve said so far;-)”

    However I can see how you would be right and how I would be right – It all depends on the level of granularity you apply to all this and how much knowledge/data/information/analysis etc. you choose to factor into your conclusion.

    p.s. let me know when your dog is planning a trip to Mars (not with the aid of human intervention and within the next month) as I would very much like to wish it a successful trip….and when did ants start splitting the atom or building nuclear reactors in exactly the same way we do.

    Who knows…maybe one day they will….right now though we are unique there is nothing that is exactly like we are (that is known to all humankind).

    Even our own views here are unique ?? Yet made up of from other views…..

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    1. Mados

      No, I’m not arguing the uniqueness of the human species… but against making thoughtless blanket statements about all other species (given the limited knowledge).

      Question – does any other creature on this planet (known to the majority of humankind) display the exact same (ALL) characteristics as the human race right now ?

      No. New question: does any other creature on this planet (known to the majority of humankind) display the exact same (ALL) characteristics as any other species? No… Then it would pretty much be that species. But I can’t see how that’s relevant.

      I’m against making bombastic, simplistic (and most likely untrue) statements about what makes humans unique, I’m not arguing against human uniqueness as such.

      What you seem to be suggesting is that not one single person on this planet is unique in any way.

      No I’m not, we are talking past each other (but your comment is entertaining… Thanks for wishing my dog a great trip to Mars;-)

      My arguments simply target misuse of assumptions as facts. I always get all worked up when someone does that:-)

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      1. Nic Windley

        “My arguments simply targets misuse of assumptions as facts” – On this we can agree Mados 🙂 …However (damn it!) did Matt Ridley actually state those things as facts during his talk or just illustrative representations ?

        Even assumptions are useful things to make Mados when formulating an argument / case / theory etc. Einstein used them (and many other theorists who later went on to provide evidence to support their theory).

        Matt’s talk is based on an “idea” in which he provides comparisons, illustrations and assumptions to paint the story….it certainly was not a scientific study or submission to the scientific council / community.

        Einstein said:

        “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

        I’m with Einstein 🙂

        p.s. I’m glad my comment put a smile on your face.

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        1. Mados

          However (damn it!) did Matt Ridley actually state those things as facts during his talk or just illustrative representations ?

          Yes… Well, I don’t see the difference. Illustrative representations used to support a theory are presented as facts by implication.

          Lots of people do that… maybe because simple black-and-white messages sell better than those full of complexities and grey zones, or maybe they are just lazy.

          Even assumptions are useful things to make Mados when formulating an argument / case / theory etc.

          Sure. That’s why we all make assumptions all the time. Assumptions are necessary, but relying on them uncritically leads to repeat mistakes and carelessness… to not learning from mistakes, not seeing mistakes, not observing objectively, being trapped in inertia.

          Observation and speculation isn’t = assumptions. If you do it right then you cautiously build your theory on tentative assumptions, but you never forget that they are assumptions. You are willing to examine them with a genuinely desire to discover truths you didn’t expect to find, even when it means abandoning your assumptions. Innovative thinkers like Einstein think critically and don’t just thoughtlessly hook onto assumptions.

          Matt’s talk is based on an “idea” in which he provides comparisons, illustrations and assumptions to paint the story….it certainly was not a scientific study or submission to the scientific council / community.

          The paint was too cheap IMO, that’s all:-)

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