There is a small part of me that probably likes the piece of power that being on an interview committee brings. Some old, ancient, de-evolved piece that enjoys wielding something over someone. In that tiny, caveperson like state, I hold up my club and say, "None shall pass here." Wait, that's more like a knight from Monte Python. Okay, my cavewoman holds up her mastodon bone and says, "Ugh!"
But the rest of me, which I hope is 98 percent of me, doesn't like the notion of deciding people's lives, those poor folk who have to sit in front of me and try to show how they and they alone are fit for the single, solitary position that we have to offer.
I interviewed twice for the full-time position at my college, once after having taught for eight months and then second after a year and eight months. I had taught perhaps four freshman comp classes, and four developmental classes. I had degrees in English literature, a subject that does not necessarily translate to teaching the difference between dependent and independent clauses. In fact, one of my worst grades in graduate school was in the grammar class, the class that taught us how to teach grammar.
My mother had to help me identify the parts of speech I'd been throwing around my whole life, both of us doing my homework in between my writing papers about Milton. I was pregnant with my second child, and usually around that time of day, the time of the grammar class, I felt like throwing up in my purse.
The point is, I didn't know what in the hell I was doing but was hired anyway.
My next point--the science of who will work at any given position is not based on qualifications alone. I guess I'm also saying that I fit in at my job, and since I've been there going on twenty years, I think I'm right.
At some point in our preliminary discussions, I had a brilliant idea. Sadly, my interview committee didn't like my notion of the mammalian interview. I think we could look at a resume and then just smell our way to a good teacher. We could smell and we could breathe. Someone with a truly bad aura and karma and affect and vibe could be sussed out in about ten seconds. We forget about these responses: the odor, the energy. We forget to read the goosebumps on our own skin for clues. We don't pay attention to our hair prickling at the back of our necks. We think the nausea is because of the sushi from last night.
Or, we wonder why we are comfortable and happy and content, and think it's because the candidate is throwing around essay writing terms, terms I don't even know (maybe I'm not a good teacher). That person passed the mammalian interview questions and we didn't even pay attention.
The problem here is that the rubrics for the questions would be hard to develop. And my sniffing someone at the neck or crotch might seem like sexual harassment, and he or she would get the job just because of the mammalian interview techniques.
Interviews start next week, and I won't be writing about them as it could cause lawsuits and internal commotion. As it is, the English Division is going into therapy in May (I'm not kidding), and I don't want to add another problem into the mix.
But to all those of you interviewing out there in the world, think like a mammal.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org