Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day 29: PAC Leader Interview

Towards the end of my freshman year of college, I had received a text message from my protege advisory committee (PAC) leader that Mentor Tech was looking for new PAC leaders to help serve the Mentor Tech program and had mentioned how much of an asset I would be if I did decide to apply for the position. I remember sitting there holding my phone and thinking to myself of the chances that could happen if I were to go through the application process. The application was short and reflective with a recommendation letter to go with it. Mentor Tech for me was already starting to feel like my family because as a protege myself, I had gone to multiple workshops and being part of their community service program had brought a lot of me out to the public. So to be more involved with Mentor Tech was fine by me.

A few days after I had personally submitted my application to one of the unit coordinators of Mentor Tech, I received an email back stating the date and time of my interview. My PAC leader had already mentioned that there was an interview along with the application process so my initial thought about the interview was like any of the other interviews I have had. A casual sit down and chat about why I wanted to be in the program and what I wanted to bring to the program. Only thing though about that interview day is that nothing went the way I had imagined it to go. I arrived at the location a few minutes early because I believe that making a good first impression shows that you are dedicated, know how to manage your time, and that you know how to follow instructions. While I arrived we had to sign-in so I am like okay, have to sign-in in order to be counted as present. But while I was signing my name there was a column that had group numbers on them and according to the group number that you belonged to, you had to grab a name tag from the table. The name tags were mostly premade that had both the name of the applicant and the group they pertained. This is where I start to get nervous. I picked up my name tag, removed the paper so that the adhesive on the back was showing and slapped my name tag on the left side of my chest. Why the left side? Well from a workshop I had been to, the name tag should be on the left side so that when you go for a handshake (which you typically use your right hand to give out a handshake) the person you are shaking hands with is able to see your name. Well as more people started to arrive at the location, I had an idea that maybe this interview is not going to be like the rest of the interviews.

By the time everyone signed in and grabbed their name tags, the room was starting to feel hot. Now I am not sure if it was was for the fact that there was too many people or because I was nervous and wearing a blazer. There is just something about wearing professional business attire that increases my body temperature, like if you accidentally wore a sweater without anything underneath on a hot humid day assuming that the day was going to bring in rain but it doesn't. But since you do not have anything underneath you are stuck wearing the sweater for the rest of the day. That is how I felt and it was starting to make me feel anxious. Most of the groups were pretty big like four to six members per group, except my group. It was just me and two other people who coincidentally also happened to be Hispanic. I am not sure if they did that on purpose but that did not stop me from having suspicious thoughts. At least it was nice to be around other Hispanics because I find that there is not enough at my university. Also since there was this cute and kind Hispanic guy in my group too so I felt like I was already winning. This is all before instructions were being given out so me along with about thirty other potential PAC leaders were waiting awkwardly for further details.

The unit coordinator then comes and begins her shpeel and that is when we realized what was the purpose of being in a group. As a group we were asked to plan either a social event or an academic event in more or less of thirty minutes and present the idea to a panel. Each group were handed out with a sheet of paper, a large sheet of paper for brainstorming and presenting purposes, and a container of markers to write with. Given the fact that I did not know my group mates and I already had an assignment to do with them surely does play a large role of how fast you are in adjusting and producing in a short amount of time. Our group had to present a holiday event to the panel and on the sheet of paper that was given out by the unit coordinator instructs with bullet points of what to answer as we present our idea. The bullet points were pretty straightforward which asked things such as what would you call the event, how does diversity fit into the event, who you are inviting to speak, and where. The important small details that could really make a difference in planning. So on top of having to work with a group I did not know, in that same time they were calling us one by one for separate interviews. It was like an interview inception and again I had no idea who would be giving the interview out. But I am just hoping that I find the right words to answer all of their questions. 

In the middle of planning out the holiday event and sharing my ideas, one of the helpers called my name out for my separate interview. A wave of panic rushed over me and I quickly placed the sheet of paper I was holding and walked out of the common room. Slowly opening the door, I notice that not even the separate interview was one on one but more so three to one. The isolated chair signaled me to sit there and just like I always do, I try to liven up the mood so that my nervousness doesn't completely fill up the room. The questions were personal as I guessed them to be as a way to further learn about my character but there was this one question that stands out that keeps me thinking. "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?" and at first I had to make sure I heard the question correctly so I politely asked for them to repeat the question. Confirming my doubts, I shoot the first answer that pops into my head. "I would push the blender to its side and slide out" and with that being said all three of my interviewers begin to scribble onto their papers. I do not know if I provided an efficient answer but I was able to produce a solution on the spot which I am proud of. 

Soon after my separate interview, we wrap up our holiday event. We decided to go for a Halloween social while still bringing in diversity through the different costumes brought in by different cultures. The panel interview was held in one of the larger conference room in the same building and since we were group three we were in the first half to present. Even though I was confident in our idea, I was still feeling nervous for any spontaneous questions that could have be asked that we have not prepared for. As our time arrived to present, the conference room was filled with at least fifteen staff members of Mentor Tech half in which I have not seen. The tallest member of our group held the poster and I introduced our group. I started off the presentation and I was hoping to at least get someone to laugh. If you get someone to laugh then you are golden. There was multiple moments of laughter and other times there was awkward moments of questioning but overall I find our group to have held their ground and they presented efficiently. I was honestly proud and relieved that within the hour that I have met my group mates I was able to get along with them and be able to pull in all of our ideas to create the final product. 

This whole interview process started at five o'clock in the evening and I did not get out until seven thirty or around there. The process was long and exhausting, but it was such a great learning experience. At the end of the interview day, I even took off my small heeled flats while I was walking back to my dorm because I could not stand them anymore. 

PS: I did get the position.

Which interview do you consider the most memorable?

xx Chavelita 

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