Friday, December 5, 2008

Job Interview Yesterday

Beginning of this week, I got an email from Jeff Feerer, who is the facilities director for the College of Engineering at Davis, saying that he heard that I might be interested in a job working for the College of Engineering.  This came from a clipboard passed around on the first day of shop asking people if they'd be interested in this type of thing.  I didn't think anything of it at the time, so imagine my surprise when I actually got an email asking me if I'd like to come in for an interview.

The interview was for two spots available in the Engineering Fabrication Labratory.  This would mean I would be in charge of the student shop during evenings and weekends, as well as work on projects for the good of the college (supply racks, parade floats, etc).  It also includes other odd jobs such as keeping the shop clean, servicing equipment in the shops, and even working the shipping/receiving dock when the guy in charge of that is on vacation/sick/etc.  Overall, it sounds like a very interesting job, which would let me keep working in the shop, but on other people's projects (I don't have to fund them, and I get paid for it).  I wasn't stupid enough to actually tell him I'd work for free!

So the interview went quite well.  Half of it was him describing the job, setting expectations for what and when I'll be doing stuff.  The university is going to supply a shop apron, steel toed boots, and have me fitted for a resperator for welding(expensive!).  After that he started asking me the typical interview questions, and I only managed to make a fool of myself once.

For some unknown reason, his first question hit me completely unprepared: "What do you do during your free time?"  How could I screw up that question?!?  I program, I work on trains, I build electronics, tinker with Linux, repair computers, study extracarricular text books, build antennas, the list goes on!  And all I could come up with was "Not much, I really don't have a life."  GAAAHHHHH!!!! STUPID STUPID STUPID!!!

Luckily, I think I made up for that.  It was just a profound experience having him make these statments about what he's hoping for in a candidate, and I was able to exceed his expectations on almost every one.  "You're going to need to learn to drive a fork lift" That's not that bad, considering I've already had a few dozen hours loading and unloading palates out of box cars with a fork lift.  "We want someone who can easily communicate with the adult staff" Well I do have an amateur radio license, so I spend two nights a month hanging out with guys 30 years old than me.  I had never really realized (or even thought about) how good my hobbied look on a resume until I sat there with him shaking his head as he read mine.

Notice that last part?  I brought a resume.  I was talking to another person who is interviewing for the job, and they thought I was a dork for bring in a resume for the job.  I'm sorry, this is a real job, with very real minimum wage, working for the College of Engineering.  If I wanted something from UC Davis to put on my future resume, this is it folks!  As my dad always said, to get the job, you just need to get yourself from the big stack into the little stack.  I should find out mid next week if I've gotten the job or not.

Dr. Feerer also said I sounded like a good candidate for a Union Pacific internship that they have had little success filling.  I, of course, would be VERY interested in this (seeing as how my dream for next summer was an internship with CalTrain), so we'll see if I can get a summer job out of it too (though aparently the Eng Fab Lab operates through the summer as well, so I could very well just stay in Davis for the summer).

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