Saturday, December 5, 2009

Job Interviews

I've been interviewing people lately for some props design positions and I thought I would share some of my favorite interview questions and why I like them.

Talk to me about your favorite director you've worked with?
-This is a really great question especially if I know the director they are going to be working with and can compare a director they like with the director of the show. But even if I don't know the director well, I feel like this question exposes a theatre artist's commitment to collaboration. Being able to speak positively and enthusiastically about the work of another artist, tells me the person respects and understands the work of his/her fellow theatre artists.

What are your pet Peeves?
-This question is one I use to help decide if the person will be able to work well with me. Often it is less about evaluating the person I am interviewing and more about honestly looking at myself and the theatre company I am working with. For example, I was working with a company I loved but in order to aviod politics and rumors, the powers that be often waited a long time to share important information with the rest of the company. If someone were to tell me that secrets and lack of communication was a pet peeve for them, I would have to honestly look at the situation and see if they would be able to work well and be happy with the company.

What is your favorite part of the job?
-For a stage manager this might be blocking rehearsals or calling the show, a tech director might say drafting, a props master might say building furniture. I just like this question becuase I feel like it gives me a good first impression on the type of stage manager/tech director/props master the person is. Most of the jobs in theatre are incredibly multi-faceted, knowing what part of the job a person enjoys gives me an idea of whether they can fill the holes the company currently has (we don't need two people in a props shop who are upholsterers) or lets me know what to look for in someone else if I am hiring multiple people at the same time.

If you could take a class right now to learn/improve one skill, what would it be?
-I hate negative questions, and I feel that the alternative to this question, "What is your biggest weakness," puts people on the spot, makes them uncomfortable and doesn't get at the spirit of the question I intend. This is another question that is going to let me know where I am going to have holes that need to be filled, but it can also let me know if this job might help the person to grow and move to the next step in their career. I also love the question becuase I, personally, love learning new skills, and someone who responds enthusiastically to this question is likely someone I'll get along with.

How do you handle it when the impossible is asked of you?
-Everyone who has done a reasonable amount of theatre has been in this situation. What do you do when you are told "I need it to be amazing, I need it tomorrow and don't spend any money." The way that a person responds to this question tells me if they really understand the callaborative process of theatre, and the importance of compromise.

What is the show you've done that you were most proud of?
-I love people who are passionate about what they do, and asking someone to talk about a show they are proud of is a great way to get a peak at that passion. It's also a great way to get to hear about how they deal with challenges and think outside the box.

What does a good day look like to you? A bad day?
-I feel like this question is more aimed at work ethic. If someone is talking about a good day at work being one where they don't have to do anything, thats not the person I want to hire. It's like when you were growing up and someone would ask you your favorite subject in school was. I don't want to be working with the kid who said "recess".

1 comment:

  1. *like* Love it Jesse! I think this is also a good tool for people to think about what their own answers to these questions are :)