Interviews Are Not Auditions

I promised a few weeks ago that I would talk about my new (second) job, but never got around to it. But today is the day, my friends! I began writing this post in July, but since I believe talking about a chance thing is bad luck, never posted it, so please forgive any tense issues that might arise.

Back in the beginning of July, I had an interview. Most people get nervous for interviews. Me? No, I am weirdly confident about them until it’s way too late. This is because I go on so many auditions. Auditions and interviews are, like, so totally the same, I think as I don’t bother to prepare. They both involve resumes and talking to people and pretending I think I’m great. I see no difference. And I’m good at auditions, so I must be good at interviews!

Wrong. So, so, so wrong.

First of all, because I’ve gone on probably hundreds of auditions in my life but have been on maybe four interviews, I kind of forget that an acting resume is not a real-world resume. I have a real-world resume, but when I am asked for a CV, my hand automatically goes to the one that lists all the people I’ve pretended to be. This also means that I am constantly shocked when going on job interviews and getting asked for references. The acting world doesn’t use references, not in day-job way, at least. So I’m always left looking surprised and unprepared.

Second, delivering a monologue or reading sides for a director are completely different than doing an actual back-and-forth interview. Monologues are challenging and generally unenjoyable for me, but I know what I’m supposed to do and that I’m fairly good at doing it. And cold readings are my very favorite, so I just get excited when those come around. Even a pseudo-interview at an audition (“Oh you’ve worked with Person- I love them! What did you do with them?” “Tell me about your internship at That Theatre.”) is do-able for me. But a real interview? One that asks me to talk about myself, rather than my experiences? No thanks. I don’t enjoy talking about myself, and especially not reducing myself to Three Qualities That Make Me Fan-freaking-tastic and a Flaw That’s Really a Disguised Attribute.

I think that, besides being uncomfortable talking about myself, the other thing that bothers me about this whole interview thing is that I’m convinced they hear the same things over and over and over. I had three interviews for this job and was proven right at the first two because we were all interviewed together, sitting in a line. The lady would ask us a question and one by one, we’d each answer it. And oh, the b.s. How it made me squirm. And sadly, while I tried to be as genuine as possible, my answers were so like everyone else’s. We all had such similar training and backgrounds that I didn’t sound genuine at all. Plus, since I refuse to be like, “oh my God, I am just the BEST PERSON EVER EVER EVER *huge toothy smile*”, I seemed very low-key and unenthusiastic compared to everyone else. I felt myself being forced to be that annoying peppy person to match everyone else, and I fought it as much I could. I’m fine with being upbeat; I just hate being fake.

The first  interview had about ten attendees, the second hosted about six, and the final interview, two (though I know that there were others who attended the final on another date.) The first two rounds were exactly the same, with all of us trying to top each other but trying to seem like we weren’t for two women. We were told we’d be contacted, but time went on and I wasn’t, I grew sad. The job is tour guiding, which I’ve done for the past two summers. Unlike waitressing, it’s something I’ve done and know I’m good at,  and God knows I need another job. But finally, I got an e-mail inviting me to come on a tour under the pretense of allowing me to see if it was something I’d truly be interested in. It was also a chance for them to watch us and how we conducted ourselves.

I was actually pretty nervous about this second part. I knew I wanted the job, but upon arriving at the third interview/tour, the guide said, “Feel free to interact with the guests,” which I knew was code for “I’m going to watch you and see if you interact with the guests.” As I’ve discussed many a time, I’m an introvert. I can’t go up and talk to people of my own volition. No way.

Unless I want a job apparently. Sometimes I really surprise myself. Instead of hanging back and trying to hide the fact that I wasn’t talking to any of the guests, I was able to make myself chat with them. A large part of the tour (and the appeal of the tour) is trying different kinds of sweets, and at one point, a girl on the tour mentioned her favorite kind of candy. “Wow,” I said. “I’ve never heard of that combination. What do you like about it?” WHO WAS THIS PERSON USING MY MOUTH?! That questioned smacked of someone sociable, which is nowhere in the definition of Rachel.

Apparently, that and a few more successful conversations was enough for the company. Though they took a long time to tell me so (a period of time where I panicked… a lot), I got the job. Since then, I’ve been to a few meetings/rehearsals and got my script last week. It’s 25 pages long, and I really need to get cracking on memorizing it if I want to start working soon. Even as an actor used to memorizing stuff word-perfect, as well as a tour guide of two years, I’m still very nervous about being able to do it. I understudy twice this week, then only get one more training session before they push my little tour guide boat out to sea. Time to start memorizing!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alaina Mabaso
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 11:25:47

    I’m always tickled by how many actors describe themselves as introverts. If I ever did have trouble talking to strangers, it’s been completely beaten out of me by my former tour-guide jobs. That ease of talking to new people actually helped me a lot when I began writing full-time. I see the excuse to talk to interesting strangers as one of the biggest perks of my job.

    Good luck with your new tours!

    Reply

  2. Rachel
    Sep 17, 2012 @ 14:52:17

    Hi, Alaina! I hope you like my blog as much as I liked what I read of yours last night!

    Yes, I am the weird enigma of introvert/actor. I think that’s actually one thing I like so much about acting- I’m given words to say. Most of the time, when I talk to new people, I’m constantly stuttering and mumbling. In fact, after meeting you last night, I was stunned that I had the presence of mind to hand you my card; usually I’m curled up in a corner somewhere after a talk with someone new :p But I’m glad we did exchange information!

    Thanks, and thanks for reading! 🙂

    Reply

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