Last week, not two days after I sent the application in, I was pleased to hear from my contacts at the Enquirer that a Michigan newspaper was checking out my references. That particular application was one that I had a good feeling about, so I'm hoping that I'll hear from them eventually.
My contacts at the Enquirer also helped me out with a little networking; the executive editor referred me to a bank manager he knew was in desperate need of some tellers, and so over the weekend I applied for that. I had the first of two interviews for it this morning, and she complimented me on my ability to ask questions during the interview. It's something that I picked up from a lecture in college; a journalism professor has a guest speaker come in, and the man talked about how if he was interviewing someone for a job at his newspaper, he wouldn't hire any candidate that didn't ask questions. It is not actually something that should only be applied at a newspaper--I have asked questions at every job interview I've been in, and it has always helped. Hell, the HR director at the Enquirer still goes on about my ability to ask smart questions, and all I've ever done is ask her about practical stuff. The bank manager said that most interviews end up something like this:
"Do you have any questions about the job?"
She was also impressed that I showed up fifteen minutes early for the interview (an accident; I was shooting for ten, but the office wasn't five minutes from my apartment). This implies a certain lack of quality in other candidates--showing up early for the interview is one of the first job hunting tips anything I've read gives you.
It's not a job I want to do at all, which means that I performed excellently for the interview. It's hard to get worked up and nervous about a job you don't want. The manager said she can't do any hiring until I've talked to her HR person, who is out for the week. I should expect a call next week, then I interview with HR, and if it goes well, I then get two full weeks of paid training. The job is technically part time, but I'll work twenty hours a week with the option to take on a lot more hours. At the minimum possible starting salary, it'll cover rent at the very least. And I'll get health benefits. I could perhaps flesh things out with freelance writing on the side.
In the meantime, I continue to spam newspapers with job applications. There's one in Indiana that I would love to get a call back from. And one in Wisconsin. And the one in Michigan that I alluded to earlier. And...you get the picture.
One thing got me down, though: I was on the phone with my mother, telling her about this morning's interview, when my phone started to beep. "Call waiting," the display said, with a phone number I didn't recognize. I cut my conversation with my mother short, excited that perhaps one of the applications I had sent out was getting a call back.
It was the insurance company for the health plan I'd signed up for through my previous job. They want to know what I'm going to do since I'm no longer employed by them. If I want to continue coverage with that plan I have to pay twice as much money through COBRA.
Talk about a mood killer.