More Anxiety: Playing The Waiting Game

You may recall that back in September I took a State test in-order to get on the ‘eligible to be hired list’ for the Associate Programmer Analyst classification. In order to pass the test you need to get a 70%, however, in order to be listed for immediate hire you need to score in the top three ranks. Your rank is based on your score which is rounded to the nearest 5%. When I took the test there was 1 person with a rank of 95%, about 15 people with 90%, and about 60 people with 85%. I got an 80%, along with about 500 others, which put me into the fourth rank. Since I took the test there was about a period of two weeks where I was actually in rank 3, since the one person with 95% went off the list, but that didn’t help me much and eventually another person came back on the list with 95%. For the most part the list has remained the same, with a few minor fluctuation’s, since I passed the test.

This past week there was a somewhat unfortunate change for me, there are now 3 people with 95%. This will make it even less likely that I will be able to move back into the top 3 ranks anytime soon. Looking on the bright side at least no one has gotten a 100% which would push me down to the 5th rank.

However, this isn’t all bad. Just because I’m not available for immediate hire doesn’t mean I can’t apply to new job postings, which is exactly what this post is really about!

Since I graduated, something I still need to muse about, I have been applying for various jobs. I need to get hired sooner rather than later since my student assistant job will expire towards the end of March. Being unemployed would really suck.

After submitting a bunch of applications and resumes to various state departments I started getting interviews. I had three interviews on the week of January 22nd. One for the Department of Education (CDE), one for the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), and one for the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). Most of those went well.

The interview at CDE was for two positions in developing .NET applications in their ‘Application Development & Maintenance Office’ (ADMO). There were about 5 or 6 people interviewing me, which made it a bit intimidating. I should note also that one person in that interview as a manager from another department, the ‘Educational Demographics Office’ (EDDEMO), in CDE that was ‘scouting’ some of the candidates since he was looking to hire an Programmer Analyst. So I was interviewing for two open positions with a possibility of being considered for a third. That was my first interview since graduation.

One thing that I realized after that interview was how extremely important it is to ask questions, especially after they ask all their questions and say “So do you have any questions?”

Always, always ALWAYS ask questions!

When they asked me that in the interview I gave the worst answer EVER! “Nope, I think you answered all my questions.” I felt really bumbed out after that. I felt like a goon and an idiot. The interview went so well up until then. I made sure to take notes after the interview so I can review some of the questions they had that I didn’t feel like I answered too well. Overall I didn’t do to bad but I didn’t feel like I did great.

I’ll post some of my thoughts and interview notes in a separate post.

So for my second interview that week I made sure to have questions. At the DCA I felt that I gave an awesome interview. There were three people interviewing me so it wasn’t too intimidating. Everything went well and they even told me that I did a good job in the interview, which is always a plus! The work I’d be doing at the DCA would be web related, lots of HTML&CSS, JavaScript, and some legacy ASP applications. Also they said that they are wanting to move to more open source solutions like PHP once they catch up on their current projects. Sounded interesting.

My third interview that week at the DFI was a bust. There was only one person there to interview me and he was very distracted by other work he was doing. He only asked two questions and had me take a test. From everything I gathered from that interview he was looking for someone who had extensive experience installing and setting up MS SQL server. It was obvious that he had made up his mind about me rather quickly so I didn’t want to spend any extra effort than I needed to in the interview.

Ya win some ya loose some!

But the story isn’t over yet. err, the blog post isn’t over…

Last week I spent my time patiently waiting to hear back from any of the interviews or for possibly more interviews. I got both!

I got a call from the CDE and they asked if I could come in for an interview for their EDDEMO department. I also got a call from the California State Lands Commission (SLC) to come in for an interview. Finally I got an email after work on that Friday that the DCA wanted me to come back in for a second interview with their manager. Sweet! Three more interviews plus I’ve been clocking in some good practice!

I told Christi that this interview at the CDE (EDDMO) was not quite a second interview but not quite a first interview. It was a 1.5 interview. It went very well. This interview was with the manager that was scouting candidates in my prior interview for the ADMO and also his senior/lead programmer, I believe. This job seemed to entail doing a lot of database queries for reports and developing applications to interact with their main database. I felt good coming out of that interview.

Then I had my interview at the SLC, and that went really well! A little too well…

The SLC is a small department and they currently don’t have a programmer. They have a consultant and a technology/security expert but need more help in developing and maintaining their systems. A few times they would tell me how good my answers were and how poorly other candidates answers were. It seems like a lot of the other candidates would focus a lot on the technology, and from my school work in MIS I would talk about the business needs. They told me that they really didn’t want a ‘coder’ but rather a business analyst who can code. Music to my ears. This would be a good job to have but since its so small it would be hard to move up without changing departments. But I still think I’d gain a lot of good experience.

Then Finally I had my second interview at the DCA. It went well, but wasn’t exceptional as I was hoping for. It was brief and not like my other interviews. Since this was with the department manager I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I consider this the first of my second interviews. And I made a horrible mistake, which I’m sure you can probably guess what it was:

“Do you have any questions?”

“No, not really.”


That was this past Thursday, two days ago. All three of the interviews I had this week said that they would get back to me by the end of next week. Oh the humanity! I can’t wait that long!

Also, yesterday I got a call from the CDE regarding my first interview. They want me to come in next Friday to meet with their Program Manager for a second interview.

I know I’m going to jinx myself for saying this but it looks like I’ll be getting a job pretty soon, but how soon is soon and which job will I get/or should I take?

I was talking about this with both Christi and Yoseph, a student assistant that I work with at the DMV. They were wanting to know which job I’d prefer. My initial response is “The first one to offer me a job!”

But looking at them all equally I think a job at the CDE would give me the most upward mobility and the most experience. Between the SLC and DCA its hard to choose. I’d get a lot of good experience at the SLC but I really wouldn’t have any peers to bounce ideas off of. On the other hand I’m not sure exactly what experience I’d gain working at the DCA. I don’t want to be an “HTML” coder which is what it kinda seems like. I could be wrong.

So I sit here an play the waiting game. There is little else that is on my mind.
I know I have other important priorities that I need to worry about, such as the wedding (which is a HUGE priority), and looking into buying a new house. But its hard to know what to look for if you don’t know when or if you’ll have a job!


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