Tuesday evolved into a lazy, contemplative, day for me. Nice fall weather outside; a weekday, but not a holiday, also not at work.
It only took a couple quick emails to sort out that we’d retry the interview Wednesday at the same time (when the N American contingent had understood the interview to be from the beginning), so I sent a brief email off to work to let them know I’d be in late Wednesday and took a long circuitous walk to the grocery. Fortunately, the response from my boss was a quick one-liner to the effect of “no worries!” despite my lack of any explanation.
I had time to cook up a nice meal, and relax a bit – was burnt out on technical projects after spending the weekend (and several evenings on either side of it) focused on my laptop. Any more work on my practice projects would’ve been too detail-oriented for interview material anyways.
Went to bed and got a good night sleep this time around, thanks to a double dose of chamomile tea. I figured that the slip-up on the part of the interviewers gave me a slight edge, which cut through some of the anticipation from the day before.
The call in went a bit smoother this time, but there were some issues with sound quality so I ended up calling back with my regular phone about 10 minutes in. That didn’t work out so well at first. I had to try several times to get back into the call, wondering the whole time how much of a doofus the interviewers must think I was being – probably only took 20 seconds in reality.
Format wise, the interview was batches of questions from each interviewer in turn, with occasional followups from another interviewer interleaved. The initial few related to my understanding of what the job would entail, in general terms eg “Are you aware that there is no chance of leaving for 9 months?” (as I’m typing this…that’s a long time…). Then, the bulk of the questions after that were inter-personal things “if you were in situation X, how would you respond?”.
A few questions stuck in my head after the IceCube interview a few years back, and I had given those questions a bit of thought in the lead-up to this interview. One of them, something along the lines of “if you got the job, what would you pack for entertainment?” came up this time around too. My answer was essentially that I’m not all that worried about having enough to do there; there will be loads of distracting things without worrying about taking more stuff. But, I’d think about something like a musical instrument too, maybe some geeky parts to play with.
I remember when I went to McMurdo, that I had grand plans of things I’d do (learn Calculus. Ha!) in my free time there, and in the end I barely touched those things. I heard one of the interviewers (who had this job a few years ago) say something like “that was my experience too” in the background. Win!
Then, of course, there were some technical questions. These were split in two parts; electronics, and computers. I hadn’t spent any time practicing the electronics ones, since my job revolves around that stuff, and I think I managed to answer the electronics questions at least two ways each, where that made sense. The harder computer questions lined up quite well with the things I had practiced, and in the end I think I did alright with them. Lucky!
Overall, the call took about an hour forty-five, and by the end all I could think about was how I needed a break to pee. This was, of course, when I was getting the information on what the next steps in the process would be, for the lucky winners. Interviews would be continuing through the following week, then applicants would be contacted in the first week of May.