Wednesday, August 19, 2015

a day of prep and tutoring

My morning began with a text message from my buddy Tom, who woke up with a nasty, severe, and likely contagious eye infection that had made his eye swell shut. He texted me a photo in which he looked as though a boxer had taken a shot at his eye. I have more taste than to reproduce that photo here (although I must say the prospect is tempting), so you'll have to make do with your imagination.

I'm now in the midst of prepping for a gig I'm doing at Seoul National University tomorrow. This work comes courtesy of the infamous Young Chun, who offered me this opportunity. I had originally said a sort-of no for [mumble mumble] reasons, then changed my mind to a yes. Young was very accommodating, and he passed the high-paying gig along to me. I won't say how much it pays, but it's substantially more generous than KMA's handsome W70,000 per hour, and I can use all the extra cash I can get.

I'm working with SNU's career-development center. 57 students interested in practicing job-interview techniques will be visiting me in groups of 13-15 as part of a summertime "employment camp" hosted by Korea's top university. I'll interview each student and provide feedback (give more eye contact, know your facts, be sure to dress well, have no typos on your résumé, etc.) for about six hours (there's one unpaid hour for lunch), and voilà—it's done. Young assures me that the job is easy, but I'm prepping like a madman all the same.

To that end, I've printed out a list of "50 Common Interview Questions," a list of "Interview Dos and Don'ts," and I'm in the process of reading over 57 résumés, looking for ways to tailor-make the questions I'll be asking the students. Many of the CVs already showcase impressive skills and short-term employment histories; my main worry is that everyone's going to be perfect during their interviews, and I'll have nothing to say. Koreans get suspicious when there aren't any complaints. It's a complaint-driven culture.

Of course, as Murphy's Law would have it, when the ZIP file from SNU (containing all the kids' résumés) arrived a few days ago, I opened it and groaned: over 80% of the files were in that goddamn ".hwp" format. I forced myself to find an HWP reader for Mac, and luckily, the Apple Store had a free download. Thus far, it's working perfectly.

So I'll be prepping well into the night, stopping only to tutor Amy for an hour. Then it's bedtime, and I'm up at 5AM to make sure I'm at SNU well in advance of the 10AM start time. Work is from 10AM to 5PM: seven hours total, six of which are paid.

Ought to be interesting, and many thanks to Young for the gig.



Surprises Aplenty said...

Do you know any good way to help students prepare questions for their interviewers? You know, at the end of the interview, "Do have any questions for us or about our company?"

It is such a specific situation that I don't know how to model it in class. I have considered making Dean Inc., a company that mumble-mumble and get the students to ask questions about it but that requires a lot of specific preparation from me that might not be transferable to the next class.

Kevin Kim said...


That's a good question, and I'm afraid I don't have a good answer right off the top of my head. I would suggest that the students get curious about whatever company it is they're applying for, then research that company. (I'm sure you already tell them to do this.) If they have a particular question that isn't answered by their research, then that's the sort of thing they should ask questions about at the end of the interview. Companies want to know that you've researched them, but they're also glad to entertain questions about their inner workings.

Another recommendation might be for the students to ask compatibility-themed questions along the lines of, "I see that your company is involved in X. I have an interest in Y, which I think is closely related to X. Does your company offer ways for me to pursue my interest in Y, or is there some way for me, as an employee, to do work/research that combines X and Y?"

That's all I've got at the moment. Sorry, man.

Other commenters should feel free to chime in.

Charles said...

I would invite you over for dinner after the gig, but unfortunately I am going to be away from tomorrow morning to Friday morning.

Anyway, good luck!

Surprises Aplenty said...

I wasn't putting you on the spot. I guess a full class in research techniques is needed to improve that one job interview skill or requirement.

When I consider making Dean Inc. or the like, I think about how to make it fit the major of most of the students in class. But how am I going to mimic a software design studio? I guess I should make Generic Dean Inc, a company that runs convenience stores or the like.