The brass ring

I didn’t sleep very much last night; I was too anxious about today’s job interview at SAS. Interviews don’t usually affect me that way, but this one was different. SAS is at the top of everyone’s list of the best places to work in the Triangle, perhaps in the entire country. I’ve been applying for jobs there since I arrived in this area fifteen years ago, and this was the first time I had actually been selected for an interview. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I did not want to screw it up.
The interview was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. I left home at 8:20. I knew I would encounter slow traffic along the way and had allowed extra time for that, but there was always the possibility that something completely beyond my control, like a wreck or a flat tire, would prevent me from getting there on time. (At least I didn’t have to worry about getting lost; after having driven past the SAS campus on my way to work for nine years, I knew exactly how to get there.) I didn’t really stop worrying until my car eased into a parking space in front of SAS Building B.
After signing in at the front desk and obtaining a temporary badge, I was greeted by a Human Resources person. She spent the next hour reviewing the pre-interview paperwork I had brought with me (a background check form and a work history), explaining SAS compensation policies, and quizzing me on my work history. She asked me a few tough questions, such as “How do you think your references see you?”, and watched me try to respond without sounding inane or obviously insincere.
Eventually, she let me go, and I drove to Building J for part 2 of the interview: meeting the manager. I took an immediate liking to him, and we discussed my history and the state of the technical writing field. After about half an hour, he took me to a conference room where the rest of the writing team was gathered, and left me with them. Being interviewed by half a dozen people at once sounds scary, but it was actually quite enjoyable — they were a friendly and likable bunch, and it seemed to me that I had a lot in common with them. I did my best to answer their questions about my experience and knowledge, and asked a few of my own about their procedures and tools. After an hour, the manager reappeared and took me back to his office to find out my impressions of the team and see what additional questions I had for him. With that, the interview was over and he led me back to the lobby to sign out.
By this point it was past noon, so I called Virgil to let him know I was finished, and he and Denise treated me to an excellent lunch in one of the SAS cafeteria. How did it go? they asked. On the whole, I thought it had gone very well; I had managed to avoid saying anything stupid or spilling coffee on anyone. But I was the first of six candidates to be interviewed for this position, and my chances depend as much on their merits as on my own. The manager says that he is “moving aggressively” to fill the position, and that I should hear from them by the middle of next week. I will keep looking, of course — but it’s going to be a nerve-wracking wait.

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