I was met at the terminal by the company driver. He was holding up a sign that read “Mr. Benjamin Hutt”, and he offered to carry my bag as we walked to the waiting Chevy Suburban. I carried my bags, but in return he offered me a bottle of water from the cooler in the back of the SUV.
Yep. Not only had I been flown down to Georgia on the corporate account, but they had sent their official company driver to meet me.
“This is what it feels like to be in the real business world”, I thought, “I don’t know how I feel about it, but it is quite nice”.
From there, Felix (the driver) ferried me down the highway to the hotel that had been booked for me. We chatted about the company that I was interviewing with, about the city of Atlanta itself, and about what life was like in the South, versus up where I’m from in the North. It was fun, and time and the highway flew by, until I was sitting comfortably in the recliner that took up one corner of my hotel room.
And that was how my trip to Georgia started. A bit of backstory; Earlier in June I had received a reply to one of the many cold-applications that I had sent out. From that came a phone screen, and when that phone screen went well they called to ask when I’d be available, and if I happened to have any plans to fly to Georgia on my own anytime soon.
As I didn’t have any plans to do that, they told me they’d be in touch with my flight information and interview times, and that was all I heard from them for nearly a week.
But soon enough my inbox had an email from their HR woman, giving me my flight information and interview schedule. She told me that the driver would be waiting, and that he’d have all of the hotel information for me upon my arrival – all I had to do was get to Logan Airport on time.
Now, I’m not used to flying around the country on someone elses dime… and I’m very not used to flying somewhere when I don’t have the hotel confirmation, or even hotel name, written down somewhere. But there’s a first time for everything, and sometimes a man just needs to leave home without any real plans… with just the knowledge that everything will work out right in the end. And so that’s what I did.
Back in the hotel room, my stomach was starting to remind me that I hadn’t eaten since earlier that afternoon. It was also reminding me quite loudly about the very interesting lounge-restaraunt that was attached to the hotel.
Now, I’m trying my best to save money… but a key point to interviewing is to keep yourself energized and ready to tackle any challenges that they may throw your way. The best method to do this? Stay well fed, well rested, and wake up at least three hours before the interview is slated to start. That way, your brain is ready and warmed up for the interview… instead of being in the fog of latent sleep.
Now, I couldn’t work on the sleep, or the waking up… but I could work on keeping myself well fed. So I headed down, and ate myself an amazing dinner – I ordered myself up a BBQ hamburger, and they even sent me over a free appetizer since I hadn’t been there before (Telling them that I may move in nearby didn’t hurt eather). I relaxed and chatted with the waitress, exchanging stories about travel and job searches, before heading back up to the room to finalize my interview binder and get some sleep.
The next day started out nice and early (three hours before the interview, as per my usual) with my complementary continental breakfast. No bacon was to be found, unfortunately, but I wasn’t too upset since I’d been on a “eat fruit for breakfast” kick for the past week or so anyways.
The rest of the morning was spent showering, reading over my notes, prepping my suit, and doing a bit of relaxation-reading before catching a shuttle over to the company HQ. I almost never wake up early, so these few mornings where I’m up with enough time to relax are a pleasure for me… I crave relaxation and slow unhurriedness, and knowing that I’d be working on something important later on just made it all the more pleasurable.
The interview was excellent – I’ve summarized my two big take aways from it below:
- I put my “interviewing tactics” that I had recently learned from Larry King’s book “How to talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere” to good use – One of my interviewers was extremely stiff and slightly awkward, and so I worked to change the tone from that of an interview into that of a conversation.
It worked, as far as I can tell, and we both learned a lot more than we would have if they had just kept asking monotone questions.
- Interviewing over lunch is difficult. I ordered a sandwich – bad decision, in hindsight. Sandwiches are hard to eat when you’re talking, and it’s hard to talk when you’re eating. Instead, I should have ordered a salad or something that I could have eaten in smaller bites.
I did get a good bit of practice in about controlling the flow of conversation though – I was able to get the interviewers talking on a long enough subject that I got a few bites of food in.
After the interview I had to head out rather quickly in order to catch my plane back to New England. I had left my bags at the hotel front desk, so after a quick stop in to grab them and change out of my suit I was heading back down the highway in a huge Chevy Suburban.
Felix wasn’t around today, but the new driver and I spent the whole drive talking about philosophy and human nature anyways, discussing things as if we had known each other for years. He had grown up in Nigeria, and had lived all across the States since moving here – DC, LA, Houston, etc… His opinion helped me out a lot, actually, since he was able to give me a very clean perspective on living in Atlanta. In his words, “It’s nice! It’s warm all year, there’s no snow, and the people are grounded. Their not those LA types… no one likes those LA types.”
The plane ride back looked to be just as boring as the one down, right up until I took my seat next to a mid-fourties couple. They quickly proved themselves to be very interesting flight companions , telling me stories about their lives in Atlanta and what they did for livings;
“Ohh, I’m in business. We’re not big, but we did finally break into the ‘Forbes top 5’ last year”
“This is so crazy! This is the first time we’ve flown in coach in almost two years! I can finally use my free-drink coupons! Here, you can have one too… how about Glenlivet 12-year?”