>In continuation of my last blog about recent college grads and their string of poor interviewing etiquette with me, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised with a one new interviewee. And, equally as disappointed with a separate one.
So, good news or bad news first? … Alright, I’ll go bad news first. So, as you are all aware, we’re interviewing for a position on our editing staff. What characteristic do you think an “editor” might have? For example, go ahead and conjure up a few words that might sketch your image of an editor. Like, being a good writer, right? OK. Good. What else? Do you think an editor might, um, read? Surely, right?
Well, I guess one of our interviewees thought she could slip by and become a great editor without being a good reader.
What ticked off that my judgement? I asked a seemingly simple question to her: Who’s your favorite author?
After waffling for about 10 seconds (i.e., an eternity during an interview), she said she couldn’t name one.
OK, I thought. She must have a slew of writers she loves and can’t just name one. So, I tried to help her out and asked her who her favorite five authors were so that she didn’t have to choose just one. Seems I only made it worse.
“Um, well, I, um, I don’t really, um, you know, um, read much,” she said. “And, I don’t remember any of their names if I do read their work.”
Yes, red flags, alarms, toll bells, North Korea’s nuclear bomb, whistles, etc., all went off in my head. Wow, I thought, can’t she just make up a name? Like, just say Salinger, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, King, whatever. Geez, name ME as your favorite author if you can’t think of one.
A blank, sheepish, blush-filled face looked right at me. I don’t even want to think about what my facial reaction was staring back at her.
Call me crazy, but I find it difficult for a person to be a good editor or writer without being a good reader. Our words, syntax and style shouldn’t be learned via Ryan Seacrest’s monologues on “American Idol” or from dialogue from the latest “Twilight” movie.
But, there was redemption later that day when we interviewed another candidate. Perhaps she was reading my blog from last week (doubtful, but hey, I can dream, right?), but she did the rare deed of asking for my business card before she left for the day. Just as she was about to form the words “May I have your business card?”, the conference room where the interview took place became a slow-motion “Matrix” scene where her mouth was moving -5 mph to utter those six magical words. I even thought I saw a rainbow appear behind her.
Hallelujah, I thought. They do exist.