"Not too shabby for someone who hasn’t had to interview in 18yrs!"
- Job placement specialist
Today I return to work after two months of unemployment. Since I write a blog about video games, one might expect me to relate how video games helped me get a new job. But as an EVE player, I have a bit of twist on the tale. I never brought up gaming in any of my interviews. Instead, the experience I gained in the metagame and meeting other players face-to-face helped me greatly.
The quote I led off the post with isn't quite accurate. True, I hadn't interviewed for a real life position in 18 years. But when I applied to join Eve University in 2009, I underwent a 45-minute interview as thorough as any job interview I've experienced. For those who don't play EVE, my application also required me to give an API key to the EVE University recruitment officer in order to check my background. Think of the API key as a form of resume. While people who don't play EVE may think that goes a bit too far, the serious EVE corporations do serve as good practice for the real world.
The interview to apply to EVE University was not my only EVE-related interview. My blogging about EVE resulted in my appearing on two podcasts. Back in April 2014 before Fanfest I appeared on the Declarations of War podcast with Alekseyev Karrde and NinjaTurtle. A couple of months later, I did a one-on-one interview with Cap Stable's Lanctharus. That interview I think helped lead to my presence on Cap Stable's weekly CSM candidate analysis shows. Probably the biggest lesson that I learned, especially from the CSM panel shows, was waiting until everyone stopped talking before speaking. When doing telephone interviews, that is a very important point to remember. A potential employer might think you're rude if you don't let them finish. Rudeness in a job interview is, to use the technical term, a bad thing.
I also have to credit my experiences at Fanfest for helping me with the interview process. I'm a bit shy and have to force myself in group settings not to try to hide in a corner. Going to Fanfest and meeting people from around the world kind of changed that, although I did pretty much hide the first two years. But the last two trips I think I did a lot better about walking up and talking to people.
Of course, the biggest challenge that I faced in overcoming my shyness involved my part in the Security presentation at Fanfest this year. Oh my! Not announcing my participation and walking onstage in the middle? Totally my idea. I just wanted to get up there, give my part, and run away. Given my level of nervousness backstage, I'm glad that CCP Bugartist agreed.
The experience definitely helped with the job interview. I arrived downtown early in case the train broke down and the nerves started getting to me. When that happened, I thought to myself, "I've been on the HARPA main stage and survived. This is nothing." After that, I walked into the Willis (Sears) Tower, bought a lemonade, went over my list of questions one last time, and chilled. No problem.
Before concluding the post, I should mention the role that the monthly Madison meetup hosted by The Mittani and Sion Kumitomo played in the interview process. After the first phone interview I did, I had to take an online test. My only problem involved a lack of a functioning home internet connection. No problem for me though, because the Madison meetup was the next day. So I drove up, stayed at the Howard Johnson, and took the test Wednesday morning at the hotel before going home. I'm glad I didn't try to take the test at a Starbucks because the middle part consisted of a series of timed logic puzzles. Needless to say, I passed the test.
So that's my story of how video games helped me get a new job. A little unusual, but I think my whole experience with EVE is a little unusual. But the important thing is, I'm working again.