Throughout this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment seeking experiences. (Meet them all HERE). In this installment, Eric Schmitz experiences the highs and lows of “professional speed dating.”
Eric’s first entry can be found HERE.
Tuesday was another early start, as a journal entry to write and a scheduled interview to prepare for left little time to recover from the grind of job seeker life. My first interview was at 10am. I arrived around 9:30, checked the job posting room to see that little had changed, saw the same in the interview posting room, and headed to the interview room for my meeting.
Let me tell you about interviewing at the PBEO Job Fair. Usually, when you have a job interview outside of this week at this event, you have days if not weeks to prepare, and it’s a very formal event. Here, there’s no time for that. This is professional speed dating. You get a table number to meet at, and you go introduce yourself to people you usually have never met before. You have 10-15 minutes (maybe even 30 if you’re lucky to meet with people you could spend the next summer to the next few years of your life with) and convince them why you’re the best candidate for the position. If you get really nervous for interviews, good luck finding the time to do that here. If you’re fortunate enough to get multiple interviews, you have plenty of chances to shake it off. Everyone’s gonna have a horrible interview, you can’t kill them all. If you happen to be the type that can kill in every interview, then odds are you’re not the type that’s attending this.
So I had my first interview (I’m going to keep teams and positions vague to protect the innocent and increase the allure of my skills, if you don’t mind) and it went quite well. It was for a full time position, a Triple-A franchise in a great situation but a little above my qualifications, and I felt I did a solid job convincing the interviewee I was up for the challenge. But you don’t really know, and in 15 minutes, most often you’re not gonna get a vibe that says “I have this locked up” so there’s no sense over-analyzing your performance.
That was it for the morning, and thanks to leaving my wallet at my off-site hotel, I left for a bit and had some time to think about my afternoon interviews. Over the course of the morning, my name appeared on another interview schedule, so I had three job interviews lined up within 1:45 and 3:00. The second two of the three I basically walked from one table to the other. The first went very well, in fact half the interview was just chatting about hockey, which is what I like to call my wheelhouse in terms of discussion points. It was one-on-one, and I can’t say I left thinking I had done a bad job showing why I’d be the best person for the position.
I had enough time between the first and second to go hang out in the workroom with my job seeking constituents. Over the course of this event, I’ve found a group of fellow unemployed who’ve found a way to stick together during the monotony and happen to be a lot of fun. So I chatted with them and headed back to the interview room for my final two spots.
That first one? Yeah… didn’t quite go so well. I sat down, and while I’m confident the position is something I could’ve succeeded at, it wasn’t a good sell job by myself. Of course, that worked out great, being a sales job and all. It was 3-on-1, and finding a way to make connections with three different people enough to give them a good feeling about you in about 15 minutes is pretty tough. I knew that right away, and as I got up to end that interview, I walked right to another table for my next one, sat down and got busy.
You know that feeling when you absolutely kill an interview? Awesome, right? I did very well and I was almost expecting to be offered on the spot. I wasn’t, which is expected since I was the first interview, but still, I finished up on a high note.
The postings were near non-existent for the day in general, and after sitting back down at the workroom table with my adopted peers for a bit, I went and wandered the trade show floor. I ran into my former colleague with the Sounds, Brandon Yerger, and walked around with him as he went around gathering information for the team. You can spend hours going booth to booth and learning about different products. I did stop and check out a few video board and presentation systems, just to get a better grasp of the technology for my own sake, and I’m continually impressed with how advanced things have become.
With no hope for more interviews or jobs to be posted, I just headed back to the hotel to relax and have dinner before another trip back to Opryland. Over the next few hours, I ended up getting call-backs on three of the five interviews I had. The first one I had this morning? Denied. The one this afternoon I killed? Got the offer. The one from Monday that I just showed up to and did well? They want to meet on Wednesday again, and it sounds promising. Needless to say, I feel like I’m in good shape and I still have chips left on the table with plenty of time for things to happen.
Back at Opryland, I met up with some of the Sounds staff (even AJ Rockwell came out!) at Fuse Sports Bar and I had a chance to tell them all about what happened. Then we wandered over to The Falls where it seemed like more people decided to hang out and we did sociable things. The place was mobbed, so we headed back to Fuse, which was bumping like it has been every night. I was able to make some additional connections with teams that I hadn’t applied with that seemed like they had potential, so it was naturally productive, but overall, the night was spent just chilling over a few drinks. That was fine with me, and around 1:30 I decided to call it a night. I said goodbyes to the people I was hanging out with, and got introduced to John Kruk. You know… just another night at the Baseball Winter Meetings.