Interview Tips and Advice
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I thought a thread like this could come in handy for those, like me, who are in the process of finding a new job. We can't really just go to a "job seekers" website and get tips on interviewing, as we have a somewhat specialized field.

    So let's say one finds a good job and has an interview. What are your tips?

    To be precise, I have a second interview next Thursday at an Episcopal job that I really want. I have to work with the choir on two anthems, prepare two hymns, and play a "prelude/postlude" piece. Any advice on a "trial shot" with the choir? Whether to go for the "show piece" for the organ solo? And I've been considering giving them a CD of myself and a sample of my writing (they asked me about my writing in the first interview), is this a good idea?

    I think we could well keep this open past next Thursday, as it's not a topic I see brought up here often.
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 804
    Organ solo: Heck, I say go for it! :)
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    I'd be sure to use contrasting pieces for your solo stuff, just to make sure they get to hear the fact that you know how to "control" the organ.

    As for the choir rehearsal, be yourself. If it's your custom to start rehearsal with a prayer, do it. If you do warm-ups, give them a sample, but not every trick in your bag. Rehearse pieces exactly as you would with a choir of average ability, unless this is a choir of paid singers, in which case you can really dig into the subtleties of interpretation.

    Treat this almost like "confession." Don't hide anything about your personality, philosophy, approach, technique for fear that they won't respond to it well at first (hoping that you can start "being yourself" sometime after the honeymoon). Don't "bait and switch." If they ask a loaded question about "blended worship" or "diversity of musical styles", be frank. Even if they tell you they're just curious, who cares? If someone is asking questions like that, they've got an agenda.

    If you're proud of your work, go for it! Better to let them know what they're getting if they hire you (or what they'd be missing if the don't!)

    Good luck!

    (Don't hesitate to e-mail me if you want any more help!)
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,347
    Always play the Bach Toccatta and Fugue in d minor and you will get hired!
    Choose choral music you know really well and have a lot of ideas about to teach the choir.
  • Lawrence
    Posts: 123

    One thing I might add is to make sure that your hymn playing is spot on that day. It is what most affects the other people in the room as far as your organ playing goes, and, while they might not be able to pick out a mistake in a Bach fugue, they'll know if they can or cannot sing easily with your hymn playing. So I say pick your two hymns and practice them like you practiced the first hymn you ever learned.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,665
    First. Is it a job and a place you truly want to be? How much do you know about the parish, its staff, its members, its geographical location, its ability to support music (tough in these economically challenging days).

    If YES, then;

    It all depends on WHO is asking the questions and WHO wants to hear WHAT. That takes someone who can get inside the brain of the (fill in the blank) pastor? liturgy committee? hiring committee? trustees? Find out what THEY want, then give it to them--spoon fed. Its never about YOU, its about THEM!

    They don't care as much about what you can do, as they care about you doing what they want! Everything else is icing on the cake... the hymns, the Bach, the chant, the choir, etc, etc, etc. They truly value if you come highly recommended. Your past experience will follow you. Can you get your previous employer to sing your praise? Thats worth gold!

    I had about 30 recs come in from everyone from the Cardinal to the prominent corporate president down to the neighborhood families who knew me for 20-30 years. They want someone they can TRUST, who is REPUTABLE and works well with ALL kinds of people.

    And if they are TRULY on the mark, they will want someone who is a solid Catholic, who understands and LIVES the faith and can communicate that through their musical leadership. No price can be put on that asset.