Example Assignment

Josie’s answers to common interview questions

“Tell me a little about yourself.”
I was born and raised in Southern California. My parents are both hard-working university professors and I have two younger brothers, both in college right now. Even when I was really young, I was always really interested in computer programming, math, and databases. I have this natural instinct to look for improvements to existing solutions, or to making something work more efficiently. For example, back in junior high school I put together a little database that organized the refreshment schedule for my volunteer service organization. You could make adjustments really easily and print out an updated schedule whenever you needed it. I think I apply the same drive to the professional challenges I have now, only the challenges are more complex than a refreshment schedule! All of my educational interests and independent training have gone into getting the knowledge and background I need in order to solve more and more complicated data-centered situations. My fluency with Cold Fusion, SQL, and even Access helps me think of fast solutions and workarounds to data problems and I’m sort of obsessed about learning more and keeping my skills up to date. During my senior year, I completed three extra certifications for C++ just because I felt like I had some weak spots in my knowledge base. I’m also really invested in maintaining good data protocols and I love working with huge amounts of data and complicated databases. Last summer I interned at Apex Systems and helped them whip their inventory database into shape. I restructured and customized the system they were using, imported the data from the old structure, did a quality check, and then wrote some custom interfaces so that their inventory clerks wouldn’t have to deal with a lot of technicalities. It was a huge improvement and I loved it. That’s why I think I’d be such a good match here at Getty—it’s the kind of data environment that I thrive in.

“What is your biggest strength?”
My biggest strength is the passion and commitment I bring to the job. I love database management and asset management and I’m invested in performing at a high standard in this kind of work. I understand the consequences of mistakes in large database management and I think that gives me a good perspective and intensity in what I do. Passion is also my main motivator. I’m passionate about constantly improving the work that I do, and helping others improve the work they’re doing.

“Tell me two of your weaknesses and how you compensate for them.”
I can have a tendency to get a little almost over-focused when I’m working on a problem. I think that this tendency can work to my advantage because it means I can really tackle difficult problems and I don’t stop until I’ve arrived at a solution, but I recognize that in some cases it would be better to back off and take a wider view. I’m really working on taking an assessment in each work situation so that I can apply my tenacity and direction appropriately and effectively.

I love solving problems with computers so my tendency is to always approach a challenge by applying a computer-based solution. Sometimes, though, a faster or more elegant solution is available in the “analogâ€? world. I recently realized that I had complicated my mom’s life by setting her up with a digital calendar. It’s so much easier for her to just write something on a paper calendar, and for her it’s clearly a more reliable way to keep track of her life.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
In five years I hope that I will be a Digital Asset Manager at Getty. I really admire this company and I can tell by the biographies you have on your site that you have a committed and talented workforce. I want to work for a company like yours and to make a long term commitment. I think that I will learn very quickly and show myself to be a good leader and great worker.

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?”
I would love to be Director of Digital Asset Management—or at least the heir-apparent to the position. I love this kind of work and I want to apply my skills to areas of broader and deeper influence.

“What prior experience do you have that would relate to this position?”
All of my experience and education relates to this position. I’ve been a tech/math/computer nerd my whole life. It’s just who I am. I’ve interned every summer at various local businesses helping them with computer issues, from setting up networks to overhauling inventory databases. I recently helped the library at my school troubleshoot a database problem they were having. You’ll see on my resume that I have a lot of certifications—all of that was purely self motivated. I didn’t do it for school, I did it because I wanted to learn and then apply that learning to solutions.â€?

“What would you do if a big project was coming due the next day and it is not finished?”
If the situation were in my or my team’s control, I would keep working until it’s finished. That’s actually my natural tendency anyway. I don’t like leaving things unfinished and I hate missing deadlines. If the situation involved other constituencies I’d work with them to come up with a plan and I would provide whatever work or service was needed to help finish the project. I’m very much a roll-up-my-sleeves sort of person—I’ll Xerox, staple, make deliveries, whatever it takes—I don’t mind going outside of my job description if it’s going to help the team or company.

“How do you handle deadlines and meeting them? Give me an example.”
As far as I’m concerned, deadlines are as much a part of a project’s requirements as something like the data structure is. I take deadlines very seriously and while I know that every now and again something can come up that’s beyond everyone’s control, for the most part I feel that with proper planning and commitment, deadlines should be keepable. The most recent deadline example I can give you is that I had to turn in a final database design for my SQL programming certification and my little brother dropped his coke on my laptop and killed it. It was 9 at night with the project due the next day. I drove over to my friend Kate’s house, who was the only other person I know who has SQL and she let me work in the living room until I was done. I had to start the project from about mid-way but I managed to complete it by 2 am. It was a good database design, too!

“Can you give me an example of what you did when you had to deal with an extremely angry customer on the phone?â€?
I haven’t had to deal with angry customers but I have had to deal with upset clients. Not upset with me, but just upset and frustrated by the fact that their computer situation isn’t working. I’ve found the best way to handle it is to be a very proactive and calm problem solver, to get them confident that I’ll fix it, and to get them out of the frustrating situation as soon as possible.

“What would you say is your biggest accomplishment and why?”
My biggest accomplishment is probably the database overhaul I did for Apex. It’s not the most complicated database I’ve worked on, but there were a lot of different people I had to talk to, a lot of different priorities to organize and address, and a lot of negotiation. I was really proud of the end product because I think it really helped them and made their work easier.

“If you found out another employee was stealing or lying about their hours, what would you do?”
I would talk to my supervisor about it. I don’t want to work in an environment where that’s going on. It’s just not my style.

“If a customer mistakenly gave you a $20 bill instead of a single, how would you handle this matter?”
I would tell them they gave me a $20.

“If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?”
I think I’d be an oak tree. To me, oak trees have a kind of quiet confidence. They’re not showy, but they are impressive. Plus, they grow old well and have long lives!

“If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?”
Well I’ve always been a bit jealous of cats because they seem to not mind being lazy, but I think that’s just not in my constitution. I think I’d be a sea tortoise. Again, the quiet confidence and they are very wise-seeming creatures. They’re the kind of animal that makes everything around them get a little quieter and calmer, not because of slowness, but because of intelligent poise. They know what they need to attend to, and that’s what they pay attention to. They don’t get caught up in “drama” and I really like that.

“What is a hobby or leisure activity that you participate in?”
I like kayaking. It’s really fun to be out on the water.

“Do you participate in any charities or volunteer work? If so, what?”
I volunteer at a food pantry and I am a relief caller for a peer-to-peer helpline.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

  • Can you tell me more about the structure of the DAM division? Has the current structure been in place long?
  • What are the company’s priorities when it comes to digital asset management?
  • Would you describe the DAM division as working well right now?
  • What does the future look like for Getty and the stock imagery industry as a whole?
  • I’m just curious about how you would describe the difference between Getty and Corbis.

Next: Learning Check  Previous: Assignment: Self-Description

Job Seeker’s Toolkit, Copyright © American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved.