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bizgirl

international librarian of mystery

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

How about standards compliance?

My first job interview since being dooced from the Library had been going extremely well. Up to now.

"So, Natalie, you're confident with technology?"
"Yes."
"What are your core web skills, would you say?"

Deep breath, here goes...

"Well, um, probably designing user-friendly interfaces and HTML layouts. But I've also helped develop some web initiatives using active server pages and vbscript ... I wouldn't say I was a coding geek or anything, though, but I do pick up that sort of thing quite easily. I've got quite good database skills - we did quite a lot of database work at library school, actually. I've, um, helped develop sites built with various database back-ends, so I'm comfortable around things like mysql, access, sql server or oracle.
"Oracle?"
"Um, well, I imagine I would be. I can't say I've worked with an actual oracle database before, but I've always thought that with databases that as long as you're au fait with sql then you're probably half the way there."
"Is that right?"

Is it? I really had no idea. I was up for a 'Information Technology Officer' job at a medium-sized Government agency, and had walked in with a head brimming of IT jargon and lingo that noizyboy had been versing me in over drinks the night before. The job description included a decent-sized hunk of simple old-school library tasks, and I had sailed through that part of the interview with John, the effusive human resources manager. But now, with Bill, the non-nonsense IT manager who was grilling me at the moment on the technical side of things, I was deep into bluffing it territory.

"Well, that's what I've found, anyway."
"How about standards compliance? You're aware of the e-govt web guidelines?"
"Um, yes, actually. I've read through them..."

This is true. That very morning. Maybe 'skim-read' might have been putting it more accurately.

"... and I think it won't be too much of a hassle to work to them. It's quite sensible really, I think it does a lot to encourage good web design principles."

And it was at this point my attempts to talk up my meager supply of IT skills slipped.

"In fact, oddly enough, I recently made my blog xhtml 1.0 compliant."
"Oh, you have a blog?"

Why why why? I had the fleeting thought of giving them Short & Sweet's address, but couldn't remember the URL. (In retrospect, this was probably all for the better, as I'm a) not only not Asian, but b) also not pregnant.) After some vague attempts at talking around the subject, they eventually got the URL out of me.

Alice, the manager whose actual position in the organisation I hadn't quite gleaned in the introductions, and who would, I think, actually be my boss should I get the job, had said all of about ten words to me during the course of the interview. She spoke now, crisply and sharply.

"Well," she said, standing up, "thanks for coming in Natalie. We'll be making a decision by the end of the week, we don't like to keep people on tenterhooks for too long, so we'll let you know one way or another by then."

I was outta there. I didn't get the job. Or the next one I got to the interview stage with. Or, indeed, the next one.

Maybe I should just get pregnant, and go on the DPB.