It’s been a while since I’ve done a T-SQL Tuesday. This month, it’s hosted by Kendra Little (b|t). Her challenge for us to talk about Interviewing Patterns and Anti-Patterns. You can read the full details here.
To be honest, I’ve been involved in a lot more auditions than I have in job interviews. But job interviews and auditions aren’t that different. Interviews are just auditions for the job, right?
So what are you looking for from someone who is auditioning?
Can the person sing or act or dance? In other words, do they have the basic skills you are looking for? And more importantly, are they as good at those skills as they think they are? We’ve all run across people whose egos exceed their talent. (Let’s be honest, we’ve all fallen in that category at one time in our lives.) Obviously, you’ll want someone who’d naturally be great in the part first. The question for the director or conductor is if the person isn’t where we want them to be yet, can they get there given the opportunity and if so, are you as the director/conductor able to invest the time to help them up the curve?
The next thing is how will they fit into the ensemble? Part of my role for many auditions was to talk to the auditionee before they went in to make sure they knew what our expectations were and to find out more about us as a group, beyond what our repertoire was. I could tell a lot about a person and how they would work within the group.
If you’re auditioning someone for an ensemble and they constantly ask about solos, directing, conducting, choreographing or everything other than the basic part they are auditioning for, they may not happy if all they get to do is be in an ensemble. If someone forgot their audition form, they may have just left it at home by accident or didn’t realize there was one. But a quick conversation can say whether they’re constantly frazzled and unprepared or if it’s really just nerves or a bad day. If there is an open rehearsal where they can get a feel of what it’s like to be in the group, are they paying attention and keeping up with rehearsal or does it look like they’re disinterested and disengaged? If they look like they’re not interested and you’re on the fence about whether they could keep up, you may not accept them in the ensemble.
This is also when you can tell if the auditionee has done their homework. When they step up to do their rehearsed piece, are they fumbling to find their spot? Is the sheet music for the accompanist in order? Have they chosen something that’s appropriate? For example, you may not want to choose an operatic aria if you’re auditioning for the show Spring Awakening. Sure you may get a callback if you nail it but if the styles are that different, are you really showing the director why you’re appropriate for this particular show? Also, is the auditionee able to commit to your rehearsal and performance schedule? (I lost out on a part in high school because I would have had to miss one mandatory rehearsal.)
The final piece is do they have that “it” factor or stage presence which makes this someone you want to work with in any capacity? This is the hardest part, mostly because it’s highly subjective. (And this is where we would jump off to talk about biases, diversity, etc.) To me, this is taking the talent and what they would bring to the ensemble and piecing it together with all of the other intangibles. Whatever may be lacking in one area is made up by something in another. It’s that combination that makes someone a star, or at least someone you want to work with on their way to becoming one.
When I was trying to audition for community theater many years ago, I found this list of reasons why you didn’t get the part and I think it works for a lot of situations in life. Sometimes there’s no good reason you didn’t get the solo or cast in the show or, in our case, land that job. All you can do sometimes is make sure you put yourself together in the best light possible.
After many years, I still don’t get everything I audition for by a long shot. But I’m able to show that I’m getting better and can get there. I’ve learned where my strengths are and I keep working on improving as much as I can. I know I’m not going to be right for every role or every solo but I feel that I’m able to see ones that would be perfect for me and go after those. One day, Kate Monster from Avenue Q, one day….
I think anything about auditioning for a job would be lacking if I didn’t include this clip. The good news for data professionals this isn’t what we have to go through as we do our interviews. And I (mostly) apologize in advance for the earworm.
Break a leg! I hope you get it. I really hope you get it!