December 6, 2007

Impressions of a GPA

Posted in Careers, On the Job tagged , , at 5:06 pm by Katelyn

In an effort to “shake things up” in the somewhat mundane routine of my current job, I applied for a new job and had a phone screening today. At the allotted time, I trekked through the snow to my car, drove to an adjacent parking lot -where there was less of a chance of seeing a colleague- and sat shivering, waiting for the phone to ring. (All of this because my desk does not have enough privacy to conduct a phone interview for another job while at my current job). Surprisingly, I had butterflies in my stomach and found myself trying to calm my voice and consciously lower it at least an octave below its current “little-girl-nervous” voice. It was silly, really, because my next rent payment did not depend on whether or not I got an interview beyond this one – I have a job, and a well-paying one at that. But it did matter. It mattered for my sanity, for my creativity, and for my motivation to move on to bigger and better things.

Back to the phone screening. The entire thing was relatively painless. Of course, there were a few comments I wish I could rephrase, but nothing that would send up a red flag to any future employer. And he didn’t once ask me about my motive for leaving my current job after only 6 months. That was the question I was most worried about (that and why in the world I would want to move back to the Midwest).

The one question he did ask that I was not expecting was in regard to my grade point average in college. It was kind of ironic actually, because I had just yesterday sent a blog posting to my sister (still in college) from Penelope Trunk’s blog about how achieving straight A’s in college is not that important and that no one ever asks about your GPA on a job interview. And now, here I was confessing my GPA (which is actually quite good – 3.9). Then I started to wonder if having such a high GPA could negatively affect their impression of me. I hate to write this next thought but it supports my thinking: when I was in college, the business majors (which would be the type of people I was interviewing with) were not always the most studious. Again these are generalizations, but the business majors liked to enjoy the college experience that took place outside of the classrooms and libraries.

So does a high GPA have a negative connotation, or does it depend on your audience? Does it portray the person as a book-worm who would be no fun in the office, or worse yet, have limited people skills? I know, of course, that I can put those fears to rest in my interviews by being very easy to talk to and articulate, but the initial question threw me for a loop and I’m curious as to what your thoughts are.



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