Common Interview Questions
Why you should hire Jackson Lanier
You should hire Jackson if you are looking for a determined individual; one who approaches problems in a creative way; someone who is self disciplined and highly responsible; or, a candidate who is patient and approaches problems in a strategic manner.
Jackson is a fast learner who, given the opportunity, can quickly master new skills. He is highly adaptable and flexible to any situation. He can work in any environment and find ways to solve almost any problem.
About Jackson Lanier’s time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH):
Jackson’s time at UNC-CH was heavily impacted by COVID-19. Pre COVID-19, his time at UNC-CH was fairly enjoyable. He spent most of my time studying or working. Jackson had great relations with his professors and was actively involved on-campus. During COVID-19, he still maintained great relations with his professors, but became less involved as extracurriculars ground to a halt. Jackson experienced first hand the difficult shift and growing pains academia felt transitioning to online. It was a difficult time, but he still doesn’t regret attending UNC-CH. He enjoyed his time there despite the impact of COVID-19
About Jackson Lanier’s time at North Carolina Central University (NCCU):
Jackson’s first year at NCCU has been a different experience from his time at UNC-CH. The professors there have a different caliber of expectations for students. While this has been challenging to adjust to, Jackson believes that the professor’s higher expectations will be for his benefit.
Jackson Lanier described in three words:
How Jackson Lanier sees diversity:
Jackson does not see diversity in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, or ability; rather, he looks at the struggles people have overcome.
Over the summers of 2018 and 2019, Jackson was an intern at Victory Junction, a camp for children with special needs.It was here that Jackson saw what true diversity looked like. Each week, camp was a collection of campers, volunteers, and staff comprised of whites, minorities, and individuals of all sexual orientations, but that was not what made camp diverse. The true diversity of Victory Junction was the fact that staff, volunteers, and even the campers came from all walks of life; upper class, middle class, poverty, urban, rural, Southern, Northern, Midwest, LGBTQ+, young, old. Everyone at Victory Junction had a struggle that they overcame or were working to overcome. All of the staff and volunteers, with their varying backgrounds, were at camp to help the campers experience moments they otherwise could not.
There are certain moments from working at Victory Junction that Jackson will never forget; those moments include seeing a wheelchair bound camper ride a horse for the first time in his life; witnessing counselors help a little girl with no arms learn how to hold a brush and paint with her feet; or an older volunteer helping a quad amputee camper play in the pool for the first time.
To Jackson, that is what diversity looks like; people overcoming challenges and their varying life experiences is what true diversity looks like.
Jackson Lanier’s role model:
Jackson’s role model is Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Jackson considers himself to be a stoic, and, as such, he has read the works of Epictetus and Seneca, but has connected more with Marcus Aurelius’s writings. Marcus Aurelius is Jackson’s role model because in his book he outlines, what Jackson agrees, is the ideal way someone should live their life and how to interact with the world. The stoic teachings of Marcus Aurelius have helped Jackson navigate and endure some of the hardest periods of his life thus far and is why Jackson looks up to him.
Jackson Lanier’s greatest strength:
Jackson’s greatest strength would have to be his flexibility. COVID-19 taught him to be adaptive to the situation and be able to pivot on short notice. Whatever the situation, he can adapt to it and strive to overcome the challenge. Jackson strives to make it appear as though there was never a disruption.
Jackson Lanier’s greatest weakness:
Jackson’s greatest weakness would have to be his persistence. Jackson, by his very nature, is a determined and patient person. Whenever Jackson is given a task, he will move mountains or die trying to accomplish the job. He will also wait as long as it takes to get the job done; whether that is sitting outside a professor’s office for hours to attend office hours or spending months communicating with sources to try and secure a source.
Jackson Lanier’s greatest professional / academic achievement:
Jackson’s greatest professional / academic achievement was him graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill as a top student in his department. Jackson is a first generation college student. The fact that he is the first in his family to graduate from the flagship university of his home state was a proud achievement alone. However, the fact that he also graduated at the top of his department and was selected by the faculty to receive the School of Journalism and Media’s highest honor made the occasion a more significant achievement.
Jackson Lanier’s greatest non-professional / academic achievement:
Jackson’s greatest non-professional / academic achievement would have to be having one of his photos made into a mural at his local mall. In 2021, the Randolph Mall in Asheboro, NC, went through a rebranding and redecorating to update the mall’s image and appeal. The mall decided to have photos of local businesses and local history turned into murals on the walls.
A photo that Jackson had taken was selected for the mural the mall was installing that highlighted Victory Junction. The photo was a wide angle shot of the camp featuring all of the camp’s landmarks, campers, and activities in one photograph.
Jackson is extremely proud that his photo was selected for the mural because it was the first public display of his work and it is in a visible and well trafficked area. This display has given Jackson a lot of confidence in his photographic work and continues to fuel his photography hobby.
Where Jackson Lanier sees himself in 5, 10, 15, or 20 years:
Jackson sees himself wherever he is needed and belongs. Despite his desire to have a crystal ball and know the future, as COVID-19 has proven, the world and life can change rapidly; no one knows the future. Jackson only desires to be at a place and in a position where he can do the most good and where he is needed most.
What motivates Jackson Lanier:
What gets Jackson out of the bed everyday is the goal of doing good in the world; a broad and vague objective, but one that looks differently everyday. That objective one day could look like helping a customer solve a problem; assisting a colleague understand something they are confused about; or, helping a lost stranger find their way.
Jackson simply wants to be the good in the world. He wants to embody the virtues that he wishes were more visible in the world and perhaps inspire someone else to do the same.
A time Jackson Lanier encountered conflict and how he handled it:
Jackson considers himself to be a diplomatic person; he will work to find a middle ground whenever there are conflicting stances. However, during the first few weeks of his freshman year at UNC-CH, conflict was inevitable. Like most new college students, Jackson was randomly paired with a roommate for his dorm. The roommate and Jackson appeared to have different views regarding everything from when was an appropriate time to go to sleep, what cleanliness meant, what personal space meant, what privacy meant, and the list continued on. Throughout their period of living together, Jackson attempted to find compromises and agree upon boundaries only for the roommate to refuse negotiation or disregard any agreement reached.
With no end to the conflict of personalities, Jackson sought third party intervention through his residential advisor. After attempts to reach an agreement with the help of the residential advisor failed, Jackson acknowledged that compromise was impossible and requested that he be moved to another dorm. Jackson was able to change roommates. Despite the conflict with his former roommate, he and Jackson were able to get along with each other after the separation.
What Jackson learned from the situation was that if compromise cannot be reached independently, attempt to find a mediator; if the mediation fails, then it is time to separate and accept that compromise cannot be reached. If the other party will not concede an inch of their demands, neither should you.
A time Jackson Lanier encountered ambiguity and how he handled it:
During the 2018 college football season, Jackson was starting his first football season as a film manager with the UNC Football team. During the spring off-season, Jackson had proven himself to be a competent and skilled camera operator and was trusted with capturing footage for the coaches to review post practice and games. Before the UNC v. Syracuse game in Syracuse, NY, Jackson was asked to fill in for the full time staff member responsible for capturing footage on-field for marketing purposes. Jackson happily accepted the new and increased responsibilities, but was unprepared for ambiguity of the role. In fact, Jackson had never seen what the full time staff member he was filling in for does or know what kind of footage he was supposed to capture.
Jackson traveled with the team for his first time to the Syracuse game and was given vague and ambiguous instructions as to his role which were little more than “get video of the game.” Well, no kidding. The first quarter, Jackson struggled to figure out what he was supposed to do and where he was allowed to be on the field. It was stressful. Being on a college football field on game day is intimidating with the number of eyes watching you, the rules you have to obey, where you can be and when, and not to mention the threat of immediate ejection from the venue if you break a rule. After the first quarter, Jackson began to mimic the actions of the professional videographers on field. He figured that he might not know what to do, but those guys surely do. Sure enough, by half time he was getting into the rhythm of the role and gaining a better understanding of what he was supposed to do.
By the end of the game, Jackson had a thorough understanding of what was expected of him and how to achieve it. When he returned to Chapel Hill, the full time staff member he filled in for said that being his first time in the role, he did excellent and captured some amazing shots.
What Jackson learned from the experience was that when in an ambiguous situation or unsure of what to do, follow what those with more experience are doing and mimic them until you understand the situation and then carve your own path.
A time Jackson Lanier encountered an awkward situation and how he handled it:
In February of 2020, Jackson was the Audio/Visual Lead for an event called “Viet-Nite.” As Lead for the event, Jackson was responsible for the supervision of audio/visual staff, was the liaison between audio/visual staff and the event’s host, and responsible for the professional execution of all audio/visual needs for the event. Viet-Nite was a Vietnamese cultural show and it was the first time the event was held at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Before the event started, the event host informed Jackson that they would like to play the United States national anthem and then the Vietnamese national anthem before the event started. No specifics were given by the event host and Jackson did ask any further questions; to him, it was a simple and clear request. Jackson and his assistants were able to find both national anthems and add them to the event run-of-show.
As the event starts, Jackson is backstage acting as the stage director and informing his assistants what performance is up next and what songs, visuals, or lights they requested. The event’s master of ceremonies walks on stage and asks the audience to please rise for the national anthems of both the United States and Vietnam. All the audience members rise, place their hand over their hearts and listen to the U.S. national anthem. After the U.S. National finishes, the Vietnamese national anthem starts. However, after a few seconds of playing the Vietnamese national anthem, the master of ceremonies and the audience begin to laugh. It was at this time, the event host came running up to Jackson and excitedly yelling at him to turn off the music. Jackson relays the order to the tech booth for the music to stop and proceeds to ask the event host what was wrong. She replies “that is the communist anthem, we are South Vietnam.” Jackson later learned that Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte, NC, still recognize South Vietnam as a country and that there is a large concentration of people who fled South Vietnam before its takeover and now live in North Carolina. It was later learned that no one in the event services department was aware that Viet-Nite was a celebration of South Vietnamese culture; everyone assumed it was a celebration of present day Vietnam culture.
After the national anthem incident, the rest of the event ran perfectly. The awkward situation came after the event when Jackson approached the event host to apologize for the incident. This was an awkward situation because Jackson was afraid that he may have offended the event host or members of the audience. Initially, Jackson was hesitant to mention the incident and instead asked her to fill out a survey about her overall experience with Carolina Union. After a quick unrelated discussion, Jackson attempted to bring up the anthem mix up. After Jackson apologized to the event host, she laughed and told him not to worry about it. She said that in hindsight, it was not clear that they were South Vietnam and offered her own apologies for the confusion.
Later, Jackson and the audio/visual manager drafted new event protocols which required the audio/visual staff to run all audio and video through the event host before the start of show. As a result of the incident, Jackson is now more thorough in asking questions when there is or potentially is ambiguity.
A time Jackson Lanier has made a mistake and how he handled it:
Mistakes are great learning experiences. While Jackson tries very hard not to make them, he has come to recognize that sometimes you just make a bad call.
In the spring of 2019, Jackson took a history of air power class taught by an instructor named Joseph Caddell (Professor Caddell.) Professor Caddell quickly became one of Jackson’s favorite instructors due to his teaching style, approachable personality, and by the material he taught.
The class had only three grades for the entire semester: a 15 page dialectic essay, a midterm, and a final. The problem was that, at the time, Jackson did not know what a dialectic essay was. From Google searches, Jackson concluded that a dialectic essay was an argument that featured at least three different views on the subject. He did not understand that it actually meant three opposing views on the subject.
Unaware of his misconception, Jackson researched and wrote his essay on why the Messerschmidt 262 was the deadliest aircraft of World War Two and included the perspectives of Allied airmen, German Lufwaffe pilots, and concentration camp survivors who manufactured the plane. Jackson considered the essay to be one of, if not, his best academic essay. When grades were released for the essay, Jackson was horrified to see that his paper had received a 57/100. After waiting 24 hours before inquiring about his grade to collect himself, Jackson was able to meet with Professor Caddell to discuss why he received such a low grade. Professor Caddell informed him that his teaching assistant graded the paper and that he would need time to read it over and consider re-grading it. The following class, Jackson met with Professor Caddell after class to ask about his paper. Professor Caddell handed Jackson back his paper and informed him that the grade was correct given the rubric because the paper was not a true dialectic essay. However, Professor Caddell also told Jackson that he would drop the grade from his final grade calculations and give more weight to the midterm and final because his essay was one of the best he’s read on the topic and not reflective of the grade. Professor Caddell actually asked Jackson for another copy of the essay to keep in his personal collection.
What Jackson learned from this lesson was the importance in keeping calm in a situation and to not make assumptions based off of Google searches. The incident as a whole could have been avoided if Jackson had merely asked Professor Caddell what a dialectic essay was. Also, by keeping calm, Jackson most likely helped his situation be resolved in a beneficial way. If he had approached Professor Caddell in an aggressive or belligerent way regarding his grade, he may have been stuck with the disappointing mark.
What most people often criticize Jackson Lanier about:
People often tell Jackson that he is too hard on himself. He holds himself and his work to a very high standard and does everything in his power to reach it. Criticism arises because Jackson’s standards are usually well above expectations.
How Jackson Lanier handles criticism:
Jackson sees his work as a reflection of himself; he puts his blood, sweat, and tears into anything he works on. Though, when Jackson receives criticism, he uses it as a learning opportunity. He uses criticism to sharpen his skills and become better at his task. He values constructive criticism and knows that it will help him improve.
How Jackson Lanier handles praise:
Jackson considers himself to be a humble person. He does expect praise, but when he does receive it, it doesn’t let it get to him. He will take a pause to enjoy the moment, but he does not let it get to him or cause him to slack.
Is Jackson Lanier willing to fail:
That depends on the circumstance.
As a general rule, to quote Adam Savage, Jackson believes that “failure is always an option.” In Jackson’s mind, failure and defeat are two different ideas. Defeat means you give up and call whatever it is quits. Failure means that whatever you tried did not work, but is now a learning opportunity and provides a chance to try again. If you walk away from a failure and know why you failed, you now know one way it won’t work. To Jackson, life is trial and error; as long as you learn a lesson from your failure, it is ok to fail.
What Jackson Lanier expects from a supervisor:
Jackson thrives in situations where his supervisors take the time to provide him with constructive feedback about his performance. This allows him to know that he is on the right track. Jackson also appreciates it when they have an “open door” policy where their staff feel encouraged to approach them about issues.
Personality Test Results
16 Personalities Test
According to the 16 Personalities Test, I have an INTJ-A, or Architect, personality. This means I:
- Value rationality and effectiveness.
- Deeply scrutinize and handily organize a concept’s diverse parts, demonstrating a love of systems and a delight in using them to develop results-oriented approaches.
- Hold firmly to the reality that good results are the product of persistence and hard work.
DISC Type Test
According to my DISC type, I am a type C which means:
- I am accurate, precise, detail-oriented and conscientious
- I think very analytically and systematically, and make decisions carefully with plenty of research
- I tend to be good problem solvers and very creative
Enneagram Type Test
According to my Enneagram type, I am a type 8 which means:
- I enjoy taking on challenges
- I have enormous willpower and vitality
- I am a rugged individualist
Top 3 Movies
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
How can this movie not be anyone’s favorite? Beyond the comedy this movie provides, I love the way it mocks cliches of medieval stories. My favorite scene is John Cleese’s taunting Frenchman scene. However, my favorite line from the movie is when King Arthur is throwing the Holy Hand Grenade and goes 1…2…5. I have a poster of that moment hanging on my wall.
I love this movie because of the way it mocks the post-western style movies. At the very beginning of the movie, Deadpool tells the audience he has to one-up Logan for dying. The movie “Logan” was a modern-day post western movie. Deadpool 2 mocks “Logan” by following a similar plot and making fun of the post-western genre as a whole.
Dr. Strangelove is one of my favorites because of its absurdity. The movie jokes about the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction. It jokes about how easy MAD could be triggered and the entire world could be turned into a barren wasteland. The best scene in this movie is when Dr. Strangelove nonchalantly starts spitting out figures about how many men and women could be saved and suggesting that there would be a ration of ten to one females per male. He’s spitting out all of these facts while fighting not to perform the Nazi salute. Even though the world as we know it was ending, the President and Pentagon were already worried about a gap in mine shafts between the US and USSR to house the survivors.
Top 3 TV Shows
Gotham is one of my favorite TV show because I love the overall feel of the show; it feels like an 80’s crime show in today’s world. I am amazed at the detail the production team puts into every detail on set and in the story.
Favorite character: James Gordon
Every episode, Gordon is in conflict with himself. His fight between justice and the urge for revenge always makes me question which side of him will prevail that episode and what the consequences will be.
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is one of my favorite TV show because the plot and characters are amazing, but the sets for the scenes are not as spectacular for me as Gotham. Game of Thrones, ever since I started watching it the show has had me on the edge of my seat and questions who was going to die next.
Favorite Character: Tywin Lannister
Tywin Lannister is my favorite character in Game of Thrones because of the way Tywin leads. Tywin prefers to play the long game when trying to acquire power in Westeros. He also didn’t seek power exclusively for himself, rather for his son and daughter as well.
House of Cards
House of Cards is arguably the best original show Netflix has ever made. This show is one of my favorites because of the way you grow attached to the characters while at the same time despising everything about them. The show is also unique because the show highlights a lot of topics about our current political atmosphere. The show discusses the press’s role in politics, the influence of donors, and the influence of lobbyists. House of Cards also utilizes art and theater to enhance the story. The art in the show, especially, alludes to historical stories that resemble the plot. For example, one character is facing impeachment and during one scene where he discusses the possibility of impeachment, a portrait of President Nixon hung in the background.
Favorite Character: Francis (Frank) Underwood
Frank Underwood is an amazing character. He is a ruthless and hypocritical character, but no matter how evil he can be you still are drawn to him. I hope to one day visit Frank’s grave in Gaffney, SC, while wearing my t-shirt inspired by his campaign.
Favorite Historical Figures
Why I like Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar is one of my favorite historical figures because the man can be viewed two different ways. One way to view him is as the tyrant who overthrew the Roman Republic, a dictator who wanted absolute power, and an evil man who fell at the hands of justified assassin. I prefer to view Caesar, rather, as a man who sought to reform Rome and cut through a corrupt bureaucracy. When marching on Rome and his campaigns during the civil war, Caesar never harbored any ill will towards those who opposed him, even his best friend turned adversary, Pompey Magnus. After the civil war, Caesar did not issue proscriptions against the senators who were on Pompey’s side and Caesar even wept for the death Pompey. Caesar also used his dictatorial powers to implement the needed reforms championed by Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus decades earlier before they were killed by the Senate. I believe that Caesar did nothing wrong and that Brutus and the conspirators were wrong to assassinate Caesar. However, I enjoy debating the life and legacy of Julius Caesar and that is why he is one of my favorite historical figures. Regardless of which way he is viewed, Julius Caesar is a large reason why the modern western world is the way it is today.
Why I like Khosrow I
Khosrow I is one of my favorite historical figures, not because he did anything where we still feel his effects today, but rather because he is arguable the biggest historical troll. Khosrow I’s Sassanian Empire was on the eastern border of the Byzantine Empire. While Byzantine Emperor Justinian I’s army was largely held up in Italy attempting to reunite and recreate the Roman Empire, Khosrow I sensed an opportunity to get more money from the Byzantines. The Byzantines had previously paid the Sassanian annually to not engage in hostilities against them. After the Byzantines built a new fort along the Byzantine-Sassanian Border, Khosrow I used the fort’s construction as justification to demand more money from the Byzantines. When the Byzantines replied saying they did not have the funds, Khosrow I invaded modern day Syria and Jordan. Khosrow I told the Byzantines that the second he received his payment that he would end his campaign. While on campaign, Khosrow I offered every city he came upon the same options: give me money, or be destroyed. Almost every city Khosrow I’s army came across the city would pay Khosrow I and the Sassanians would actually reuse that money to buy supplies from that town. One town, though, refused to pay Khosrow I’s bribe. The city of Antioch was confident that it could withstand the Sassanian siege thanks to its towering walls and that supplies could be brought in via its secret passage. Antioch was wrong. Khosrow I knew about the secret passage. When the Sassanians breached the city’s walls, Khosrow I’s men captured everyone who escaped via the secret passage and took them as prisoners. Khosrow I tried to sell the captured citizens of Antioch back to the Byzantines, but the Byzantine Empire refused to pay. Angered by the Byzantines’ lack of attention to him and rumors of a plague sweeping the Byzantine Empire, Khosrow I ended his campaign and took the captured citizens of Antioch back with him. Though, he didn’t take them as slaves. Khosrow I’s architects built an exact copy of Antioch within the Sassanian empire. The prisoners were invited to live in the new city and held the same jobs and positions they did in their old city. The new city was named “Weh Antioch Khosrow,” which translates to “Khosrow’s Better Antioch.”
Why I like Benjamin Hornigold
Benjamin Hornigold is an interesting character in history. He’s one of my favorite historical figures because this man has a wild life story. Early in his piracy career, Hornigold and his crew were so drunk one evening while sailing off the coast of Honduras that (for whatever reason) they all threw their hats overboard. The next day, realizing that they had no protection from the sun, decided they needed new hats. Upon seeing a merchant ship, Hornigold’s crew raised their black flag and the merchant ship surrendered. Hornigold told the merchants that they had no interest in stealing their goods or gold and that all they wanted was their hats. The pirates took the merchants’ hats and sailed away leaving the merchants hatless, but alive. Near the end of Hornigold’s pirate career, he and other bands of pirates formed the Republic of Pirates in the Bahamas. It was a haven for all pirates and functioned as a true government with elected positions. A young pirate captain was starting gain notoriety named Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard, was the first Magistrate of the Republic of Pirates and enforced the pirates’ code of conduct. After 11 years of the Republic of Pirates, the new British governor for the Bahamas offered all pirates a pardon is they pledge to never again engage in piracy. Hornigold, knowing his sailing days were numbered, accepted the pardon and was offered to become a privateer and hunt down the remaining pirates. Hornigold accepted and spent his remaining days hunting the pirates he once worked with and dismantled his own Republic of Pirates.