The other day I had a job interview. Being called to interview is a biggie these days. HR people just don’t waste their time anymore unless they really feel you might be serious about the job, suitable and well qualified and willing to work 60 hours a week at €2 per hour. Despite qualifying for all of the above, it is still a rare occurrence that I do actually get called for interview but what happened was this, the company interviewing had won a government tender to deliver training, and they now need trainers. When they tendered last April they were told that they’d know by the end of the month. Of course, here we are in mid July and they got a call last week to say they’ve won the tender and to get started by next week. So I got a call to come to interview the next day, and I’m guessing it was all done at such short notice that the good people who all have proper jobs and are busy were not able to down tools and come along, so people like me got asked.
Given that part of this job involves teaching people how to write CV’s and prepare for interviews, the interviewers were obviously expecting me to be the business, and I was, but not in the way that might get me the job.
You see, two months ago I went for interview with an important pharmaceutical company. It was similar to last weeks interview, they call it competency based which means they ask you things like what you did well and what you fucked up on in the past, how you deal with this that and the other, and your job is to give examples. When they ask for the bad stuff you give a mildly bad example and follow it up with ‘and what I learned from that situation was blah de blah de blah.’ Well the interview with the uppity ladies from the pharma company didn’t go great. I had everything off pat and as I answered the questions I could hear my voice echo inside my own head and because it was rehearsed I couldn’t help but speak in a very monotonous tone.
The women who interviewed me had also learned off how to conduct interviews and they spoke in that false interested voice that you use when you talk to kids. Well no need to say, two days later I got a ‘please fuck off letter’ and that was that.
So the other day I decided just to go in and chat to them. Turned out the interviewers were English. They asked the usual questions, but actually in a normal voice and explained the job without sounding like the judges from the X Factor. As they spoke, I began to get excited about the job. They weren’t from FAS or any other jobs for the boys’ organisation where the owner of the business knows Paddy Joe’s sister who runs the tenders. They were actually interested in training methods and results and they seemed to know what they were doing.
I left on a high, wondering when I’d get the call to say I’m hired. After all, I love training. I’ve volunteered as a trainer for two years with clients similar to the ones they’ll be teaching, I have a track record in working with metrics, in a team, managing and being managed, inspiring people and confidence building. On top of that I have great contacts in the community to help people get jobs and I have connections with the local newspapers so that I could write great press releases and market the programme well.
It’s just a pity that I didn’t mention any of that in the interview. I’m guessing they mightn’t have found the few jokes I cracked all that funny. They noted that I’d lived in Germany for a long time and instead of taking the opportunity to say something like ‘yes, which proves that I work well in a multi cultural environment’ I said, ‘yeah, my kids are half German half Irish, they’ll want to start a war but want to go for a pint first.’ At least I didn’t say anything about
’s performance in the world cup but reflecting on that afterwards I’m not sure if it will really net me the job. I’m also not sure if my answer to ‘how do you feel about being managed, having worked for yourself?’ I replied ‘ha ha, sure wouldn’t I love to be managed!’ They were taking notes as I spoke, and how I’d love to see those notes. England
Apparently they’ll be deciding early next week, so I have a few days to dream about the great courses I could teach, how I’d strategically plan my lessons, how I’d manage student retention, and until the ‘please fuck off phone call’, I will dream of inspiring and up skilling the unemployed.
I do know what happened though. I actually wanted that job so much that nerves got the better of me and I became giddy and stupid. So for the next few days I’ll put a lesson plan together in my head on how to deal with nerves when at interview. Then when I get rejected I can learn from my top tips just what people do when nervous and kick myself for not having learnt all this in advance.