I’ve probably interviewed near on 100 people for various roles throughout my career, whereas up until a few months ago I’d never had a formal interview for anything!
I’d been extremely lucky to get my first job following a college placement and every position held since then, I got on recommendation, through internal promotion and through the merging of Group companies. The closest I’d come to a formal interview was when I put myself forward to captain a hockey team.
After thirty years as a paid employee, I set up my own business. There lots of questions I had to ask myself before embarking on this adventure, but I knew if anyone was up for the challenge, it was me.
I gave myself the JOB!
After four years of being my own boss, finding out what I was really good at, what I should be doing, the time came where I needed a regular income. It wasn’t just the income I needed, I wanted to be rewarded for my skill and experience and after working largely by myself for so long, I was desperate to share thoughts, ideas and concerns.
So earlier this year I set about looking for the PERFECT POSITION!
It wasn’t long before one presented itself. I quickly applied “Here I AM, I’m just the person you are looking for!” I got no reply.
“How odd” I thought.
Then another role came up, this one was even better than the previous role. This time, I got an immediate response and an interview was quickly arranged.
I knew that preparing for an interview was important and to me that meant researching the company and carefully reading the role requirements, matching my skills to what was required.
However, my thoroughness in doing this meant that the interview started in abject silence… I had few questions to ask at the interview and many answers to possible questions from the interviewer were already highlighted in my covering letter or CV.
After a little awkwardness, sat smiling at each other, the ice was broken when the interviewer suddenly asked “Which three words would your friends use to describe you?“
I think my face gave the game away before I had chance to speak. The words ‘Sociable, Ditzy and Hilarious’ popped immediately to mind and I’ve a feeling my thoughts were audible. Obviously, it’s NOT how I would describe myself at work and to be honest I’m the first person my friends come to when they want something organising!
The moment had gone, attempting to explain anything just looked like I was trying to dig myself out of a large hole. I didn’t get the job.
This got me thinking. The job advert wasn’t for a FRIEND, so why was I so desperate to make my interviewer LIKE me? Obviously, it’s important to get on with the people you work with, but the applicant profile didn’t include; Someone entertaining, someone who will make us laugh, someone who’s shoulder we can cry on, someone who will make us look good.
Worse than that.. Why was I being so self-deprecating?
Surely this was blowing all my chances of getting my ideal job, one I know I could do easily and really well. I have reflected on this several times and have come to the conclusion that I know what I can do and because I have written it down on my CV, DOESN’T mean the other person knows. Yes, I know it’s written there in front of them and they could ask me to expand (although to be honest, it’s written in so much detail that there is little else to add), but I think we all know, you can’t believe everything that’s written in black & white and to be honest reading someone else’s CV can be quite laborious.
Maybe, just maybe the employer wants to know how my skills and experience will benefit them. Maybe, they want ME to convince them, that I’m the right person for the job.
The problem here is I’m BRITISH. I’ve been brought up to say sorry for breathing the same air as someone else. In my family, appearing confident has always been confused with being ‘Big-headed’ and no one likes a BIG HEAD!
Currently I’m sat here on tenter hooks, waiting to hear whether or not I got MY PERFECT JOB (perfect for me, at this time in my life) I went for an interview last week and this one really is the perfect job for me right now.
REMEMBER: There’s not just one perfect job. It depends where you are in life, what is perfect for you depends not only on right now, but will relate to your past and your future. In my last interview I was thrown slightly by being asked “Where do you see yourself in 5yrs?” My head was very much in the present and all the preparation I had done for the interview was about my past. I hadn’t even thought about my future, however I can see how important this is from an employers perspective. Employing someone is an investment, not only in time, but in cost, so surely you will want an idea of how that investment will turn out.
I have learned many things just by writing this blog post but if there’s one thing I will take to my next interview (if I’m not successful) and that’s to ask more questions about who or what they are looking for.
It’s the way conversations should work.
My next blog will be “Waiting it out” that time between interview and hearing whether you got the job or not. It’s like my life is in limbo at the moment and I’ve got at least two more weeks to wait!
Wish me luck!!!!