Job interviews….! Ay ay ay!!!
I don’t mind them really… I don’t really feel nerves, but afterwards I do sometimes cringe at the awkwardness. It’s a bit like going for a blind date. You don’t really know what the other person is looking for or comparing you to. You sit there in the judgement seat while the other person seems to be analysing every word and gesture you make.
I have been for a few interviews recently which were 95% OK, however when I think back analytically, I realize I may have blundered by choosing the wrong words at the wrong time.
One interview I went to, I thought went well, except for the point I made of saying I had to be available every Friday to help my landlady. The job is for two days a week on Tuesday and Thursday, however they want someone who is available to cover holiday time, and the most popular day for holidays is Friday. When I first moved met my landlady, she wanted me to be available every Friday and Saturday, but she was flexible and thus all year I have helped her on Wednesdays and Fridays. So I expect she will be flexible if I change my job so long as I am available for at least one day mid-week and so long as I am able to accomplish all the tasks she needs help with. So, there was no reason for me to make a fuss about Fridays. But I said something else which was worse. After the interview, the manager took me down to reception and we chatted a bit more. She mentioned her back pain. I asked her briefly whether she had had an injury and when she mentioned being in bed and reaching for something on the bed side table and feeling her back strain… I then alluded of the accumulative damage from lots of small incidents. I came out with the phrase “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”. As soon as I walked out of there I suddenly thought, did she think I was calling her a camel?
Another interview I attended, I know now that my period of notice to my current employers was too long for him to wait. But I also remember at the interview asking him if he receives a lot of complaints. When he asked what prompted my question I came out with an explanation in which I clearly insinuated that people who are wealthy from the south of England are more likely to complain about silly things. That may not have gone down well either.
One interview I attended made me feel super uncomfortable. The interviewer asked me what I would prefer to drink… wait for this… red or white? His first question to me was, “are you married?” As the interview continued I realised all of his questions had been personal, none of them were about the role he was hiring for, or my work experience. I tried to steer the conversation around to the job itself, but he was not interested. I asked him about uniform. He said he likes women in skirts and dresses. Which would not be a problem in itself, but I did not like that he cast his eyes up and down my legs. I had to travel to attend the interview of which he was aware. He offered to put me up that night if I was tired, so I could travel back the next day. I thanked him and made it clear that would not be necessary. As I left, trying to repress my desire to run like the wind, he gave me a peck on the cheek and assured me he would be in touch soon. Scaaaaaarey! I blocked his e-mail address as soon as I was home.
Then I went for an interview when because of the relevant experience I had they asked me if I would be interested in the role of supervisor over a team of around fifteen to twenty. To which I asked, “is the supervisor allowed to actually do any work?” I then explained how much I love practical work, and I have been on construction projects were supervisors were discouraged from getting involved with practical work but were told it was there responsibility that every member of their team was trained, safe, with the right PPE and equipment, had to liaise with purchasing about needed resources and the site manager and other departments about all sorts of matters. I said I love the kind of work I am applying for a role for, but the thought of having to motivate a team of tired, unenthusiastic youngsters who are addicted to looking at their phones repels me. Then my interviewers spelt out the wages that supervisors receive compare to team members. I replied that if they can’t find anyone else suitable I would consider the supervisor’s role. Ha! I am sure that impressed them – NOT!
I arrived at another interview and within a couple of minutes I realized that rather than the part-time role at a site twenty minutes walk away from my current abode, the manager was considering me for a full-time post almost an hour away via public transport. I can’t even remember what his first question was, but I remember with shame my reply. I told him that I have to think about myself and my own personal circumstances. I said I want to simplify my life, not complicate it. I told him that I had applied for the part-time role close to where I live because I want to squeeze more time out of life and get our and enjoy living rather than feeling trapped in an existence which is monotonous and unfulfilling. Some how…he seemed to respect my honesty and by the end of the interview I thought I had almost charmed him into giving me the part-time role. Apparently not! I never heard back from him!
Then there was last Wednesday’s interview. He interviewed me for over an hour and it seemed he was quite keen on me as a candidate. There would be a lot to learn, but I mentioned how much studying I have done within my current role and that I have a much keener interest in construction trades over medical matters. He seemed very positive. But then right at the end…he said to me that he thinks I am very suitable for the role and he thinks I am looking for a career and he can offer me that chance. Immediately I contradicted him! I said I am not looking for a career. I told him working for money is just a means to an end. The end is a purposeful enjoyable life. I said I enjoy work and give my best, but I am looking for a role that allows me to enjoy more of life, and that a key part of my life is unpaid voluntary work.
I seem to be calm and composed in interviews but also capable of throwing in something controversial or hard for my interviewers to swallow! What is all that about?
I don’t really mind…if I am not what they are looking for, it is fine. Just as going on a blind date, you can realize whether there is any potential or if it is more likely that there would be friction and frustration. Sometimes when I hear I have not been successful after an interview, I almost feel relieved as if I have escaped a miserable existence.