Don't get me wrong - I fully understand the purpose of interviews. The company wants to find the right person for the job. I get that. But can't we all just be a little more friendly about it? I mean, do I have to prove that I am capable as well as funny, chatty and friendly?
It doesn't matter how much I prepare, I never get asked the darned competency-based questions that I was prepared for, and for the life of me I cannot think on the spot. Instead of pausing for a second to find the right answer, or stalling for time by saying "I'm sorry, could you clarify what you mean?" (at which point they say "Yes, Ms Rookie, are you thirsty and would you like some water?") I go completely blank and start talking at the same time. I open my mouth at the start of what I think might be a really good example, and then I keep talking until I make my point or can see the whites of their eyes. Whichever comes sooner.
Anyhow. A few months ago I was contacted - nay - Head Hunted - by a chapI had interviewed with six months before. "It's a much higher level role" he said, "I think it's far more suited to your skills - no technical requirements this time"
I felt excited. And very flattered. "We want to fill the role very quickly" he said, "Can you call me asap for a chat?" I rang. We chatted. It was all very relaxed.
"I haven't "managed" people before" I said, "but I've lead a team"
"Well, we all have to start somewhere" he replied. It all sounded rather promising. And the salary was to die for. I started to daydream about the flat I would rent and the clothes I would buy. And having a fully paid off credit card.
The interview was arranged for the following Monday. "Less of an interview, more of a chat, probably" was the promise "And you haven't met Mark either, and he might have a couple of questions"
I turned up at 5:30 after a full day at work, feeling very ropey. I'd been trying to shake off a rather nasty bug for a couple of weeks and had spent most of the day wanting to sleep under my desk. But that's okay, because this is going to be more of a chat. They've met me already, and I am being Head Hunted. I was relaxed.
Too relaxed, as it turned out. It was the most gruelling interview of my entire life. Mark didn't want to ask a couple of questions. Oh no. Mark wanted to put me through the wringer. After half an hour I wanted the ground to swallow me up as I clawed my way through each unprepared rambling answer. After an hour I wanted to stop the questions and say "You know what, guys, I think that you and I both know that I'm not who you are looking for".
Perhaps they were just giving me 'another chance' to demonstrate my skills. And instead I just dug myself deeper and deeper, finally nailing the lid on the coffin with the answer that I could be available within a week. Like, hello? Yes, they were looking for the role to be filled very soon, but were expecting people to provide at least one month's notice...
I consoled myself with the knowledge that there has to be a reason for this event in my life. Nothing happens without a reason.
The reason has just arrived.
A few weeks ago I was kind of Head Hunted for a role with a company I interviewed for last summer. This role is much more aligned to your skills, my former interviewer said, no technical stuff this time. If you're interested we'd love to see you again.
Yeah, yeah. Thought you would catch me all relaxed, did you?