A Tale of Two Interviews
Interviews… the dreaded thing that comes before getting a job (or not 🙁 ).
Personally, even the mere thought of an interview fills me with fear, or at least it used to. But one thing’s for sure – a face to face interview is a far better way to strut your stuff (figuratively speaking of course… try not to go mincing your way into an interview room) than long impersonal assessment forms and even your perfectly preened CV.
I’ve had a few of them myself…from awkward joint Skype interviews to a mock telesales phone interview, but there’s not too much to say about those. So how about a tale of two interviews, one good, one bad…
Firstly, to provide a little context, my career plan post uni all revolved around finally making my move to London, to join all my pals and live the city dream. I was living at home in Bath at the time so not ideal for having interviews in London, but needs must! Marketing was my career of choice on my endless search for jobs – though this choice soon expanded to include Media, PR and all sorts really. Apply to everything and anything – that was my motto!
Numero Uno: The Bad
So, interview story number one…
It was a hot summers day in London, the perfect day to wear uncomfortable interview clothes and tackle the tube… err…maybe not! Anyway, dressed in my ‘I’m smart but also creative’ marketing interview outfit. I arrived overheated, excessively early and nervous as hell, for an interview at a company I didn’t really want to work for #feelingpositive. But, after a quick trip to a Wagamama’s bathroom in an attempt to recover the presentable look that I had achieved that morning, replacing the severely dishevelled version that had sadly appeared post tube journey… off I went to wait in the office reception.
I sat there desperately trying to rid myself of the nervous shakes and avoid the dreaded ‘clammy clasp’ handshake (see The Guardians ‘handy’ article on ‘5 Handshakes to Avoid’ for more info). Sad to say, I believe I failed in the second mission, but the first was quickly ‘shaken off’ when the person interviewing me turned out to be a lovely lady who put me at ease right away. Something I’ve learnt from most interviews – that (at least in my experience) evil interviewers resembling the Demon Headmaster don’t actually seem to exist. Most people just want to put you at ease so they can see who you really are!
Now for the interview itself – it almost seemed more like a friendly chat and turns out it’s actually quite easy to talk about things on your CV, since, well… it’s all about you! All was going swimmingly until it came to the part where my interviewer (lovely friendly lady) told me about the two different roles they had available. I listened intently for what I hoped would be the job description of my dreams… it didn’t come. Then she asked ‘Do either of those roles sound of interest to you?’. The clincher, the moment I should’ve grinned with enthusiasm and said absolutely YES, and reeled off my key reasons why.
Well… that wasn’t exactly what I did. Instead, my face resembled a rabbit caught in the headlights and for a brief, but key, moment my ability to speak scarpered. I followed this with a severely unconvincing effort to save my blunder, with a half-hearted ‘yes definitely’ and the interview was soon after finished.
Needless to say… I didn’t get a call back!
In hindsight, my pre-interview research could have been greatly improved, as could my poker face! Oh well, you live and learn!
Numero Dos: The Good
It was time for my interview for the marketing job of my dreams (well, close enough). It fortunately also happened to be at a company where I had previously done a week’s work experience and they just so happened to have a job opening!
After sorting the date for my interview, I was feeling pumped, ready for anything they could throw at me…or so I thought. Next thing I know, I got an email saying that they would like me to prepare a presentation for the interview (nooo!). ‘The presentation’ – the interview’s evil partner in crime and interviewers most powerful tool, perfect at filling you with even more nerves and pre-interview stress!
Somehow, the thought of also presenting to people I’d met before seemed far worse than to complete strangers – the risk of my face turning beetroot in colour was tripled. Nevertheless, I cared about this job, I really wanted it, so I recruited the brains of all my family to help tackle the presentation and finally got a finished product that I was happy with!
I turned up to the office (in the same ‘I’m smart but also creative’ outfit), game face on and off I went to face my 3 interviewers (eek). Despite the table being awkwardly long and thin, making it difficult to know who to look at, it all went surprisingly well. It turns out – when you’ve put your all into preparing a presentation because you care, you end up knowing the content inside out, without even realising. And with that out the way – in flew the standard interview questions, where I smiled and chatted away in my usual manner – again surprised at how answering questions about my own CV didn’t seem too hard! And that was it, interview finished and I was left once again to wait in hope of success.
This time the call actually came and I got the job! Yippee! 😀
So, what did all this teach me?
- Be yourself!
- Be confident in your ability to talk about your own achievements and your CV.
- Try not to let your nerves get the better of you – it’s never as bad as you think.
- Even if the job you’re going for isn’t your dream, or if you get a rejection – you can’t beat interview experience… practice definitely makes you closer to perfect!
- If ever asked something similar to ‘Do either of those roles sound of interest to you?’ say YES … Do. Not. Hesitate. (oops!)
Works at a Marketing Agency in London | @geveritt24
Studied Geography at Manchester Uni
Figuring out life at 25 and having a ball