Saturday, August 27, 2011

Interviews and Invitations

I've been struggling to get a job recently, and have been facing the stark realization that no money usually means no progress.  Making money usually means getting a job, and getting a job means going through interviews which I now hate hate hate.  When going for an interview, you have to be aware that you're not only providing a first impression, you're actually providing a precedent of yourself for your prospective employer or organisation that you're attempting to join.  We actually received interview training at Secondary School, so as far as the interview goes, I usually know what I'm doing.  However life experience has taught me that you need to consider above and beyond the interview.

For instance, if you're going for a job, you need to ask yourself the question, Can I actually do this job?  There's no point being arrogant, or hoping that you'll somehow learn the techniques during your probation period.  There are plenty of people who are also interviewing for the same position that can do the job, and probably do it better.  Also, if you mislead an employer, successfully acquire the job, and six months later aren't as competent as you would have had them believe at your interview, their opinion of you will change and this can affect your standing in the company, as well as references this employer will later pass on for you.

Research the job, the role, the company/ organisation, everything.  There is nothing more embarrassing than sitting in an interview and not knowing anything about the job, because essentially, that means you don't know why you're there, other than the fact that you want a wage.

Preparing answers to the worst interview questions will definitely prepare you for the crunch questions that can lead to you getting the position.  The worst questions usually involve you as the subject.  Why do you want to work for us?  Why our company?  What can you do for us?  What will you add to our company?  Why should we hire you?  Describe yourself in 3 words.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  10 years?  Will it be working for us?  If you were offered another job with a better salary, would you leave this position and take the better offer?

Dress smartly, even if it's for a casual job.  However don't wear a full suit for slightly less formal jobs, but a nice shirt/blouse and smart trousers usually works. 

Prepare yourself for the worst case scenarios, such as arriving late to an interview.  Call ahead and inform them.  Apologise when you arrive, and have faith in yourself that you were invited for a reason.  You have every right to be there, and they need to hear what you have to say. 

Be yourself, try to relax.  Maintain eye contact with the interviewer (or worse interviewers- once I had an interview with a panel of 3 people, and it was like they were using me as a shuttlecock bouncing back and forth.  Fun times), and don't rock about or fidget; some interviewers will take that as a sign of discomfort, or that you're floundering for answers.  Acknowledge each of the interviewers, as well as members of staff with the same amount of politeness and respect.  Everyone in a company is important, and staff talk amongst themselves; a receptionist could equally hold as much sway over you getting a job as a manager.  

Answer the questions as honestly as possible.  If you
don't have a lot of work experience, draw on life experiences such as
helping friends with projects and working to deadlines, taking part in
car boot sales, anything.  Don't be bashful; if you did a task that
exceeded a previous employer's expectations, tell your prospective

I have written this post in celebration of the fact that I now have a job, and have also been offered a place on a Creative Writing course, after completion of several interviews and meetings.  I don't yet know if I'm going to accept the place on the course as this year is beginning to seem very stressful already.  However these two developments are huge signs of progress, as well as turning my life around.  Hopefully some of my ranting can now be abated with these new changes!


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