Overcoming The Interviews From Hell

By Mary Saunders

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After years in full time education I felt as though I was ready to throw myself into the real world head first.

Naively imagining it may be like a scenario from The Apprentice, I had taken time to make my CV shine and my interview technique speak volumes.

But despite the internships and job experience’s I had managed to gain throughout my course nothing had prepared me for the adventures and mishaps that would happen on my path to gaining that dream job.

The Retail Experience

Needing something to just get me by while I organised my life, I thought it would be a clever thing to apply for a retail job.

I got the interview at a prestigious women’s fashion outlet, and went along for what I thought would be a nice sit down with the general manager and a few questions here and there about the brand.

Little had I been prepared for the group interview that took place.

Where upon my arrival, I was shoved into the middle of a room and told to pitch a new invention to the current team and other candidates staring straight back at me.

As my fist interview straight out of Uni, my mind went blank.

And instead of being the super savvy sales girl I knew I could be, I was outshone by someone with enough confidence to fill the room and then some.

Who’s going to hire someone who doesn’t believe in themselves or their ideas?

Taking stock from the loss of my voice, I read up on a few confidence tips including this article, and gave myself a telling off.

A Brighton Nightmare

Scanning Gum Tree for positions I stumbled across an advert for a Marketing Assistant based on Oxford Street London.

Immediately I had visions of how my glamorous career would start and where I would take my lunch break in the big city.

I applied and got the interview. So pulling together the last pounds of my student loan I booked a ticket to London.

On entering the office for my interview I was straight away overwhelmed at the amount of candidates who were all lined up in a conveyer belt method ready for interviewing.

The nerves set in, and amidst the sheer panic of sitting next to my competition I was soon escorted into a big office with another handful of candidates.

After a round of quick fire questioning we were escorted down to the tube station to hop onto a train to Brighton. Baffled by this ‘test’ we were being put through it became quite clear that what I had actually applied for was not going to be the position I would be getting.

Frustrated and a little angry that I had wasted my money, I realised that it wasn’t actually their fault.

Yes, they had mis-advertised the position completely, but I hadn’t taken the initiative to call and enquire further about it.

I hadn’t asked any questions about the job role or done my research about the company.

So with a lighter bank account but a heavier heart I went home.

Computer Says No

The traditional CV is always my favoured approach to applying for a job.

It’s clear, concise and does it exactly what it says on the tin.

But then there’s application forms.

And when you’re on the hunt for a job, you’ll fill out more of these Spanish inquisitions than you’ll have hot dinners.

So after a day of drilling through them just wanting to get it over with, I was delighted when I had a response for an interview.

Feeling rather pleased with myself, I dressed to impress and went along the very next day.

It went perfectly, and the smiles I had won was enough for me to know I had probably bagged the job. But then there came a trick question.

“We’re sorry to have to ask this, but what’s your disability?”

Completely stumped, I explained that I didn’t have a disability and was in fact completely able and active.

Their faces dropped as they explained to me that on my application form I had in fact selected the disabled box, and so had gained the interview purely for non-discrimination purpose.

Annoyed with myself and with my computer. I realised I shouldn’t have rushed the application.

So taking advice from some online forums including this one, I learnt that being careful and reading things properly will never cost me a job again.

Ethics over Ego

Bagging an interview with an exciting Marketing company I felt pretty pleased with myself.

This time I had the confidence that this could be it.

I’d done my research, loved the look of the place and sent across my CV without having to fill in any confusing application forms.

Once again the interview went well. So well, we got onto talking salaries before I had even finished.

But then I stopped it there.

Not only had my interviewer been sat back like he was at bar for the entire interview, he’d also had a bit of an attitude when I asked questions regarding the company.

Feeling unimpressed my future employer I politely declined the position.

You see, it’s my choice where I work and if I’m not comfortable with the way that it’s run or by the people that run it, maybe it’s not the right choice.

As mentioned in this article, there’s never the perfect time to find a new job, but just learning from each experience gained me knowledge to take onto the next one.

Put yourself out there and learn from the experience.

 

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