Well I wasn’t sick. Nor did I pour my confidently requested hot drink into my or anyone else’s lap. I didn’t giggle in an uncontrolled manner or hide behind the houseplant in reception. Nor was it necessary to drag me up the stairs wailing at the top of my voice (an early memory of a trip to the White Tower at the Tower of London). In short I survived the interview.
It’s been such a long time since I was interviewed for any role outside my organisation it was difficult to know what to expect. But people remain people and the questions I’d thought about came up. As of course did some that I hadn’t. Just like life in general really.
A strange thought had run through my mind this morning when I was preening myself – believe me it takes a lot of preening these days – ahead of launching myself on an unsuspecting world. It suddenly occurred to me that the last time I had been this careful in presenting myself was when I was in pursuit of Mrs RPS. And before I could help myself a scene from one of my favourite movies popped into my head – Sleepless in Seattle.
A widower called Sam (played by Tom Hanks) is talking with a work colleague about entering the dating game again. ‘What’s it like out there?’ he asks, ‘I’ve been away so long.’ Well, I can see his point.
The point I am somewhat shambolically trying to make is that often what we fear most turns out to be far less scary in reality than it is in anticipation. So it was with my interview. I know from contacts that many organisations are running mock interview processes to give people the chance to practice and some of this is being done on a self-help basis. If you get a chance I’d thoroughly recommend it. The more you practice anything the better you are likely to get at it.
It doesn’t matter how experienced a recruiter you are yourself either. I’ve done a lot over the years but I still fret over being on the other side of the table. I worry a lot about falling into default mode: carrying on the behaviours and attributes that I picked up in my current role. To do so in to an interview for a different organisation may not be that helpful. It’s a subject that came up in a chat with an old friend who called to see how things had gone.
In their last and unsuccessful interview they had deployed their – much prized – steely analytical skills to diagnose all the things that needed to be put right in the area they would be responsible for. It was only part way into the interview they realised a key bod on the interview panel was the person who had set up the service being critiqued.
Ooops. ‘You’re not hired.’
I’ve a few days to wait before hearing if I go through to the next phase. Whatever happens I’ll obviously ask for feedback. And I’ll fill you in when I know more.
My cheerful mood was lessened by the evening news about the job cuts at Manchester City Council. My thoughts now are with all those people and their families affected. Clearly there are more terrible times ahead as public bodies set their budgets in line with CSR2010.
It will not only be up T’North where it’s grim this year.