In which I take comfort in small things …

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.

About redundantpublicservant

A redundant UK public servant looking for work, sharing his experiences and providing a space for others to do the same.
This entry was posted in 2011, bad news, CSR2010, interviews, job hunting, Public sector, recruitment consultancies, Redundancy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to In which I take comfort in small things …

  1. Glad to hear it went without any major hiccoughs. I guess one of the things that preys on my mind is whether you and I have been lucky in knowing some time ago that we were being made redundant. As the job losses get clarified in the next few weeks, there may be many who had thought they were safe (hell, we certainly did until November) that are landed with the bad news of impending redundancy. The competition for jobs – especially as there will be less public sector and voluntary jobs to go around – will get more intense. This highlights for me the lack of foresight from our political masters of the impact of doing everything at the same time.

    Maybe the private sector can pick up the slack – but will they want to employ people who have worked in the public sector for many years?

    I second your thoughts about those in Manchester, and hope that the government Ministers show sensitivity when they discuss the job cuts in the media – it’s not good enough to blast a salvo at Chief Exec salaries (as inflated as they may be) when we all know that halving such pay would make a miniscule dent in the overall budget for a local authority. I understand where such cheap political shots come from, but we really should expect better of our politicians.

    Anyway, fingers crossed for you to get through to the next stage. If only they knew you were the famous RPS, maybe they’d feel a small sense of pride that they are the lucky employer who could get your talents!

  2. HR Gal says:

    Well done, you are right – practice breeds confidence, and it’s weird being on the other side of the table being interviewed. A whole different ball game really.

    Being yourself is so important too – I always think if I pretend to be someone I’m not and get hired, nobody will be happy – I can’t carry on a front, and they won’t get the person they thought I was. Cultural fit can be more important than precise specification fit.

    Hope you hear back soon and get good feedback, whatever the next steps are.

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention In which I take comfort in small things … | A redundant public servant's blog --

  4. bookworm221 says:

    Good luck RPS. It is very true that the anticipation is often worse than the reality.

  5. You’ll love the Tiramisu….

    • Dear Jonathan,

      Great to see that another bloke knows that Sleepless is not a chicks’ film. Of course An Affair to Remember is another matter entirely as is The Dirty Dozen. I know I cried at the end of that …

      Best wishes


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