I can’t remember my first job interview – far too long ago! I’ve had a number since then … one particular one sticks in my mind.
I’d completed my year long course in publishing and was ready to embark on my new career with words. It was still at the time when employers listed vacancies in the newspaper rather than on websites, and recruitment agents were not always deemed necessary.
I saw an advertisement for a Publishing and Communications Specialist with one of our highly regarded government agencies so decided to put my hand up for it. I’d already put in a few applications with organizations in the arts sector but hadn’t been successful. I needed more experience, they said.
The application form was long and detailed. I had to print it off several times in order to submit it with no errors or crossings out. At that time, there was no online capacity for submitting forms, it was all by hand.
I knew the position would be hotly contested so was surprised when I received the call to go in for an interview the next day. The person (a real wally) who rang me said that she had been trying to contact me all week without success. I suspected otherwise. I think she was covering up for not even trying to contact me … I was not that hard to get in touch with.
The interview was scheduled for 4.00pm.
I’d woken that morning feeling absolutely ghastly – women reading this will appreciate how literally draining menstruation can be. I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day. I dressed in my best interview clothes – black, tidy, smart, professional – turned up ten minutes before the allocated time and waited, feeling below-par and apprehensive.
The interview room was awful. No windows, dark and pokey. There was a long table at which were seated three interviewers plus the woman who’d told me she had been unable to make contact. Two of them were fantastic, quickly confirming our mutual love of rugby, and made me feel very at ease during the hour-long session.
At the end of it we shook hands and I left thankful that I hadn’t had any embarrassing moments, but feeling I hadn’t made the grade.
At 8.30 that night I received a phone call offering me the job. I was totally gob-smacked … I hadn’t seen that one coming!
On my first day at work, my new manager called me in to her office. She was/is a really lovely person and had been on the panel. She told me that I wasn’t as qualified as some of the other applicants – but – my form had been filled in so neatly and precisely she knew I was right for the job. They had no trouble reading and understanding everything I had written. She said the care taken showed the pride I took in my work, that I was detail focused and methodical – just the sort of person they were looking for.
There’s a lesson in there …