Well, today was officially my day off, but as is my habit of late, I spent it at interview. Having been unable to locate my interview suit I have been switching between my pinstripe trousers and my beautiful red jacket for interviews at more traditional companies and my navy knitted dress, navy tights, navy shoes and the same beloved red jacket for more creative roles. Today’s interview was for a role with a combination of print and web publishing, so I figured creativity would be expected.
The interview did not go well. This is very rare for me, as interviewing is one of my few talents. It’s pretty much the only situation I don’t feel embarrassed about bigging myself up in, and I’m usually fairly good at anticipating what it is that people are really asking behind their questions. Plus, it’s the one area of my life in which I have complete confidence – I know that I am good at what I do. I ask for feedback from failed interviews, and have never yet been told that my interview technique is anything but excellent.
Today’s interview started out the usual way. I arrived 10 minutes early, and sat in reception with a glass of water until the pre-interview test was ready. I followed the girl through to a side-room where I read the test through, panicked, then calmed down, reread it and completed it without a problem. I went through to be interviewed, shook everyone’s hand, made myself comfortable, fielded the first few questions without problem… then one member of the panel handed me over to answer questions from another. And his first question threw me.
I couldn’t make what he was saying make sense to me. I didn’t know what he wanted from a literal answer, let alone what he was getting at in the subtext. I could see he was completely unimpressed, and though I got straight back on track and answered the rest of the interview questions without problem, he looked bored throughout. Like I knew I’d failed and he knew I’d failed, and he wasn’t sure there was any point continuing with the farce. It didn’t help.
This is the third company I’ve interviewed with so far since R-day, and will probably be the first I don’t get a callback from. I have second interviews next Wednesday and Thursday, both in Oxford, both for jobs which would look decent on my CV… And I have a couple of further opportunities to chase up. The most important thing for me to do right now is ensure that I don’t let today’s bad experience knock me. As I said, I know I’m good at what I do – I just need to cling to that and say that today’s? Was not meant to be!