I re-read ‘We look forward to seeing you and just ask for me at the reception desk’ over and over again. Is this email for me? Has someone infiltrated my email account? No of course not, I finally tell that little voice in the back of my head.
My night time mantra is ‘We look forward to seeing you and just ask for me at the reception desk’ right up until I finally fall asleep.
I arrive in the vicinity of the interview 35 minutes early and find a coffee shop to try and relax in, and think over questions they might ask me. An interview is a lot like a first date; will she like me, will I say something ludicrous, will we be happy together? Hmmmm should I not have said this or that on my profile? Should I even have signed up to that site in the first place? The stories that unravel in my mine would have made Terry Pratchett millions.
I take a deep breath. Looking towards to the train station, fear erupts within my gut. It’s my inner critic pulling the strings, telling me to go home: You will fall on your arse.
“NO!” I shout, which gets a few looks, just like when Harry met Sally.
I fight the fear, and in go my headphones for the walk over there. All of sudden, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ explodes through iPod shuffle just as I enter the glass doors to Reception.
Rising up, back on the street.
Did my time, took my chances.
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet.
Just a man and his will to survive.
Damn! There are no steps to run up, just a Reception. I’m now pumped. I announce my name as if I’m Yul Brynner accepting an Oscar.
I’m told to wait, they’ll be down shortly to see me. I start to sweat as nerves begin to kick in.
“Hello Mark.” A left hand extends to shake mine. I’m back in reality. This is getting real.
In we go. I smile like a Cheshire styled cat. The bloke (interviewer) asks me how my journey was – all the normal pleasantries – and I want to say, ‘let’s just get it done, just tell me I have the job.’
The interview starts off well. They get my name right! I’m so pleased, as it means they didn’t make a mistake and invite the wrong person to interview. Hello paranoia!
Here we go, the first question:
“So Mark, can you tell us your work history?”
I smash it. I say what I think they want to hear and round off with telling them how I evolved into who I am today.
They don’t look up. They’re too busy writing. Maybe they’re writing a short story about interviewing people.
“Thanks”, they reply with a smile.
Next question: “How would you deal with [x work situation] and have you been involved in [y type of work issue]?”
My response is honest and truthful. I’m telling them my life story. My soul is out there for them to see… This is tough.
As the interview goes on, I answer as best I can. But then I get this one:
“So, what would your friends say about you in three words?”
First of all, what a stupid and irritating question. I’ve been in here nearly an hour, I am talked out, I am done, my soul is draining and my mouth is dry. I have drunk all the water they’ve given me. My bladder is screaming.
“Jekyll and Hyde.”
Oh God. Jekyll and Hyde? That doesn’t go down too well. And the interview has now ended, that being the last question. We shake hands, I thank them for the opportunity and leave. My shirt is drenched and my tie seems to have blocked blood circulation to my head.
As I leave the building I throw my tie in my rucksack and replay the interview in my head. Walking along the road, I don’t say ‘Jekyll and Hyde’; I say ‘patient and courteous’, I say ‘mindful and helpful’, I say ‘tea-maker from heaven’ (does that still count as three words?) I say anything that isn’t foolish.
As I said at the beginning, interviews are a lot like dating. This date was bad. This date was terrible. They told me they’d call.
Better start obsessing over my email account again…
Will Mark get his dream job? Find out what happens next on www.thecalmzone.net (search ‘Great British Job Hunt’).
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