Towards the end of last year I got a weird phone call: a colleague wanted to put me forward for a job outside of our company. I was flattered, then I read the job spec and I was terrified, then I felt a bit panicky as I thought I should apply so I didn’t look ungrateful. I never thought it would go anywhere. It was a BIG job (and by that I mean it had an important sounding ‘Head of’ sort of title. And it was head of BIG things). And I am not a BIG job sort of person.
To my amazement, I was offered an interview.
As a result of some training I did ages ago, I get regular emails on how to succeed at interviews. It offers tips that, if you didn’t already know, you probably haven’t left school yet. Things like ‘shake hands firmly, but not too firmly’, ‘maintain eye contact but remember not to stare’. Of course, the end of the email always offers more detailed tips if you just buy the blokes book / pay for more training. I considered it for about 3 seconds, but decided to do it my way. My way turned out to be a little chaotic.
The interview was after work in another part of London. I was organised and printed out detailed directions from the closest tube station. Unfortunately there was an event in my office at the end of the day and I was so nervous by then that I decided to calm myself with a glass or two of prosecco. I wasn’t drunk; just a little less concerned about the impending interview. Which caused another slight problem when, a short while later I managed the tube trip, located my map and walked. And walked and…well, eventually, I realised that my map would have taken me to the offices I needed. Just not from the tube station I’d got off at. I’d printed almost entirely useless directions.
I did find the office though. I was even early enough to stop for a quick drink and look over my CV again. Not early enough for a coffee though, so I tried a ginger shot from Prêt. It was tiny, but at least I wouldn’t need to go to the toilet part way though. I drank it down in one and discovered that much ginger not only burns your throat – it strips all the skin from it and makes you do gaspy breaths which worry the other customers.
So after two proseccos, one cross country (London) walk and one throat stripping later, the only thing I could think of was some dating advice someone gave me a while back: ‘Be yourself. Just not too much yourself’.
I nearly fell over sideways when I got a mail a few days later to say I was through to the final round of interviews – I was in the final two!
This time, we had a team lunch. This time I had a glass of wine. This time I found my way there without a map. This time I had a ginger shot, but anticipated loosing the use of my throat for a while, and found it strangely enjoyable.
This time I was probably a bit too much myself, because I didn’t get the job (in retrospect, showing more interest in the interviewers cats than the job probably didn’t help. She bought them up though…). But I’m ok with that. I got to the final two, God dammit! But I do feel like there was something in my preparation for the first interview that worked. If only I could isolate it, I could set up my own interview training. Or maybe not :o)