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Archive for September, 2010

An employer is me!

An employer is me!

I had my first job interview the other day – on the other side of the desk, I mean. It was an invaluable experience… one I wish I’d had 20 years ago. It was both comforting and horrifying – comforting because I realised the crap-shoot element of the interview: you could be the nicest person in the world (all the people we interviewed were lovely), and answer the questions really well, and still not get it because it’s a numbers game and the person who did get it had just a bee’s dick more insight than you. (Of course, this is also horrifying – I don’t like gambling at the best of times, and especially not with my income.)

The horrifying element was just how much we as interviewers didn’t really have our shit together. We interviewed five people and our learning curve took place over the three hours that we did the interviews. In the public service everything is supposed to be standardised to make it fair for applicants – a principle I wholeheartedly support, speaking as a mildly autistic weirdo. But the resemblance between the first and the last interview was pretty remote ¬†as we realised that the questions we’d chosen from public service boilerplate would be easier for candidates if we rephrased it a bit.

The other thing was that we chose our second candidate as soon as we interviewed her. As soon as she walked out the door my boss and I looked at each other and went “Her”. So all the other people were interviewed under the shadow of Super Girl – I like to believe I was interviewing with an open mind, but it was really “I’m in love, and now you have to prove you’re better than Super Girl”.

I wonder if there’s any lesson to be had here about interview times? If your recruitment agent or prospective boss offers you a swathe of interview times on the same day, should you take the very first one, in the hope of making an impression that will overshadow all who follow? Or should you take the last one of the day, hoping that the interviewers will have worked out how to get the most useful information out of their victims?

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