Posts Tagged ‘job hunting’

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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I met a goal!

I met a goal!

That may not seem like much to you, but for the first time in my life, I’m in a position where I’ve actively researched, targeted and used my networks to gain a job. Previously I’d always fallen into a position with relatively little knowledge of what was involved, motivated mainly by a need for money and a desire to have a job, any job. More recently this has been “any job that isn’t shitkicker for Toenail Branch at the Dept of Silly Walks”, which led me to the interesting but not too successful stint described in recent posts.

I’d become quite depressed in the previous role – partly because I wasn’t doing very well at it, but also because I couldn’t see any way to a better position. What further education should I do? Is there anything that even interests me? I had a mini- meltdown at my desk, and was rescued by exec assistants bearing tea and biscuits (I love youse guys). They suggested urban planning, which does interest me, but triggers my commitment-phobia – I really, really like keeping things open-ended. Not that that’s why I have a liberal arts degree – that’s just another example of falling into a situation without any planning.

But I’m currently employed in our Not Stepping On The Cracks In Case The Bears Get You branch. I’ve been grilling people from Bears branch for months now, asking them about their day job, how they got here, what the branch does and so on. The position became available because the person in it got promoted, and when I came down for the handover I realised I’d already met him at a function for our clients, which I’d attended to learn more about our crack-avoiding activities. So it was quite exciting to see how all my loose ends were tying together.

Even better, I got the position because I literally wandered around my office saying “you want policy officer? I got briefs and corro and MS Project.” One of our exec assistants (a different one to my knights with tea and biscuits) heard of this at the same time that Andy got kicked upstairs, and left me a post it note with his phone number on my monitor. The rest is yahda yahda yahda. Yes, I have given her a box of Godiva. Be nice to your secretaries! They know where the bodies are buried, and whether they hide pirate treasure.

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