Will Work For Money!


And breathe…I’ve just got back form an interview at the Assembly. I hate interviews so much, no matter how many I go to the same level of nervousness lingers. My nerves only increased when I got to the Assembly and had to go through an airport style metal detector. There is something about having the contents of my handbag scanned that makes me feel guilty. Overall though, it wasn’t the worst interview I’ve ever been to.

My first interview wasn’t really an interview at all, I did an apprenticeship with the council and I just turned up for a chat and as long as I come across too wierd then I could start a.s.a.p.

My second interview was a lot scarier, it was at the council in a different department. I had a friend in that department so I emailed her asking for any insider info. She never got back to me which I thought was odd, until I turned up on the day and saw that she was the only other candidate.

My third interview went a little better, I don’t remember a lot of it. I do remember being asked where I wanted to be in 5 years time. I was about 19 and didn’t have the foggiest so avoided the question, only to be asked it again. I can’t remember what I said but it can’t have been too bad because I got the job.

My fourth interview was at a sports college, I didn’t check how to get there beforehand and got badly lost. I called them for directions and got there just in time. That interview wasn’t great, the two questions I remember were:

1. What do you think of our website? That was tricky because I didn’t know if the person who designed it was actually right in front of me or if they also agreed it was a pile of rubbish and wanted to see how honest I was.

2. How do you feel about people swearing in front of / at you? Another awkward question I wasn’t expecting.

I didn’t get the job.

I didn’t get the job at my fifth interview either. That was at a housing association and the only question I can remember from that is ‘if we were to ask your best friend to describe you in five words, what would they say?’ I was literally lost for words, I couldn’t think of a single sensible thing to say for what felt like an eternity. I did eventually answer the question but I could tell during that interview that I wasn’t the right person.

My sixth interview went much better, it was for the job I do now. All the questions were relevant and in line with what I had prepared to say. When I got out I called Jon and told him I had a really good feeling. I was gutted when they told me I didn’t get the job. For the first time I was brave enough to ask for feedback, I also added some cheese into my email by telling then that I thought the interview process was very good. I got a call a day or two later to say I did have the job afterall. Turns out the first choice had really bad references.

Earlier this year I started looking for another job, my seventh interview was at a council for a trainee auditor position. My heart sank when I saw it was a two-stage interview. It sank a little more when I found out 26 people had been shortlisted altogether. The first stage was a test, which I think I did pretty well in. Then we all sat around a table and spoke about ourselves in turn…cue bright red face and panic. The last part was asking the interviewers questions. I thought I held my own but I was pretty convinced they were looking for a graduate as there was only one other person who didn’t already have a degree. I got a call shortly after to say I had been chosen to go through to the next stage.

My eighth interview as probably the most scared I had ever been, I thought that I would be OK as I knew where I was going and who would be interviewing me. When I got there I was terrified. I was literally shaking and when I began to speak everything came out in a jumble. I asked them if I could start again which they allowed and I somehow made it through. I talked and talked for about an hour, maybe more I just couldn’t shut up. When I got out I didn’t know what they must have thought about me. I didn’t feel too optimistic but then I got a call asking me to come in to interview again, it was too close to call between the top three.

By the time I got to my ninth interview, third for the same job I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t prepare too much as it was just an ‘informal chat’. I came to the conclusion that I should just try and be myself. That didn’t exactly work out because I didn’t get the job. But they did say they were hoping to recruit again for another position in the next six months and that they would chose between myself and the other unlucky candidate.

Keen to carry on the search I had a tenth interview, this was at Cardiff University. I prepared well and researched the role. I did by my standards a great interview, but I mucked up on the test. I misinterpreted the task and therefore came to the wrong conclusion. I didn’t beat myself up about it because no matter what I would have misunderstood that test, I still think it was misleading. Also, when I got to the interview I found out it was only covering a secondment too so I wasn’t too gutted about that one. The only awkward question they asked was ‘what kind of line manager did I prefer?’ Aware I was being interviewed by the line manager I awkwardly tried to cover all bases.

My eleventh interview was for another grant scheme, that was my best interview to date. I was still nervous but in a nearly healthy way. There was a panel of three people which I’ve decided is my tipping point in terms of intimidation. I made it through all the questions and the constant sub-question to every question ‘if you did it again, how would you improve’. That was a bit annoying as when I think of my examples I always try to think of the best one where in my mind I have done everything really well. I didn’t get that job, but when the guy called for the second time I plucked up the courage to ask for feedback. It was the best thing I ever did, because he knew the job I was currently doing he gave me loads of tips and places where I could have expanded. He said if I saw a job come up again with them to definitely apply, if I followed the instructions he gave me then I should sail through.

I’m now just back from my 12th interview. The morning didn’t start too well, my dog ate my glasses last night. I did go to the wrong reception and I did forget to take the forms they had asked me to fill in. But against the odds I did do a good interview, I picked one example for each question and went into as much detail as I could. When they asked did I have any other questions I thought of two relevant questions. I even for the first time managed to shake their hands. I usually avoid this at all costs because I think it’s wierd.

Please, please, please put me out of my misery and give me a job!! I don’t have much annual leave left…


7 thoughts on “Will Work For Money!

  1. Interviews are INSANE. Some of the questions are just so ludicrous. Once I had a working interview at a veterinary clinic. I had no idea how long I was supposed to be there, and knew next to nothing about the job, so I was about as useful as a lead parachute. A badly dehydrated cat came in and the vet looked at me and snapped “Get me an EVAL!” I blankly looked at her. “An EVAL?” “GO GET AN EVAL! An EVAL!” she said with a note of hysteria in her voice. I didn’t stay.

  2. I was once asked why I thought it was appropriate to wear hot pants to an interview, and was made to walk a “catwalk” for the interviewer. I managed to talk my way out of it, and got the job.

    Of note: they were dress shorts. And it was really hot!

    • My tip would be to look up the star technique and prepare star examples for the interview. Might not work in every industry but it always helps to have something prepared. It is nerve wracking but just try and take a deep breathe and smile 🙂

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