Monday, 10 May 2010

The interviewer v The interviewee

On the other side of the table...

I am no stranger to interviews, infact I have had more than a few interviews in the last year or so that sadly haven't resulted in a new job. I can't say I'm a pro at them (clearly I'm not or lets face it.. I would have a new job by now) but I'd like to think that I have picked up some good techniques and know how to prepare for them. I find it pretty easy to tell when I've completely pulled the pin or interested the interviewers.

My job situation is strange, for two days I work as a Communications Officer and I have recently been employed by the same organisation to work another two day as a Development Volunteering Officer. Yes, you are probably bewildered... so am I really, but that's four days of paid work so I can't complain (too much).

My new role requires me to have a Clerical Assistant, "Great" I thought, that might make my task easier... until they asked me to be involved in the recruitment process. So now I have to be a Line Manager and be involved in the recruitment process, I must admit I pouted like a child at the news. I am a creature of habit and fear change as much as I fear being stuck in a lift with Piers Morgans, that's loads!!

I am used to being the interviewee, researching the company, practising my answers to common questions, reading over the job and person specification and ironing my suit (or not, my Mam does it). No way did I want to be on the other side of the table.... I would feel like a fraud, pretending I was important or in any way comfortable with asking questions.

Me highly strung?! Never... anyway, after going over the questions and marking systems, viewing the applicants and then setting the interview date and times I felt only slightly less pouty and ready for the task. I do realise that being able to say I have been a Line Manager and been involved in the interview process is a very good thing for my career, another sentence to add to the CV but if you refer to paragraph 3, you can see how stubborn and awkward I can be.

Interview day, the bell tolls at 10.15am ready for the first candidate and she doesn't show.... half past..... quarter to... she's a no show. 11am looms and we wait for the next candidate.... a leaf blows outside the glass panelled door - no sign of the boy... 11.15... nothing.... 11:20 he arrives late but nonetheless takes the computer test and enters the room.

I have assembled my score and question sheet and try to put on a 'I'm a professional' smile and appear relaxed, luckily I am joined by a board member and other member of staff so we take it in turns to ask questions and after careful consideration he is hired. The third candidate failed to show... the leaves kept on tumbling.

What advice can I give to an interviewee from this experience?

  1. Try not to be too nervous, chances are there is at least one person on the interview panel that has little or no experience in interviewing and feels nervous too

  2. Do be on time or if you know that you are going to be late phone ahead, it's not great to leave the organisation uninformed

  3. The questions are designed to find out more about you, your past experiences and how you match the role - don't forget to look at your CV, the job and person spec beforehand

  4. It's important try and keep eye contact with your interviewer, looking at your hands or at the floor is never good

  5. Being as honest as possible is important, if you have no direct job experience of a task or action asked then don't make something up completely false... try your best to relate it something you've done in your personal life.
Think I'll go back to being the interviewee now... phew...

Love, SGS xoxo

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