Interviews can be nerve-wrecking, but only if you really, really want to get that job. I highly recommend going for few interviews for jobs you definitely don’t want to get. Sit down, relax, and talk about yourself. I used to be quite anxious, but it was when I was still trying to be “normal”. Now I look at them as a great opportunity to let my big-headed version of me loose. I usually try to keep her in check, say things like “it was a team effort”, or “thank you for helping me”. Just like you can confess your sins to a priest, or your little obsessions to a psychologist, HR people have to listen to all your glorious deeds. It’s the only safe place, where you can drop the pretence of humility and let your pride shine just like intended by nature. You no longer have to pretend that you’re just like every other person, you are the best and you know it.
Now my interviewers have to endure my bad sense of humour. I look at it as two way street, if they are not able to handle 30-40 minutes of me talking, then it’s for the best if they don’t hire me. Once you realise they don’t have a real power over you, you can then be also the one, who is judging the other side of the table. Ask yourself: ‘do I want to work with this people?’ or if it’s a big organisation, think if you want to become like them. Are they sad or stressed, bureaucratic and dry, or relaxed and friendly?
I don’t have to work in horrible places
My worst interview was with a wholesale company and now I think I should have run before it even started. I was waiting in a room where few, very stressed people were answering calls, above their heads hung a big photo of the business owner’s half-smiling face. The interviewer led me to another room also with the same portrait of the boss and I wondered if there are wholes at eyes so he can observe everybody in secret from behind the wall. The woman asked me all the questions that are illegal to ask as they may cause discrimination: where I’m from, do I have husband, children, my age, etc. The description of duties was unbelievably long, but I was doing my best to convince the woman I am perfect for this job. The ad said office admin but it involved being also a PA to the ever present CEO, taking minutes at board meetings, briefing and coordinating the team of sales reps, preparing catalogues, organising PR and attending trade conferences, and also by-the-way being one person HR department for a company employing 60 people. No wonder that the women didn’t know how do the interview properly. For some reason I was desperate enough, so I was giving examples of how I was able to perform required duties in my previous roles, I even felt we got a bit of a personal connection when I confessed my undying love to Excel. Then I was told that the job was paid slightly above the minimum wage with unpaid overtime. At home I emailed them the link to the Equality Authority rules and asked not to be taken into consideration for the post.
I don’t have to work with people who don’t like me
Nobody wants to work with horrible people, luckily the definition of horrible is highly subjective, otherwise I would never get any job. Some for example did not like my accent which is from further East than Dublin. If anyone question my English, I explained that I worked in a call centre serving UK and was able to understand Pakistani trying to speak with a Scottish accent. It was a relief not to get a job offer at this occasion.
I can work with people I like
The nicest interview I had, took place over a coffee in a restaurant, and straight away it felt not like the first conversation, but as if we knew each other and worked together before. My future boss told me everything about other candidates, giving me the perfect opportunity to show perfect examples of how much better I was. It was lovely to work with this guy to the point that my first husband was making jealousy scenes every so often.
I can talk about myself well
Maybe it comes with age and experiences on the way, but now I am way more relaxed and more comfortable with who and how I am. The side effect of it, may include stupid answers. When asked how do I deal with repetitive tasks, I admitted I have an overactive imagination. When a man in a suit asked: ‘How do you recognise high quality?’, I flickered my hair and said ‘I look in a mirror.’