I recently got offered a new job, much to my delight. And now all of that has been sorted , I feel I can do the blog post that I wanted to do ages ago.
Looking for work in this day and age isn’t easy. There are so many people out of work that it really isn’t fair, because believe it or not, some of these people want to work. Somebody I have known since I was a baby, who has worked from the age she left school at 14, has found herself with no work at the age of 45. And nobody will give her a go at anything because she has done the same thing for all her life. It’s hard out there.
Anyway, this blog post is a look back on two recent interviews I have had. Both a group interview and a single interview. Anyone looking for work will have had some experience of how these things go…. and they are so uncomfortable!
First up – Nightmare on Group Interview Street.
I can’t tell you how much I dread group interviews. I dread single ones enough, but group interviews are the worst things ever. First, I get pushed into a room to wait for everyone to arrive. I am the standard sort of ‘arrive ten minutes early for anything important’ person. Already, there were three guys waiting, all teenagers, and one very smart guy probably around my age, dressed in a suit and quite frankly, looked way too smart for this particular job. So that is four guys and me, nobody talking.
“How long have you guys been here then?” I say, trying to break the ice. I have done this before and I know that pretty soon, we will all be forced to talk to each other because in somehow, in someway, this determines if we are good enough for the job…… ?!??
I get grunts back from two of them. They clearly weren’t in the mood for talking. Soon , we are joined by a 17 year old girl who belonged in Little Mix, a very bubbly South African woman, a shy blonde girl who was my age, an older retired age gentleman in an official sort of uniform, and an older lady who also looked near to or was retirement age.
That made up our group. I try to talk to the others that had joined us, and the only one who spoke was the South African.
After ten minutes of everyone staring at each other, we get ushered into a huge room with a huge table. I walked in first because nobody followed the interview person when she said to follow her… so I ended up on the table first. I kept thinking to myself…. please be sat next to the only kind one in the room, the South African (I have no clue what her name was now, ooops….) but it wasn’t to be.
I got stuck next to smart dude and one of the young teenage dudes. A dude sandwich.
Two other interviewers came in. I guess they need a few of them for a bunch of people. We all sat and listened as the man interviewer went bright red and told us about himself. He was making awful jokes like “See, if I can talk in front of you scary lot then you can all talk together soon.
The two woman interviewers followed the lead of the man and pretty soon, we all knew useless facts about these people.
They asked us to pair up. I had the young teenage dude and not the smart one because the teenage dude was right at the end and had nobody else on the other side. Booo. Don’t get me wrong, teenage dude turned out to be a lovely fella, but smart guy was … well, in a suit. And my age range.
We were told to talk with our new buddies for a few minutes , before telling everyone else what we had learned about them. It was an activity to see how much we would take in and how friendly we were to each other. Our presentation to the others had to include “Why they wanted to work for the firm, how old they were , and an interesting fact about them…..”
I turned to face him, I’m just going to name him ‘B’ . He was sweet and I would be mortified if he ever stumbled across this and thought I was throwing him under the bus, I’m not… I am just merely pointing out how awful these interviews are.
“Well, this is all going to be jolly good fun.”
B “Did you just say jolly?”
“Yes. I like the word jolly. It’s jolly.”
B: “Right….. I’m B. I’m eighteen and I am looking for a career change.”
“Wow, I feel old. I’m Laura, I’m 27 … and I just really need a job to be fair.”
“You are 27? No way. You look younger than me.”
“That’s probably because I act younger than you.”
“I wouldn’t know about that.”
“So…. B , Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.”
Meanwhile, all three employers are just staring at us two in particular. Why? What did I do to deserve this?!
“OK , Well currently I work at Mcdonalds….”
I then talked a load of waffle about how he is ace because Mcdonalds is fucking hard work. And I am not kidding. When I was younger, I had a best friend and a boyfriend who worked there, and they worked their absolute backsides off.
“So… I want to leave Mcdonalds because this job is less hours and I want to pursue a political career.”
“Ah wow , that is pretty cool. Good luck with that. You must be smart then.”
“Uh… anyway, my interesting fact…. Well, I have two beautiful children, but so do a lot of people so…. Oh… I have an umbrella in my heart.”
I use this line in any interview where we have to do interesting facts. It’s my go to line. And it’s true.
“You have a what?”
“An umbrella in my heart.”
He looks completely baffled.
“Oh OK . Well also…. That interviewer there …. (He points to the young woman interviewer) , I once got into an arm wrestle with her, and I lost, then she drunk all my shots.”
I didn’t really say much to this because I wasn’t entirely sure just how that fitted in, but luckily we were called to silence.
We had to watch two other couples before us. It was brutal. They had clearly hated every second of this interaction with each other.
When it came to our turn, I went first as B was sitting there bright red bless him.
“This lovely lad is B, he’s eighteen and is looking for a career change. He has an avid interest in politics which is just awesome, and he is used to a fast paced working environment with his current job. ” I then point at young woman interviewer…. “And you…..” ‘Me?’ “Yes you…. remind me to never go out drinking with you. You win at arm wrestling and then drink shots.”
She laughs hysterically which makes the whole room laugh uncomfortably.
“B, I can’t believe you told her that. I forgot about that. Oh my God. Right well…. thanks for that. B, what did you find out?”
He still has red cheeks and stares at the table while he speaks. Clearly , people must have thought I terrorized him during our chat.
“She’s Laura, 27 , has kids, wants work, and she has an umbrella in her car.”
Thanks for the hard sell there B, I sound fucking fascinating.
Everyone is just silent and stares at me.
“Uh, I do not have an umbrella in my car. I have an umbrella in my heart.”
“I thought you said car.”
“Why would I say car? Why would having an umbrella in my car be an interesting fact about me?”
Oh dear God, smart guy to the right of me is looking on in amusement.
“Well, it can be interesting like…. if it rains.”
“Right… well if me having an umbrella in my car is my interesting fact, then I am doomed forever.”
More uncomfortable laughter.
The other two couples round off what they learnt which is basically naff all.
Next up, a role playing thing. Oh brilliant. The only role play I like is when Darren Criss gets home from work… dresses up in his fire fighters uniform and…. where was I? (Please note, this has only happened in dreams. I am sure I didn’t even need to explain that one. )
So we had to pick a product out of the bag, and we both had to be the customer and the seller. We had a few minutes to practice both roles before doing the presentation of both roles for the room. Like I said, Brilliant.
B was a gentleman and let me pick the product. Turned out to be a Lucozades Sport cherry flavoured drink that went our of date January 2011.
“Wow, the colour to this is not good. It looks like it has been nuked or something. I dare you to drink some.”
B looks at me like i’m bonkers (Fair point) and asks if we should get on with it.
We watched the two other couples go first…. and it literally went…..
“Can you tell me about this product.?
Yes, it’s great because….”
How much is it?
“Such and such , thanks , bye”
And I watched this four times over because each couple had to be customer and seller. So it was riveting. I kept myself entertained by thinking of the really great sounding episode of Vampire Diaries I had to catch up on.
Then it was our turn. I was the customer first.
“Hey, I just noticed this in your fridge, and I was wondering if you could tell me if it’s any good. It says on the bottle that it is the drink for athletics, and as you can tell, I have an athletic body.” (OK , It was meant to be funny, but not that funny. Also, the girls who were all lovely, were all at least two sizes bigger than me so….. thanks everyone. I am thrilled you find the idea of me being athletic a hoot. That was one joke that backfired on me right?)
B looks at me blankly.
“Oh well… It is good coz.. it’s for sports so yeah.”
“Oh great, could you tell me the price? The price label must have fallen off in the fridge or something.”
“I don’t know but it’s probably around a quid or something.”
Oh , well yeah, probably. I mean, I could have guessed it. Kill me now.
“Lovely. Just curious if it also comes with this bit of fluff on the lid, or do I pay extra for that?”
He didn’t get the joke, but at least the interviewers laughed.
Then it was his turn and it pretty went much how everybody else’s had went.
We then had to fill out basic forms in silence , and then it was time to go. Before I walked out, one of the interviewers grabbed me.
“You were great, we would like to offer you a one on one interview straight away.”
I know it sounds like I’m boasting but I’m not. Anyway, turns out I couldn’t do the hours, they forgot to mention it was an overnight job. As we walked out, one of the young guys who hadn’t said boo all night was well chuffed with himself.
“That went really well, I think I might have it.” Ah bless him. Maybe he did get it.
Now we move on to the one on one interviews. This one on one interview I am about to describe is not the follow up one I had to the group interview. It was for a completely different company.
I walked in, and was met by ‘J’. He shook my hand and I gave him a pathetic wimpy handshake back. And all I thought was …. ‘Oh fuck’ , they judge people on handshakes, I’ve lost the job……
Anyway, I walked up to the interview room, and there was this ultra posh blonde woman in a suit, and she was giving me daggers. Shit. Never break eye contact , never break eye contact……
All the greetings are made , and on to the hard stuff. Why do I want to work for the company? (Because I need money and am desperate is not appropriate.) How can I personally make the company money?.( That is a tad unrealistic, I will be a newbie , and unless I hold people at ransom, it ain’t gonna happen. But of course I said Good Customer Service and promotion.) What do you buy when you come into our stores? (Your own brand skin care range with mint is fantastic. Really helps me. (Lie, never used this before in my life.) How can you personally save the company money on electric bills? (Is this a real question? I answered with turning electrical appliances off that didn’t have to be in use. They jumped up and down like I scored a goal and said believe it or not, people never answer with that.) Name one example where I have excelled myself in a previous job…. (I’m not going to go into my answer here, it is vomit inducing.)
Then comes the whopper. The question nobody should have to answer because you sound like a first class, grade A bell end.
“Describe yourself in five words?”
“Oh no. This is that question where I have to sell myself and make myself sound fantastic.”
Scary business woman nods and waits for my answer.
J cuts in….. ‘Oh, I like happy. I have been here since 6 doing stock take. I need happy.’
“Well you would get happy. I love Monday mornings and people hate me for it.” J looks at boss woman dead seriously now and says …. “Can we hire her just for that?” …..
She doesn’t look very impressed and tells me to say four more words. Ah crap.
Like… it’s true. I am enthusiastic about coffee and Glee so…..
“Friendly” (Don’t cringe for me, I already cringed for days after….)
“And uh…. hard working. I know that is two. I done it on purpose because this is hell.”
She actually cracked a smile then.
“I’m going to let you have another just to watch you squirm.”
Thanks lady. Appreciate it.
I shrugged. I yet again stated that it was torture.
Then I said the most cringey of all which had nothing to do with the job….. “Loving”
Oh the shame.
I remember telling them I had good product knowledge , but if they were to test me right now then it wouldn’t be fair because I would definitely fail, and they laughed at that. This was a job I ended up getting, even after that believe it or not.
So that is my story of the interviews….. hell right? Why are they so bad? Why why why???!!!
In other news, the littles have a disco tonight. Leona was telling me that she would not be dancing with any boys . Boys are smelly and stuff. She’s right.
Anyway, skip forward half hour to the school run. She has the sweetest twin boys in her year, one in her class, one in the other, and they sometimes walk to school together. Now listen, Leona is not allowed to date until she is 56, but if she has to date someone from her school when she turns that age , then the twins are fine. They are sweet and polite. They have little cherubic faces. And for about a year, despite being in the same class and walking to school together, they called her Fiona.
So we will call him Twin one , I was pissing myself listening to their conversation.
Twin One : Leona, it’s the disco tonight. We are so cool now we are older, we get to go to the big one instead of the babies one.”
Leona: “I know. It’s gonna be sooooo fun now we are grown up.”
Twin One: “So are we going to dance?”
Leona: I’m going to dance.”
Twin One: “Yeah but… with me? Boys and girls dance at discos.”
Leona: “I don’t dance with boys. I dance with my friends.”
Twin One: “But we are friends. You are friends with all the boys in our class.”
Leona:Yeah but you are boys. You don’t count as friends.
Twin One: “Oh, but we can still dance then?”
Leona: No. Sorry.
Twin One: But it lasts nearly two hours.
Leona: Yes. And?
Twin One: Well we have to dance at some point.
Leona: Yeah well, we won’t. Did you do your reading homework?
And so the conversation is changed. How absolutely cute. Never give up twin one. If you always stay that sweet, I will let you take her to dinner in around 40 years or so.
Anyway, I am off to find some chocolate for my athletic body……