On This Occasion You Have Not Been Successful

28 Sep

We have a lot going on in our office at the moment and so in true interview style, you often bump into a nervous looking individual on the way to the kettle/loo/ to pass a message to someone. They always look as if they are resisting something, like the feeling of laughter at a funeral or farting in a lift; that uncomfortable looking ‘ohgodican’t’ face.

It made me think back to interviews I have had in the past. My common issue when interviewing is actually getting the interview. You see, I am a sparkling talent; fresh and driven and incredibly hard-working (if I don’t say so myself), but on paper I have one failure. I do not have a degree. I didn’t go to university, partly because I ended up in hospital during my A levels and didn’t get the grades I aspired for, and partly due to other things (according to my dad, who is, often, right). It’s funny because should I actually get in front of someone, they always seem surprised and a comment I have heard more than once is “We weren’t going to see you, as you don’t have a degree!” Nope. I don’t. But I can type faster than you can run, I have a slightly left of the middle eccentric brain which comes up with all sorts of unusual ideas and when working in sales in the past I have been a top seller, simply because I can talk the hind legs off a donkey. I can as easily sell an expensive face cream as I can a house. I am also far more intelligent and capable than someone who did travel and tourism or one of the other degrees that my grandfather refers to as ‘mickey mouse’. I have life experience by  the bucket load. So there. (rant over, steps, no, falls, off soapbox).

When I was young, the thing that failed me at interview was my never-ending ability to fill a gap with words. People have told me recently that I still do this in a conversational way with friends  (Ollie  “stop talking!! Just for the tunnel! Its only ninety seconds!!!” Cheers dude) but I have learnt to rein it in professionally. Yet I still, on occasion, get awkward in silent situations. I think over what I just said. I think a bit more. Then I add something that I feel is necessary to clarify my previous point, that actually needed no further clarification. Then I pause. Then I look awkward.

I often feel for the people interviewing too. There have been some really amusing answers to questions posed in interviews, and I feel an affinity for these people. There is nothing worse than your brain not engaging before your mouth speaks, and sometimes its like watching your life in slow mo. Why did I say that? Ouch.

Have you ever said anything really embarrassing in an interview? Or heard an amusing answer? Answers on a postcard people!

Bit of shameless promoting…. Don’t forget to follow on Facebook and Twitter (right hand side… obvious prompts. Cannot get massive neon arrow. I apologise!) for teeny tiny bits of wisdom random from moi. (This one is for you Mrs O! 🙂 )

Oh Ryan, how did you sneak in there? Ah the microphone. Ryan Reynolds doing my interview. Certified verbal word vomit.

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18 Responses to “On This Occasion You Have Not Been Successful”

  1. autumnbarlow September 28, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Possibly more disconcerting for the interviewer than me…I once, for some reason, applied to the civil service because I wanted to be James Bond or something. Got hauled down to London for an excruciating two-day assessment. By the second day I knew it was not for me. In between the team exercises we each had to have an hour’s assessment with a psychologist.
    “Is there anything we need to know about that may affect your performance during this selection process?” she asked.
    “Yes,” I said with happy abandon. “My boyfriend’s just voluntarily committed himself to a mental institution.”

    Tumbleweed.

    • tinkerbelle86 September 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

      thats literally the best thing ive heard all day!!!

  2. duncanr September 28, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    I hate interviews. I’m no good at them. I can tailor my job application and CV to ensure that I have a high chance of being invited for interview, but once sat in front of people, I invariably fall down.

    Whereas I can lie like the best of them on paper – face to face I just can’t do it. Having been an interviewer myself, I know the sort of things people are looking out for, so when being interviewed for a job, I give a firm (but not too hard) handshake, sit upright in the chair, maintain good posture, keep hands still, don’t fidget or show other signs of discomfort/nervousness, tailor my answers to show that I am both a ‘team player’ and capable of working on my own with minimal supervision. Yet when I am asked questions that I myself have asked job applicants when the roles have been reversed, I can’t bring myself to trot out the answer I know the interviewer is looking for, and if I’m not that interested in the job, I can’t help but be honest, e.g., no, I have not harboured a lifetime ambition to work for your company. I’m out of work. I need money. I saw your ad so I applied for the job. Having listened to the job description, it is one that I am easily capable of performing well. Whether I am allowed the opportunity to demonstrate that is of course your decision. How soon before you can let me know?

    It hardly needs saying that I don’t very often succeed at interviews 😆

    P.S. at one interview that I sensed was going nowhere, I was asked did I play any team sports so I replied ‘yes’ – football, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the interviewers off to the side (there were 3 of them) make a note on his pad. Then I added – but I’m a selfish bugger and once I’ve got the ball I don’t pass to anyone. For a moment, his pen hovered in the air above his pad before drawing a line through his previous note 😆

  3. Sam September 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    I’m not proud of it, but I need toilet paper to wipe up most of the shit that comes out of my mouth.

    I’ve found I can talk my way into anyone’s heart, so interviews have never been difficult. I google company and people before, facebook stalk a bit and then know exactly what I need to say.

    So far so good.

  4. Team Oyeniyi September 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Interviews aren’t my problem – CVs are. I wasn’t raised to write the sort of “marketing document” that CVs seem to be today. All this “I am so wonderful because I did this amazing thing and that amazing thing”. Whole lot of b.s. if you ask me.

    My CV is 100% honest and if you don’t like it, interview someone else.

  5. Tori Nelson September 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Oh, I’m so happy to be a stay-at-home mom. No paycheck, but the hardest question I got during that interview was “How do you feel about poop?” and “If you had to make me lunch what would you make: Mac-n-cheese or green beans?”

  6. Paprika Furstenburg September 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    I had a second interview for a position I really wanted. The only problem was that on the day of the interview I woke up with a fever of 101 and ear infections in both ears. The outside temperature was 99, so by the time I arrived for the interivew I was miserable and barely coherent. I have no idea what I said during the interview. Afferwards I sent a follow-up, thank you letter and addressed my interviewer as Julie when, in fact, her name was Judy. I hadn’t heard her correctly courtesy of the ear infections. It all worked out though, I’m still working at the same job and it is 18 years later.

  7. prenin September 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    I’m hopeless at interviews! LoL!

    I got one job as a trainee programmer and my ex-boss (who didn’t want me to work for anyone else, but wasn’t willing to give me a paying job) had his secretary phone the company claiming to be my agent and told them I was already under contract for £28,000 p.a!

    The tax man got him in the end, but I haven’t had a job since…

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin.

  8. kathryningrid September 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Dead on, as usual!

    I know you’ve been recognized already for your inspiring silliness, but I’m here with another tap of the wand upon your shoulder:

    I’ve presented you with the Versatile Blogger’s Award for your work here. Your thoughtfulness and creativity and wit are deserving of recognition! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us!
    Visit my 09-28-2011 post to see more about your award.
    –Kathryn

    http://kiwsparks.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/i-hereby-crown-myself-mistress-of-the-mess-ups-and-guru-of-good-intentions/

  9. Surrey gal September 28, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Well, it’s like reading about myself… I am great in person, I have great talents, but on paper I’m a failure who hasn’t been working for 7 years and had odd bizarre jobs in between…. yes, for me it’s also about getting an interview (which I don’t seem able to get… 😦 )

  10. philosophermouseofthehedge September 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    Hey,…interviews are like doing a stage production….(only someone forgot to give you all the script)…the best candidate at improv wins! Great post.

  11. Jennifavor September 29, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    I usually do pretty good at interviews but somehow I always end up learning way too much personal information about the interviewer. I don’t know what it is, but we always end up chatting like old friends and before long an hour has passed and I know most of his/her life story. It’s so odd.

  12. gojulesgo September 29, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Ha! I definitely believe in your sales talent, because you sold me on this blog straight away! 🙂 Plus, sometimes the more degrees people have, the more removed from reality they seem to be. I can say this because I work in an environment where everyone has at least 10-letters worth of credentials after their name (me excluded).

    Most awkward interview moment? I cried. Sad reason. But funny story. I got the job. 😉

  13. mairedubhtx September 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    In my opinion, people (interviewers) place too much emphasis on degrees and not enough on experience and talents.

  14. Sandra Bell Kirchman September 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    My biggest problem has been I was alway overqualified for the job, except for the ones I really wanted and there I was underqualified. I’m sure this says something about me, but I don’t know what 😛

  15. hugmamma October 1, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    pregnant pauses make me nervous as well…so i find myself making nonstop conversation…until someone sneaks a word in edgewise. otherwise it’s me and my yada, yada, yada…blah, blah, blah…yikes!!! 🙂

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