In December I wrote about an important step I had taken on the work front when I decided not to apply for the job that naturally follows the one I am in, and that comes to an end shortly.
By not applying I created some much needed space to think about my future and the direction of my career.
As part of that thinking I talked things through with a colleague in HR, whom I have known for a very long time. During that discussion I mentioned a team that I thought I would like to work in, based on some previous interactions. My HR colleague mentioned that this team were about to post advertisements for some available positions. The advertisements were due to go up that afternoon!
I decided to apply.
That weekend I carefully read through the job description, essential requirements and core competencies. I matched my skills and experiences against them and completed the application form.
I took my time; I wrote with purpose; I was focussed and clear.
All in all it took me about 7 hours to complete the application form. Time well spent.
I submitted the application, ahead of the deadline, and headed off on my Christmas break. Early in January I received a telephone call to say that I had been selected for interview, and that my interview was to be held on January 23rd.
So, I did the next right thing and over the course of two weekends I prepared. I re-read my application, committing to memory the salient points. I also re-read the core competencies; I wrote them out and against each one I listed 3-5 examples of my demonstrating that particular competency. Finally, I went onto my organisation’s website and read through all the recent publications from this particular team to bring myself up to speed with their work.
I revised; I revised; I revised.
And then came the day. All set and raring to go I knew I had completed all the right steps, to the best of my ability, up to that point. All I had to do was to give a rock solid interview and I was sure the job would be mine. I recalled all the advice I had given to colleagues on interview technique, determined that I wouldn’t slip up.
I would also like to point out at this point that in preparing for the interview that day I had also done a number of other things. Firstly I had been to yoga class in the morning; great for centring oneself and letting go. Secondly I made sure I looked presentable; clean shaven, sharp suit, polished shoes etc. Finally, and most importantly, I put on a smile.
The interview lasted 45 minutes. Much of it was a blur. What I did notice though was how easily I slipped into making what I thought were schoolboy errors – saying ‘we’ a lot instead of ‘I’, waffling, struggling to find what I thought were good examples.
As I walked out of the interview I thought to myself, “that’s it, I’ve messed up, I’ll never get the job”.
Post-interview is always a waiting game, and although I was convinced I hadn’t got the job I decided not to harp on about it, rather wait for the ‘official’ outcome in due course.
It took two days. It was Friday afternoon and the phone went. It was HR. “How do you think the interview went?” was the first question. “Crap” I replied. “That’s right” he responded, “you were awful”, and then laughter. “You’re joking of course” said the guy from HR. “No”, I responded. “Well, they really liked you, you did a great interview, and they’d like to offer you the job” he said.
That was it, I passed. I was offered the job.
What I have learned from this experience is that it is not just one part of a process that determines an outcome. It is all the steps in that process combined. Each step is therefore important. And in this example, on each step, I had done my best.
Even with the interview I now realise that the way I dressed, the way I conducted myself, my tone of voice, my smile; all contributed to my getting the job. It’s a well known fact that 80% of communication is physical; therefore an interview is not solely about the words that come out of my mouth.
Finally, I would like to say that whatever the outcome was going to be I was cool with it. If I got the job (as I did) then that was a clear sign from the Universe that it was meant to be. If I didn’t get the job then likewise that would have been an indication that there was something else with my name on it.
So I now have a new job. My start date still needs to be determined but I hope it is soon. It feels good, like a fresh start. I can’t wait to get going.