We’ve all had that one job interview that we think back on, whether it’s because you thought you absolutely nailed it and have no idea why you were unsuccessful, or because you said something utterly idiotic in a moment of sheer panic that most probably cost you the opportunity.
Well, the interview I wish I had never attended began with a phone call from a well-known courier company that had found my CV on a graduate job site (which I had completely forgotten about doing many months before). They sent an email informing me of the location of the interview, that would take a whole day, and what was required of me. There was no mention of the role on offer as there were a few different roles available. What did concern me was that the word IT kept being popping up, something my degree had zilch, zero, nada to do with, but I thought I’d give it a go anyway as it was a rather nice starting salary and they obviously had a role with my skills in mind.
Before I arrived I had a PowerPoint presentation prepared (as instructed) which discussed what it is I would contribute to the company, something I managed to create despite no knowledge whatsoever of the role being offered as this information had not yet been divulged, and after completing an hour-long test on English, maths and science at 9am, I proceeded to deliver my presentation.
Ok-ish so far.
Myself and the other twenty or so candidates were then split up into two groups and had to read through a scenario along with character profiles of those in the story – someone was injured during a day out and it was our job to decide who should be left behind and why. I can’t say I really enjoy justifying why one character deserved to be rescued over another while the interviewers beady eyes watched and listened, quietly making notes whenever anyone in the group spoke. Talk about nerve wracking!
Lunchtime was no better as some people saw this as a golden opportunity to size up against the competition. Many of them looked at me in disbelief teamed with sly smirks when I said my degree was in English. Confident I felt not.
After more group discussions and tests, I left that day feeling rather deflated, especially after speaking to others who seemed to have all the right skills and qualifications. However, I ended up being invited back for a second interview giving me a glimmer of hope that I might just be good enough.
I arrived at the interview, which was one on one (much to my relief) and I was finally told what job role they had in mind for me, a client relationship manager. I felt really excited and the conversations were positive and hopeful. Then a company car was mentioned.
“But I can’t drive.” I said.
They asked how long it would take for me to learn, and even though I offered to do an intensive driving course, it just wasn’t meant to be. I received a phone call informing me that the role had gone to someone with a licence. I was devastated. If only I had learnt how to drive when I was 17.
Ultimately it provided me with some fantastic experience of what can happen in a competitive interview situation, and even though it was a hugely terrifying and frustrating process, I came out of it realising that I need to believe in myself a bit more. Plus, I am a great believer in things happening for a reason and if I had got the job, I would not be in the career I love today.
Have you had any nightmare job interviews? Let us know in the comments below!