Ah the big wide world, isn’t it wonderful? Out of the gently simmering frying pan of university, into the blistering inferno that is real life. Who knew there were so many weird and wonderful ways to get rejected in the modern work place, eh? Some will have you sighing “fair enough, I’m probably not ready for that”, where as others will have you shouting out “Why doesn’t anyone WANT ME?!”.
It’s depressing, exhausting, and often downright embarrassing. But you’ve got to start at the bottom rung before reaching the top, and these are the interview hoops you may have to leap through before you can reach the starting line.
The “a monkey could do it” Interview
You know you can make a sandwich, they know you can make a sandwich, your degree says you can make a bloody sandwich. There’s not much else to say with this one; this is your “I need some money now and don’t want to have to sell my soul to a call centre to do it”, and who wants to do that, EVER?
This interview will have you feeling like the money is already in your pocket, and as long as you have that magical “2:2” or above scrawled somewhere on your CV, it most likely is. However, they also probably have a host of other graduates having the same plan, which means you’ll be filling in where they can’t.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be doing 1-2 days a week, leaving you the rest of the time to live in your pyjamas and wonder when life is going to begin. You convince yourself “Bank of mum and dad can hang on for a bit longer, I can aim higher” – and you do.
The “this is it” Interview
This isn’t your dream job, but you know for sure it’s a step in the right direction. It’s got everything you could have hoped for: a swanky office in the city, cool and trendy employees, and they seem to love your transferable AND creative skills, get in! And to top it all off, this is an internship, so the only way is up from here…
Oh, they were hoping for a years worth of experience before hand? Someone else had more relevant skills? Gaaahhh, welcome to the first fart in the face you’re going to come across. Three years of intensive learning have nothing on 1 year o half-hearted working I’m afraid. That degree will come in handy, just not yet it seems.
The Dreaded “group” Interview
Oh lawd, has it really come to this? Trying to sell myself in front of the employers and the competition? Just shoot me now. You’ve heard of the “life boat scenario”, but you always thought it was a joke. A bunch of people desperately imploring the rest of the group that they shouldn’t be thrown out of the metaphorical life raft…let me tell you, it’s not a joke.
It’s genuine sales exercise, where you really weigh up the benefits of getting this, lets face it, dead end job against drowning in shark infested waters. It’s relatively easy to get through, but the Dragons Den style tear downs that happen right in front of you are just a little too much to bear. I’m sorry group interviews, but I’m out.
The “Questionnaire” Interview
This lovely impersonal way of sifting the wheat from the naff is something you’re going to face before you’ve even decided what pencil skirt to wear to the interview. Companies will often get you to fill out a multiple choice “personality questionnaire”, in order to decide if you’re made of the right stuff. Time saving yes, but effective? Who knows.
All the ones I’ve come across require you to to chose whether you “strongly disagree” or “strongly agree” to any given statement. I personally struggled with this, as I suffer with being a massive over thinker, and a bit of a twat. For example:
“Q: I often get anxious when talking to different types of people”
“Ok, I definitely need to put strongly disagree, so they think I’m an extraverted and confident person…but wait, I don’t want to come off as over confident. If I put I am slightly anxious, that means they’ll see I obviously care sooo much about the customers, and worry myself unnecessarily about talking to. Yup, good choice Lucy.”
This is NOT the way to do it! The obvious answer is always the answer in this case.
My absolute favourite one of these was “Do you consider yourself a lucky person?”…… “definitely disagree”.