My sister-in-law Claire, despite her protestations, is a wonderful person. If I didn’t already have a wonderful sister then she would easily adopt that status (dropping the slightly off putting ‘in-law’ status seems much more personal).
She is a single mother of four, and is currently back at college and hoping to get one place of five on a dietetics course at Caledonian University. Having missed out on a lot whilst she brought up her kids, she has thrown herself back into study in a way I can only envy as I neither managed to reach her levels of dedication when I was at University nor do I think I could reach them should I return there now.
Today she has an interview, and despite being in the top % of her class (I’ll have to check but I think she is TOP of the class as it happens) with grades that kick ass all over her curriculum, she is very nervous. Louise and I chatted with her on the phone last night, trying to calm nerves and bounced ideas and advice back and forth. Having been on both sides of the interview table I hope I was able to offer some insight into the process even if it was from a commerical point of view, rather than an academic one but then so much of university life is commercially based these days I’m not sure there is much of a muchness between the two.
It got me thinking about my approach to job interviews, and I soon realised that I have absolutely no comparable event on which to base my advice. The only one that comes close was for a part-time job and that was only because it was my first ever interview as a nervous sixteen year old.
Subsequent interviews have all been, well not muted, but certainly not anything that approaches a deep seated desire to work for the company in question. For example, my first real job – at Crossaign- was as a Technical Administrator. The job advert indicated that it would require writing some user material, as well as some other bits and bobs. Going into the interview I had a rough idea of what they wanted, was fairly confident I could do the work, and was more worried about getting the right train than I was about the job interview itself. Woefully underprepared I winged it and somehow ended up with the job.
After being made redundant at Crossaig I found myself travelling to London for interviews with one memorable day involving the sleeper to Euston, and interview in Reading, one in Aylesbury (requiring travel back into London, and then back out to Aylesbury), and the next sleeper home. I was so knackered that both interviews were a bit of a blur. Thankfully Dr.Solomon’s were impressed enough with me to offer me a position (the job in Reading I turned down as they had ‘forgotten’ I was coming for the interview, never a good sign).
Anyway, my point is that I have never gone for an interview for something I really really wanted to get. Looking back on my career I can see why that is (can anyone say career change?) but I’m sure that if Claire relaxes enough to not panic she’ll sail through it. She’s a smart cookie and the kind of person you’d trust if you offered them a chance. Sure she may forget to buy toilet paper now and again (sorry Claire!) but she is so dedicated it’s both inspiring and quite scary all at once.
Her interview is at 3pm. I’ll be on tenterhooks until then, and probably for a while after. Good luck Claire, although I’m sure you won’t need it.