Monthly archives "August 2014"

Coping with the interview

I was out with friends today and the subject of interviews came up.  Which led to us swapping stories of good and bad interviews and interview questions.

interviewWhen you’re the interviewee it’s naturally a nerve wracking process.  You know you’re being assessed, measured, judged – not just against the requirements of the role, but also against other people up for the same position.  You spend hours swotting up on the company, its results, your new department.  You highlight relevant bits of your CV, you read up on anything relevant in the media.  Its a bit like cramming for exams except you don’t necessarily know the questions.

All of this intense activity and thought is stressful.  And stress is not a great accompaniment on your interview journey.  It can make you nervous, sweaty, unable to construct a logical sentence together.

I’ve been in the position of interviewer and interviewee, many times.  As have the friends I was with.  We agreed that actually, as interviewer, we don’t have time to waste on candidates who won’t fit the bill.  So if you’ve been offered an interview, then it means we already think that on paper at least, you’re a contender.  What we’re really looking for in the interview is that you stack up in person to your paper version, that you’re a good fit for the rest of the team, that you’re someone we can work with, someone who wants to be there.

And in the same way, instead of seeing an interview as a test, maybe look at it as a conversation.  You’re scoping out your prospective new employers just as much as they’re scoping you out.  You have skills and attributes they want – the interview is just an exchange of ideas, a confirmation that you make a good fit for each other.  In fact, just scrap the word ‘interview’, replace it with ‘meeting’ and it’ll take away some of the stress instantly.  Go in to the meeting with an attitude of curiosity and notice how much more interesting, honest and easy it becomes.

Good luck!

A small step out of my comfort zone

Today I want to share with you a little something that I’ve done, which is kind of related to my work as a writer, but also related to my journey, in life, in general I guess.

Yael Farber Old Vic The CrucibleI fell in love with the theatre again last year, after years of being away from it or just going to see musicals (not that there’s anything wrong with musicals – I loved The Lion King!).  But last year I went to see a play called Mies Julie, by the extremely talented director Yael Farber.  It was extraordinary.  Powerful, emotional,  raw – uncomfortable viewing.  it was not about the feel-good factor but it definitely and defiantly made me FEEL.

And since then, I’ve been having a little bit of a love affair with a particular type of theatre, the kind that isn’t easy to watch, that leaves you feeling churned out and an emotional wreck, but that leaves an impact on your psyche.

And the effect has been multi-layered – it hasn’t just made me feel, think, discuss.  Its inspired me to start writing again too.  Even though it’s a completely different media, and genre to the work I’ve enjoyed and you wouldn’t necessarily connect the two things, for me, her work has inspired me to do something, to put myself out there, in my own way – to be a little bit braver, to share something of myself and to write ‘Coping with the Horroffice’.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard she was putting on another play earlier this year, Nirbhaya.  Sadly it was a short run and I couldn’t make it.  And then, wonderful news – she was staging her interpretation of Arthur Miller’s classic, The Crucible, at the Old Vic!  As soon as they were available, I got tickets – I decided to go to the closing night, which is a few weeks away.  But by a little stroke of luck I wound up with a very cheap ticket at the start of the run too.  And yet again, she doesn’t disappoint – the play is amazing, it’s raw, visceral, and out there.  I loved it all – the staging, the actors, the fact that it’s in the round, the relevance of the underlying themes – it delivers a powerful, potent punch.

So I did something I have never, ever, done.  I wrote a letter to Yael.  I wanted to reach out and tell her how much her work has touched me and moved me and inspired me.  I realise it doesn’t sound like that big a deal, but I don’t do the whole ‘fan’ thing.  I have never reached out to someone I don’t know in this way.  So for me, it’s a step out of my comfort zone.  A tiny step, maybe, but still a step.  Even though I won’t see her reaction when she reads my letter, I’m still nervous about the reception it will get.  But it’s important for me to share with her the profound effect her ‘putting it out there’ has had on me.  And I hope,someday, I’m fortunate enough to pay it forward, and make a difference to someone else by putting it out there myself.