Thursday, 24 April 2014

Mixed Signals from Peanut Butter Guy

As a fresh-faced 18 year-old I had the opportunity to go to Peru for the summer holidays with my college friends and an organisation which coordinates these types of trips. I spent any spare time I had raising the funds to go, but at about half way to my target I pulled out of the experience. It would have involved walking the Inca trail, white-water rafting as well as helping to decorate a school. I have always regretted my decision not to go, and sadly I put it down to bad judgement and a boy I was seeing at the time - a relationship which incidentally ended very badly. Ever since that day, I have always told myself never to let a boy get in the way of my dreams and aspirations. Yet, today, through the midst of trying to study I am procrastinating over a guy I've only been on one date with! Grrrr....girls and their over-thinking brains. Why couldn't I have been born a boy?

Peanut Butter Guy is the epitome of mixed signals. I wonder if, because now I am more open to something a bit serious, I've fabricated all these amazing times we'll have together in my head and my brain is starting to believe it's true. So now that I haven't heard from him for five days (apart from a couple of 'favourited' pictures on Instagram) I am literally climbing up the walls. FIVE DAYS I tell you. I'm a pretty laid back kind of person and I honestly thought I would be happy to take things in my stride, but one minute he calls me 'beautiful' and wants to know the inner workings of my brain and then the next minute he barely speaks to me. Don't even get me started on the fact we've not even been on date number two yet! It's true, I'm not in a rush. I'm busy with a degree assignment, a new job starting on the 6th May - which I'm very excited about - and my son is having a few behavioural issues at nursery again (I've signed him up for a martial arts class to help channel his anger), but not hearing from a guy for FIVE DAYS?? I think it's safe to say he's just not that into me.

I'm trying to make peace with the fact that I'll likely be single over the summer. I've got a couple of weddings to go to (solo) and a few trips here and there, so who knows what'll come of it? Being single I am absolutely OK with for now. What I don't agree with is the polar opposite signals some guys can give. I've made it clear that I'm interested. I'm too grown-up to mess about with silly games. If you like me, tell me. If not, jog on. I've got studying to do.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

My simple 6 interview tips

It's been a crazy few weeks of relentless interviewing following the threat of (and then actual) redundancy. I'm exhausted and not sure if I have the energy to answer the question, 'What are you doing in your current role?' for the umpteenth time. Nevertheless, interviewing is a fact of life. Even having conducted hundreds of interviews myself as an ex-Recruiter, I still feel that entering an unknown building and trying to impress an unknown person is just as daunting to me now as it was at the beginning of my working life.

I am up to the final rounds of interviews so I thought I'd take the opportunity to impart some of what I have learnt about myself and the interview techniques that work for me, in the hope they might help another. It's important to show enthusiasm over desperation. Being a person with a dependent your head says, 'PANIC!' but this must not show on your face.

There are plenty of formal structured ideas of how an interview should be conducted, but I would like to give a friendlier list of Top 6 Tips for getting the job you want:

1) Be the best version of yourself - This sounds fairly obvious, but it's surprising how tempting it is as an interviewee to fall into a trap of thinking, 'What do they want me to be?' Of course you want to show you are suitable, but you must be true to you. If you project a false image you will be discovered in the end, and that will be counter-productive for both parties.

2) Know your CV and tell the truth - There is a fine line here. In the dating world, it's not advisable to try to impress someone by saying you can relate to their interest as an annual competitor in Iron Man, if in all honesty, you're referring to regularly running for the No. 9 bus. This false projection will not doing you any favours in the end. However, there is nothing wrong with amending your CV to align to the job spec and highlight related strengths in specific areas.  If you have experience in something and it's relevant make sure it's on your CV. You must know the dates, companies, job titles, length of time and reasons for leaving each role. Make sure not to give a negative answer like, 'My manager was a bitch.'

3) Arrive 10 minutes early - I was two minutes late for an interview, and because of the rush and the flustering I was worried I'd blown it instead of focussing on my performance. This is not the best first impression you want to give at interview.

4) Get an early night the day before and DO NOT DRINK! - I once turned up to an interview severely hungover, with my collar inside out and no make-up. My hair looked like I'd been caught in the middle of a fight between a fox and a badger. I sat in the interview with waves of nausea rushing over me. I had to ask him to repeat a question because my mind had focussed on more important things, such as whether I was going to keep that Prosecco down, and whether there was a bin in the room within grabbing distance.

5) Interview the interviewer - I find this works wonders. It's recommended that you take a list of questions with you. I say make sure you memorise these questions. There's no need to wait until the end to ask them, if it's an appropriate moment, ask! This isn't prison. You need to make sure you're happy with them as a company and as potential colleagues. It's your life! I had an interviewer ask ME if I had any reservations about him. That's your aim.

6) Smile, make eye contact and show them you want it - This is by far the most important thing you can do. Any hard-faced, bull dog of a VP or Director or CEO will crack a smile in response because it is the human condition to do so. Ultimately, it's people that build businesses. They want to see you have a personality and you are confident in your abilities. My thoughts: "Yes, this is scary as hell, and I am severely intimidated, but I'm going to be happy, enthusiastic and positive about the whole situation, because I may need a sense of humour if I am to be spending the next few years of my life answering to you!" Make sure you drop the interviewer a succinct thank you email afterwards. Mention one key point from the interview such as, 'Your obvious enthusiasm for the company must be a great motivator for your staff'.

So there you have it. Just remember that you might not want the job anyway. If it's the right company for you then there'll be chemistry from both sides. Intuition is a very important aspect of this process. Just think, you're basing a life-changing decision on an hour in a chair. Dig deep, smile wide and make them want you on their team.

Good luck job-seekers! Here's to the next great opportunity.