Tuesday, 24 March 2015

How not to interview

Let me tell you a little secret.
I have almost finished my book. The one I am writing, that is, not the ones I read for Kevin.
And I say 'almost' because it has been a labour of love for the past eighteen months and I still have...

*pauses to check*

... five more chapters to write.

Anyhow, the book.

It is not a novel.
It is not chick lit.
It is not a crime thriller.
It is definitely not science fiction.

It is a career guide for women. And men, should they be that way inclined.
Marginally sarcastic (would you expect anything else), ever-so-slightly cynical, but definitely informative and overall humorous.

Because if you cannot laugh, well, then, there is no point.

So, today, I went to see a man about a job.
Not because I am looking for a permanent position (I am not) or because he had something I was clamouring after (he most definitely didn't), but because - via a headhunter - I was 'sought out', as they say, for my background and skills as "someone they would definitely like to talk to."

Well, I'm always up for having a chat and if nothing else believe you can learn from all such events.

So I trotted back up to the City to meet this fellow at the agreed time.

And a mere forty minutes later placed a call to the headhunter to give him a stern talking to.

"A total waste of my time," was how I put it to him, although I used a few more expletives.
And I explained why - because there is no point complaining unless you can offer constructive feedback:

  • the interviewer was late (this despite being "very keen to see you as soon as possible")
  • he had not read my CV and was quite obviously bringing it up on his phone and scrolling through it whilst firing random questions at me (more below)
  • his introduction was "I am [insert name] and I am head of [insert suitably generic title] and I was in the US for 10 years and now I am in the UK" - yes, that's it
  • there was no outline of the role he supposedly was seeking to fill, no insight as to the company's vision or plans, no details around how they are structured and operate - so just as well I had done my own homework and had a grasp of facts
  • his most pressing question was, "What was your largest sale?" (this for a business development role)
  • his other question was, "What is your experience in capital markets?" (err, hello? I was a trader for over ten years in the banking treasury division and have been in financial services more or less ever since? It's on my CV... oh wait, you forgot to read that, didn't you...)
  • but most of all - and yes, I am being totally non-PC here, but who gives a shit - he was almost incomprehensible with one of the most difficult accents to understand ever, not helped by speaking through clenched teeth
It was a classic lesson in how not to interview - from the employer's perspective.

Man, I could have given him a lesson there and then on good practice, engagement, courtesy and talking clearly.

Would have certainly made it worth my while. 
In the meantime, it has added another chapter to my book:

'What to do when your interviewer is a twat'.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Rendezvous du Kevin

Since touching down from last week's cycling academy in the company of my awesome Aussie Solicitor friend - a blissful combination of no laundry, no work, no demands from children or otherwise, but an awful lot of miles and LOTS of hills, she nailed them, me less so - I don't think I have quite yet caught my breath.

With any luck I may do so just in time for the end of term break. Yay. Lucky me. I foresee lots of shouting and threatening children with all kinds of horrible endings.

Anyway. One upside from returning to the fray was Kevin, the much ridiculed, most beloved and of many years' standing bookclub. And LCM's turn to host.

Cue panic.

What food to prepare for the demanding posse that would require minimum time and produce maximum contentment? Easy. Thank you Cook. I'm not proud.
How much wine? More than usual, that's for sure.
What books to suggest (the host has the honour of proposing a selection of their choice, we are very democratic) that would encourage debate and opinions?

But more importantly - what to say about the previous tomes in conversation, one which had left me wanting to slit my wrists, the other which had depleted my best speed-reading skills and been abandoned halfway through?

Thankfully there were mixed reactions to both, including some defiant non-reading by some - horror, shock, pagans in our midst - most of which were neatly summarised in the black (now blue) book that contains our many years of comments.

With regard to the first choice, in one camp sat Belfast Blonde, the Wine Writer and the Botanical Artist. They analysed, dissected, explained and enthused about eels, ale-making, history and torment. My eyes might have glazed over at some point but fortunately I had food to delve out and drink to replenish.

In the other camp sat the Lovely Radiographer, the Doctor of Psychology, Tough Mudda and yours truly, LCM. I think my comment summed up (most of) our feelings: "I felt like I was going round in circles so much that I was about to spiral out of control."

Aussie Solicitor positioned herself conveniently in the middle having managed to avoid even getting her hands on the book. We told her to continue desisting. It was time better spent.

As for the other, well, what to say? My comment was a sole word: bleak.

Fortuitously we have chosen two new books now from the seven proposed, one of which I know will lift spirits as I had started it on the tube (pure fluke that it was later chosen by the Kevinettes, I promise) en route to meetings this week and have already laughed heartily out loud a few times, much to the consternation of fellow passengers.

I seem to have vacant seats either side of me as a knock-on effect.

Excellent result. Will certainly make for additional entertaining conversation at the next Kevin convention.

(c) savagechickens.com


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Mental merry-go-rounds

As per my last post, it never rains but pours.

On the work front, after a year of networking, meetings, discussions, proposals, more meetings, more networking, more discussions (repeat times fifty), things are looking a little more promising.
Out of fear of jinxing matters, I will say no more, aside from waiting to quietly 'high five' myself and my fabulous business associates if things run their course over the coming weeks.

On the governor front, the overwhelming amount of process and paperwork, revising, rewriting, cross-checking and reviewing details that go with the search for a new headteacher has - for the time being - been dealt with. We now move to the next stage of formulating and scoping out the interview process and timetable for prospective candidates. Don't all jump up in excitement now. At least I have the good fortune of working with some amazing and talented (and very knowledgeable) fellow governors who are incredibly able and helpful guides in this sea of bureaucracy. They also have fantastic senses of humour, a necessity in such times, believe me.

And on the rugby front, it is all guns blazing in the run up to the club's annual Minis Festival. This year, after announcing that I would be stepping down as Vice Chair at the end of the season, I found myself subsequently agreeing to stay on (I blame the Chairman's tweets) as well as resuming the task of finding sponsors and supporters for the festival programme. In a nutshell, we appear to have blown last year's target achieved out of the water. What can I say? Once a salesperson, always a salesperson. Alternatively, "You can take the girl off the trading floor, but you cannot change her tactics!"
Again, great teamwork and some brilliant results.

how to get my attention: sarcasm works wonders

One thing however that is amusing me no end.

The rugby club - for those of you who still have not cottoned on - is London Welsh. Being party to a number of emails between the Chairman of the professional club and the Minis Chair, reading through the editorials for the programme, and observing other Welsh-isms, got me thinking.

How does Google translate pronounce words with more consonants than vowels?

Yup. Interesting. And endless time-wasting.

Hwyl a bendith i pawb. Mwynhewch y dydd, mwynhewch y rygbi.

(bet you are all going to give it a go now) 


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