I really don’t like interviews, they make me nervous. I’m asked questions that I suddenly don’t know the answer to, stuff like how old I am or why I am in Brazil. I forget what I have done all my life and my language skills suddenly fade away.
There are more things I do not like, talking in front of people is a good example.
Last Friday I was called by a company who had come across my CV on a job site. They asked if I would like to come for an interview for a job within the mortgage industry and of course I accepted. I am thinking they are a recruiter as they are talking about a client of theirs, so even if this isn’t a job for me they might have other positions. My interview was booked with Debora at 10am, I arrived there a perfect 10 minutes early, and was asked to wait until called. I was in a room with a few other people, and more people kept coming. The odd thing was that everyone who came in said the same thing to the receptionist “I have an interview booked with Debora at 10am”. Odd. Debora finally came, only 15 minutes late, and asked that we all follow her. Ok, so she had not made a mistake. Interesting…
She takes us into a room that looks like the saddest of the sad, I immediately got depressed and felt sorry for the poor people who have to work there. We were once again asked to wait, in “very very shortly” she will begin. We waited two Sudoku games and finally Debora started telling us about the job. The job itself actually sounded good, but when she tells me the job is at their company, as they have a new big contract with Santander, I realize these sad premises would also become my home.
We are given a blank piece of A4 where we’re asked to write down our Professional Objectives (because they didn’t like the ones on the job site?). We’re told to write at least 15 rows, so naturally my writing became slightly larger and spacious. We then have to stand in line and hand it to her, she is sitting at the front and I feel like a 1st grade student all over again.
We sit and we wait, she tells us it will be “very very quick” and we are eventually given another piece of paper, this time with blanks to fill in. It looked just like a fun exercise I got when I was in little school girl with pictures and I had to write a story about it, relating to my life: marital status, what I consider worth celebrating, my hobbies, my work experiences, my professional goal, what I would change about myself and what I have done that I am proud of. As we had to write our name, age and mobile nbr on it I figured we had to give this to her as well. We did; but first she asked us to wait and it will be “very very quick” so we need not to worry. She called three other people who actually work in the department to talk to us. They told us more about the job and then asked us to please stand up, one by one, and “do our presentation”. Did they just ask us to do a presentation, just like that, in front of 18 people? I blacked out for a second then threw up in my mouth out of pure fear. I do not do presentations. I hardly do interview for christ sake! What did I do to deserve this, was it something in my past life? Because I really can’t remember ever being THAT bad. I mean, this is bad as in doing jail time, for life. Almost.
We are sat in a U shape, with the four “judges” in the opening staring at us like some mean machines. They obviously lack a sex life because nothing could make them smile – not even one guys attempt to joke which made the rest of us laugh. It’s going to be very quick she tells us again. Middle aged lady sitting in one end starts, I learn she’s younger than me and also very nervous. After listening to 8 people I am not only bored, it is also my turn. I have had a good hour to work up my poor nerves, start the sweating, get used to the shaking fingers and think about what I am going to say. Amazing how quickly you can forget something.
I stand up, fall back down on my chair, stand up again and tell the jury my name, my age and that I am Swedish. I tell them I speak a bit of Portuguese. I mean, really. What a grand introduction to a job interview in Portuguese; “me speak little your lingo, sí”. My ears hear the lack of intelligence in that comment but my brain doesn’t register, so instead of proving to them that actually, my portuguese is fluent, I do exactly that, speak a little portuguese. I really struggle. The A4 which has my presentation lined up for me (in the correct language) is being folded into a small small square, unfolded to a wrinkly A4, then made into a triangle, and then into one of those cootie catchers I used to make as a child. At least I can multitask!
I tell them I studied in Australia, they ask what I studied, I answer in English saying I don’t know the portuguese version although I actually do. I tell them about my last job and when they ask a question about paperwork I answered that I never did any. Umm ok…. I didn’t know what else to say, so I said that’s it and sat down. I knew I didn’t get the job right then and there but had to listen to another 6 people who took another hour as some people have absolutely no problem talking about themselves and how amazing they are in front of other people. At this point I am starving and my belly is making funny sounds.
When we were all done Debora asked us to give her the paper we had filled out, I gave her my wrinkly piece of paper which is wet from my sweaty hands. We are asked to leave the room while they decide who they want to know further and have for a second interview (individual ones!!). Again, this will be very very quick, because she obviously doesn’t know what that word means (wonder if I can teach her some portuguese).
Finally the trio leaves the room, they pass us without the slightest twitch on their faces – damn these people are hardcore! We are called back in and Debora calls out the names of those who are interesting enough (i.e. good enough at doing presentations without practice) to get a second interview. I was not one of them. She said if our name was not called “thank you for your time but you can go now, everyone else stays”. And so the low-lifers stand up and leave.
The interview started at 10am, I got home at 2pm; and not because it was far away, because actually I walked home! The longest most awful interview I have ever done. God bless nice recruiters!! And thank God for wine; the only reason I survived the day.