Saturday, May 19


I applied for a new job recently. I had to. My current one is killing me.

At present, I spend 7 hours a day annoying old women by offering them home insurance. It’s impossible to hit my target and, being a bad loser, is sending me running for cliff edges like a bewildered lemming.

So I applied internally to work in claims.

I’m meticulous at interview preparation, especially when trying to escape death. So I re-read the Job Spec, asked others what to expect, worked out answers to all possible questions, mentally rehearsed them, clipped my nails and arrived 5 minutes early.

And the first question he asked me was ‘What do you know about the company?’

I was stuck. Being an internal interview I wasn’t expecting this. After all, I already worked for the company, why should I regurgitate a cheap sales pitch to impress my interviewer? What kind of internal interview quizzes you on why you want to work for the company you’re already in?

I mumbled out an excuse instead and waited for him to move on.

‘What achievement are you most pleased of in your work?’

Now I could win it back. In my previous job as Duty manager of a chain store, I had years of customer service skill. Over 3 years I was promoted quicker than any of my peers, given more responsibility than those 3 times my age. I was the first person called on to handle customer complaints, was in charge of some of the busiest sale periods, respected by over 20 staff, and, most excitingly, held the store keys.

I opened my mouth to speak, when he added, ‘…since you joined our company?’

And I was flummoxed again. I sell insurance. I annoy people. I exaggerate features and benefits to hide the fact that our price is 3 times higher than other insurers. What could I possibly say I’d achieved?

‘Um, I managed to overcome my stammer, which was threatening my sales call when I first started.’

He paused for a moment and said, ‘O.K.,’ then turned back to his notes.

It was the same throughout the interview, ‘What experience have you gained for this role since you joined our Company?’ ‘How hove you shown Passion for your work since you joined our Company?’ Even ‘How do you cope with a busy day in your current role since you joined our Company.’ I make outbound Calls! How can any day be busier than another? I have days where people shout at me more often if that’s what you mean.

At the end of the interview I hadn’t had a chance to mention any of my relevant experience, the reason they should employ me, or even the fact that I have an NVQ in active listening, am a brilliant empathiser, and really want to work in customer service. Not a single question I had prepared for came up. I wanted to shout, ‘Do you know what an Outbound Sales role is like, you ignorant jackass? Do you really think I go home every night with a passionate sense of achievement burning in my soul? Well I don’t! I go home with a burning anger and take it out on my boyfriend!’

He stood up, thanked me and pointed the way out of the building. I left the room and got lost, before heading back to my office, the failed Computer Science graduate who spent his life talking to geriatrics for £8 an hour.

I’m expecting to get feedback next week. I’m dreading it.

He’ll come into the feedback room, sit me down and offer me a coffee. Then referring copiously to his notes he’ll look at me and, in so many words, call me an idiot.

Still, it’ll only be since I joined the Company...


whenn said...

I used to work in a call centre too. Although we were lucky enough te be an inbound centre, we still had to sell the policies.And exagerate the features and benefits (I'm so sick of those words) to hide the high price.
I really understand why you want to get away from it! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

imwithsully said...

Very nice. I have my internal review coming up next week. I am dreading those very same questions. :)

claire h said...

Sorry to hear it didn't go to good. But im sure you always under estimate yourself anyway.

The Freelance Cynic said...

Keep your toes crossed too Whenn

God I hate those Sully. It's an hour of finding excuses

And here's hoping Claire!

Angelika said...

Sounds horrible, LOL.



The way you told it was hilarious, though.

I'm sure it wasn't as bad as you remember it. You have a very active imagination, after all.

Anonymous said...

Internal interviews, like annual performance reviews, are about as pleasant as having surgery while the anesthetic has worn off. Especially if the person asking the questions has no clue what they are doing, and you're fighting the urge to reach across the desk and give them a healthy slap in the chops.

And if you think it's hell getting them, there was nothing I hated more than writing them, as I wanted to give my staff outstanding on every category. I'd submit them to human resources (you don't want to know what I think about that department), and they'd come back marked down, so they would "have room to expand as an employee"... what a crock! Then the fighting would begin over raises... I truly despised being in management.

But hiring was even more pleasant. I got in so much deep doodoo over hiring, especially when I would reject 99% of the resumes I got from HR. Spelling and grammar horrors got a fast reject from me, but the few that cracked us up were really funny in a twisted sort of way. They sent me one that spent the first two pages babbling about his recent born-again experience. I put a big red X on the front page and sent it back. But why? exclaimed HR. Have you ever heard JL when he's in full rant? The air goes royal blue in IT when he's in full voice. This guy wouldn't last 30 seconds. Or the guy who showed up and gave me the high-pressure sales pitch on why I should hire him. I already decided NO after a few minutes of listening to him. About a month later, the company he worked for was hit with the largest case of toll fraud in the history of Canada. Oh yeah, I should have hired him... UGH! And I have dozens more stories just like them.

That's why I work for myself these days :-)

Webmiztris said...

maybe it's not so bad! sometimes interviews just FEEL worse than they really are. at least that's what I used to tell myself. :)

This blog has re-incarnated as
The Freelance Guru!

Click to be Redirected.