Thursday, 28 April 2011

Interview Advice

Since the job market is considerably more competitive I thought I would offer some interview advice.  I think it would be safe to say I’ve had my fair share of interview nightmares.  The following are a few handy do’s and don’ts which should prevent the following awkward situations:

1) Always make sure you know what your entrance and exit routes are, especially in caf├ęs and restaurants that might not show you out.  Failure to do so, can, and has resulted in me thinking I’m going through the door that leads to the stairs but actually ended up in the kitchen, I promptly realise my mistake leave the kitchen then turn to go through the other door which incidentally leads to the toilets. Third time lucky I finally get the door to the stairs, while the bloke that interviewed me has remained in the restaurant and watched the entire thing.

2) When asked why you have a few gaps in your CV do not respond with “Oh sorry,  have I?  I must have pressed the space bar too much, I did try and get it on two pages” What they actually mean is that there are a few areas which your experience is a little hazy and you haven’t demonstrated all your work experience particularly well.

3) If they call you up and say “we would like to see you for an informal chat about the job” this does not mean its ok to turn up in your jeans and casual jumper with a New Look shopping bag and some Pick n Mix.  What they really mean is, were not sending you an official interview letter, but it is an interview all the same, and the chap before you will be suited and booted with a brief case!

4) When asked about what you know about the company always do thorough research and not just what you see in the information book in the reception, failure to do adequate research will result in the following:
Interviewers: “So Clare, what do you know about the Abode Hotel?”
Me: (Feeling chuffed I know the answer to this one…) “I know you’re owned my Michael Cain”
Interviewers: “Yes that’s right we are, and do you know who Michael Cain is?”
Me: “Yes, Yes I do…he’s an actor, he’s quite famous!”
Interviewers: “What’s he in then?”
Me: “Erm, well, erm, films? Yeah he’s in films, he’s a filmstar. He’s in erm…..*desperately trying to think of a film…any film*…jaws?
Interviewers: (laughing) Yes we are owned by Michael Cain, and Yes Michael Cain is an actor, but no, we are not owned by the Hollywood actor Michael Cain but Michael Cain the professional Chef…and no Actor Michael Cain is not in jaws”
Me: *Nodding* That does make sense, I did wonder what Michael Cain would want with a hotel.

5) If you get asked the question “where do you see yourself in 5 years time” they are looking for evidence that you are ambitious and would like to develop within the company. Replying with “well actually, you know what, I’d love to be sky diving, I’ve always wanted to do one, so yeah I’d like to be on a beach sky diving in 5 years that would be great”  isn’t the best idea.  They will smile, nod, raise their eyebrows and respond with… “okkkaaaaay moving on….”

6) When asked a question “Are you good with geography” responding with “well actually I was at the pub quiz on Sunday and I correctly matched all the post codes to the areas, so yeah I think I am” may not be the best answer to the question, they will proceed to fire random post codes at you to name the city, and yes, you will get every single one of them wrong!

Unfortunately all of the above really did happen, but I can confirm that I am in employment and have *almost* learnt from my mistakes.  

Coinciding with all this wedding talk happening at the moment, I will leave you with a picture which I hope will remind all bridesmaids that even when you think your not been photographed, you probably are, and therefore, any embarrassing face you pull will be picked up on the official photos…………


Monday, 25 April 2011

Why I love the milk float ...


Well well well, it HAS been a long time since I updated.  I am going to share a storey with you about my near death experience that happened whilst living in Canterbury. 

My life was saved by a milk float.  That’s right people I owe my life to a milkman and his rickety old milk float. 

Let me set the scene…. It’s 3.30am I am wondering home with Maria McGilesinian.  We are lost.  So lost. We’ve recently moved house and we’ve not too familiar with the roads especially in the dark.  It’s late.  It’s cold.  It’s a dangerous world out there.  Especially for a shark like myself.  People often do not understand that I am a shark with a heart.  When I’m on dry land I cannot rely on my mermaids to protect me.  I thought I would never get home, we tried everything; rubbing a street lamp in the hope a genie might appear, clicking our shoes together chanting “there’s no place like home”, I dropped a penny on the floor in the hope it would bring me good luck, I even raided the bins for a chicken foot.  And then, just as I was about to engrave my will onto my fin and admit defeat, a milk float approached, it slowed down, the driver looked at us, smiled and asked if we were ok.  We explained how we were lost, very lost.  We gave our address and he chuckled to himself and said get on. I dread to think what would have happened had that milk float not appeared.  A world without McCruickshark just doesn’t bare thinking about.   So on we hopped to this nice milk float, he then drives…literally just round the corner….and there before us was our lovely new home with the nice black door.  A little embarrassed at how close we were, but still managed to nab ourselves two free bottles of milk.  We get inside, relieved to be in the warmth and rest our tired little feet, and I go to put the milk in the fridge… CRASH BANG WALLOP… that’s right I’d forgotten about that step into the kitchen and fallen flat on my face covered in milk.

From that day onwards whenever we went out we left a trail of bread crumbs just like Hansel and Gretel.  Worse case if the trail doesn’t lead us to our house least I get a house made of cakes and sweets.