what I learnt from four days of job interviews

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What I Learnt From Four Days of Job Interviews

Back in March during the Easter break, I headed down to London with Jack for four days since I had a few hectic days in store: one interview each day. I've had a lot of job interviews in the past, but they've been mostly for part-time work or more recently for internships. Therefore, these interviews felt a lot more nerve-wracking as the end goal was to secure my first job in the adult working world! I learnt a lot over the four days, so I thought I would chat about the experience in more detail.

For a little context, I've secured a position with a PR agency which I begin in July which is so exciting! I'm really happy that the sector hasn't yet been overtaken by online assessment and unnecessary stages just to secure an interview - 3 out of 4 interviews were relaxed, and at times felt more like chatting with people I already knew which was wonderful! For two, I had to prepare a presentation, whilst the others were much more informal. It helps that I'm naturally a chatty person, so although at times I felt the nerves I could talk through it, so face-to-face has always suited me well!

The final interview was so incredibly different from the other three, and they had told us at the beginning that we would leave either loving or loathing the company, and I unfortunately found it wasn't for me. I've never been a big fan of group interviews, and I imagine for most people it's their worst nightmare. Though the tasks were pretty accurate in line with what most Account Executives do on a daily basis (I've had a few PR internships in the past year so I knew roughly what the job would entail), I found my personality wasn't well matched with those of the company.

At the end of the day, not every office is the same and this was one of the most striking things about having an interview each day. In my head I noted subtle differences in their strategies, their approaches to training their employees, company sizes, different clients and expectations of their graduates. Two were small companies, whilst the other two were massive, meaning that the office culture of each would've varied a lot!

Everyone tells you to be prepared for interviews. I've learnt that this means knowing your CV back to front, your strengths and weaknesses and above all, what makes you an asset to the company. What do you bring that others cannot? I used my varied experience and languages degree to show my communication skills, and what I've learnt from these experiences to show myself as the candidate they would want. The company I will be working for is truly international which feels rewarding to know that I will still be able to use my French and Spanish in the workplace.

However what surprised me, was the lack of interest in my specific degree or expected grade. They all of course were aware that I studied languages, however, all interviews showed more interest in my work experience. Over the last year I worked hard to build up experience in PR and Marketing, and clearly, they were keen to know which clients I'd worked with, what kind of responsibilities I'd had and what I enjoyed and disliked most about PR. Basically, once you know which sector you'd like to work in, crack on with finding work experience or internships! Put simply, whatever degree you attain may not be enough, and in most cases it isn't!

The most important lesson I learnt from this rather intense experience is that normally, your gut instinct is right. I sensed straight away within minutes in the offices if I was or wasn't comfortable - it's that feeling that you can really see yourself there already. Body language is so crucial, and you can usually sense if HR likes you or not, although of course you shouldn't assume anything too quickly! Trust your instincts and think carefully at the interview, take note of the surroundings, the people and the environment, because no one company is the same.

This post became quite long oops! Thanks for reading! What have you learnt from your job interviews? What advice would you give to others?

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8 comments

  1. This is such an interesting post. I'm glad to hear that you got one of the jobs so congratulations!! I've definitely found that experience is key, even if you have a degree you need a ton of experience to prove your worth, and I also think it is super helpful because it allows you to explore your field of interest and if it is actually something you want to do! x

    Abi | abistreetx

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    1. Thank you so much! I actually really enjoyed thinking back and reflecting on the experience a lot. I couldn't agree more, companies want to see that you've had experience in a work setting, even if the sector isn't always that relevant! Definitely, I used my internships to help me work out what I liked and disliked about the job and its paid off a lot! x

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  2. I have gone through a slew of interviews in the past couple months and have seen a wide spectrum from professional to "let's reschedule even though I'm standing in front of you". Its bizarre that you can have a great interview based on your experiences to a desperate manager that will hire you with no qualifications.

    What a world we live in.

    Alexis|| https://lidsandtricks.com/

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    1. Oh honestly I can't believe how disorganised some companies are with job hunting! It's become so tough now to find great companies who don't mess you around!

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  3. Oh my goodness, that many interviews are scary. I think degrees are a weird one. When you're at uni tutors say how important they are but in reality I don't think people care too much.

    http://ohduckydarling.com

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    1. It was a very intense experience, the problem was in final year I had so many other things to do so I wanted to get all the interviews out the way and a job sorted early on! Exactly, hardly anyone asked in detail about the degree, they just like to see you'll be attaining that level of qualification.

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  4. This is such a relief - I'm always worried that my degree (English Literature) will put me at a disadvantage to people studying Business or Marketing, but I have an internship in Events and PR this summer. Hopefully what I learn there will put me in a good position for when I graduate next year. Thank you for this post, great advice!!

    Loads of love,
    Siobhan

    https://attemptatadulthood.com

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    1. I had a lot of friends who studied English and they were often stuck on where to go with it afterwards so you're clearly very organised and forward-thinking! It certainly will, the more experience you can acquire before graduating will make such a big difference. Good luck!

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