In this column for UK magazine Australia & New Zealand, Vicky Gray shares a disastrous job interview Down Under. For more of Vicky’s articles, visit www.australiamagazine.co.uk.

Didgeridoos & Didgeridon'ts Book CoverFor the last few years in Essex, I had a built up a thriving chiropody business that kept my work/life balance pretty much perfect. I knew that I couldn’t carry on with this career in Australia – ‘Chiropodist’ wasn’t even a job title over there… but who was I to worry about that minor detail – new country, new career I thought!

I’ve always been an enthusiastic person; welcome new environments, enjoy meeting people and I’m more than willing to give anything a go. (Words taken straight from my resume – by the way.) The working world was my oyster, and I was about to impress the socks off any new employer with my skills and personality.So it came as no surprise to me when I applied for a job as receptionist at a medical centre, to get an email to attend an interview. This was going to be a perfect job for me – not only did I have medical reception experience, I had top notch admin skills… and when you add on my enthusiastic personality, I knew I had this job in the bag. I skimmed the email about the finer details, did some research on the company so I could doubly impress them with my knowledge and arrived at the interview in a timely fashion. I walked confidently into the reception area, taking in the surroundings and imagining myself behind the desk wearing the uniform and warmly greeting patients.

As I waited to introduce myself, I couldn’t help but notice how impeccably dressed the patients were who sat in the waiting room and how busy it was.

“Busy clinic,” I commented to another lady who stood next to me.
“Yes,” she replied, “but I think most people are here for the group interview.”
Tumbleweeds blew around in my head for a few moments.
Group interview? Damn my slack look at the email I received.

The place was filled with twenty-somethings with power suits and GHD’d hair. Well, at least I stood out with my curly ginger mop and lime green shirt. We were met by a smart woman who introduced herself as the owner and she started her well-rehearsed speech on the company. I knew that she would be asking for questions, so I listened intently so as to dive in first and make an impression.

Why I couldn’t stop the barrage of questions flowing from my mouth I just don’t know, they just kept coming… and coming, even though her body language was clearly holding up ‘shut up’ banners at me. Then I found I was laughing louder and more enthusiastically than anyone else in the room. The interview was soon over and everyone left, but I felt I had to redeem myself. So I waited till everyone had gone and I went back to introduce myself, a second bite at the cherry to show her my outstanding personality. She looked at me in grave fear as I approached and when I eventually stopped talking and left, I heard the door slam and double bolt. I think if she had security guards, they would’ve been called.

I got an email the same day thanking me for my attendance, but that I had not been successful. I learnt many things from that experience – to read the emails correctly, to purchase a power suit for future interviews, to be professional and to not act myself… unless applying for a job as clown’s assistant.

 

 

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