Four-thirty-five in the afternoon finds me once again waiting for a train, returning from another hair-done, pressed-jacket, best-shoes-and-smile Job interview.
The last hour sits heavily on my mind and thinking about it, I don't know what the outcome of the interview will be. “After-interview syndrome" leaves me feeling either on top of the world, visualising how much I'm going to enjoy the job I think I've just won, or walking away painfully conscious of all the things I should have said and done, but didn't.
I've had extensive “Employment Interview training" with various people. Private Agencies, The Employment Service, “Executive Job Club", and my fifteen years experience in professional sales gives me other skills to call on. But I still conclude that where interviews are concerned, it's down to personalities. Either the Interviewer likes you or not. If so, you're in with a chance. If not, - no matter how well qualified you are - no job. Not in most fields anyway. Everyone has their own opinions, likes and dislikes.
"Equal Opportunity for all" is a marvellous concept, but like racism and other Social ills, you can't really legislate against personal taste.
Several years ago, I was interviewed by someone who quite obviously took to me. I answered his questions poorly and made many other mistakes in the interview, including accepting the cigarette which was offered, (against all the rules) and joining my interviewer in some very bad jokes. We got on and I got the job! In previous interviews where I was one-hundred-and-ten-per cent qualified, with all the right experience in all the right places, I've answered questions perfectly, carried it all off by the book, and afterwards received negative response.
You can't odds it, as they say. There seem to be no rules. The Employment market today belongs to the Employers and they can choose exactly who they want to employ. Exact qualifications, the exact person with the exact experience they want.
GETTING WHAT YOU WANT
Your chances of getting exactly the job YOU want and are well qualified for, with the company of your choice and at the right salary, are practically nonexistent today. Unless of course, you really ARE the best in your field (in which case you're probably not out of a job!).
Applying for a position for which you are merely VERY WELL QUALIFIED is still a long shot.
But the chances of an employer procuring someone who fits their profile exactly are extremely high. That's the way the Employment market is right now, and it may be that way from here on out.
Sitting at the station contemplating the effort and expectation I've put into yet another interview, I can genuinely sympathise with anyone who is actively engaged on the job search trail. It has all the potential necessary for total self-destruction and very few rewards until and unless you win a job.
On two occasions in the past three years I've “beaten" others from a list of over 300 to become one of the last TWO candidates for one vacancy. Both times I came second. After exhausting interviews, days of homework preparing presentations, and maintaining a positive attitude which Gandhi or Mother Theresa would be proud of, the sense of loss is immense.
There are no prizes for second place when there's only one vacancy . . . . . . .
Three hours ago I sat on the train here, bright-eyed, bushy tailed, and going to incredible lengths to keep even the smallest unwanted crease from my jacket, neurotically flicking away even the tiniest dust mote.
But now the homeward train rumbling into the station pulls my thoughts free.
I climb aboard and slump into a free seat. Carelessly, I run my fingers through my hair and ponder . . . . . . . “What shall we have for tea?"
Stephen Kaye is an Author and businessman living in Devon. He owns http://www.kaymexdirect.co.uk and offers high quality information products essentially concerning Internet Marketing and related Enterprise.