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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Two weeks have passed. Got to be time for another podcast. It is.


you passed the Resume sift, successfully navigated phone and one-way video assessments and went for the actual face to face interview. You set aside time from your normal day. You travelled to the interview, which probably involved fighting with traffic, battled to find a parking space, worked out train times or maybe a combination of all three. You had to pay the expenses yourself. 

You put yourself on show during the interview. You may have been an ideal candidate. Or not. But you didn’t get the job. So does it help you to know why you didn’t get THAT job? 

In this Podcast I consider whether it is worth pursuing interview feedback, if you are unsuccessful that is. If you got the job then you’ll probably want to bask in the warm glow of finally returning to employment. 

Time for a coffee, pain au chocolate and a listen to my latest podcast.

Usual locations and iTunes

Monday, 10 September 2018

This is not the BBC. Broadcasting to the world.

For many months this year I’ve been podcasting. 

You know that of course because you are an avid listener aren't you? Do you know I have subscribers in the States, Australia, UK and the Ukraine. Admittedly just the one subscriber in the Ukraine and that might just be a mistake. Or are the Russkies interested in me? 

GCHQ if you are reading this I am a loyal British subject and voted Remain. 

My equipment comprises one decent microphone, my Mac + Garageband for recording and editing. BBC it ain’t. I have to re-record every time an emergency vehicle shoots past. Or there’s a knock at the door, or my phone rings, or an email arrives etc etc. Bloody noisy places houses even when you are the only person at home.

I don’t get any feedback from my podcasts but then I'm not doing it for applause, acclamation, compliments from peer groups, gasps of admiration, pats on the back or a stunning income  (which is just as well otherwise I'd have failed in my mission on all accounts). I'm doing it because I want to and I'm trying to share the challenges of finding a job when you are older. Actually I have had some feed back. I'm not being entirely truthful as there have been a number of likes (huzzah). Other than that I am broadcasting into the ether like one of those apocalyptic type movies where the protagonist broadcasts on a shortwave radio to a devastated world and hears only static in reply.

However I have had hundreds of listens around the world so that's good enough for me - unless someone wants to pay me and then that would make my day. Now I want thousands of listens and an income would still be very welcome. Very.

When I was in Uni, so many many years ago now, I’d decided I’d like to be on radio, a Welsh Noel Edmunds, look you. So I volunteered to work on Bronglais Hospital radio in Aberystwyth. This involved asking the sick and poorly, wholly uninterested patients what music they’d like to listen to on the hospital radio (a concept usually a complete surprise to them ’There is one?’ and 'How do I listen to it anyway?') making a note of who they wanted it dedicated to, the ward and carefully writing down their name, Sioned Powysland Caersws from Llangatwg Feibion Afel or anglicised to Llangattock Vibon Avel Crucorny. And they were, to a patient, highly suspicious of a non Welsh speaking Welsh person (that’s me) with quite long hair prowling the wards (still me) asking questions about something they'd never heard of. I'd stand intimidatingly near to their drip, suggesting with my body language that an entirely accidental fall as I walked away from their bedside would result in the catheter being yanked out. No I didn't, I just looked pathetic and used puppy eyes. 

Naturally the hospital record collection contained 95% Welsh folk material on shellac, 4% pop records at least 10 years out of date and three recent pop releases on 45s scratched and sorely misused and donated by the local record shop. So nobody ever got what they wanted. Which I believe was a song by the Rolling Stones. So I’d sit there in the ’studio’ with my list trying to read out the names of the patients, the name of the village (Llanfihangel-yng-ngwynfa was always good for a laugh) and coming up with less than plausible reasons why I couldn’t play the tune they wanted but would play 'Combine Harvester’ by the Wurzels instead. That disc mysteriously broke soon afterwards when it even more mysteriously fell under the castors of my chair. The point of this is that I would be in the studio alone and would be playing the music for several hours and not have a clue whether anyone listened. I think I knew the answer. 

Anyway what my listeners make of my podcasts I dunno. They may use them to help them sleep, have a laugh or can’t find a way to turn them off.

But keep listening anyway - and if you like them then a postcard would be splendid. 

Oh no, not another podcast? Yes. ‘Giving presentations in interviews; how to make sure yours is a success.’

Yet another podcast.

Time to make a coffee and get a croissant. Oh and then, if you've got nothing else on, maybe listen to the podcast. I spend hours and hours making them.

And, of course, on iTunes.

Monday, 3 September 2018

When will I see you again?

So what do you do?

I had an interview a few weeks ago (it's been a fallow year so this was very welcome). I'd almost forgotten what they were like. Interviews that is. And as for wearing a barely fits now I've lost so much weight and I don't think it's acceptable to wear shorts.

This was a different role though. PA to a Director. Not a conventional PA role but one with a wider remit which I thought I could evidence with the appropriate skills. Still not great pay and still a lower graded job but a local and reputable company.

I'd gone through the usual rigmarole. Resume, telephone interview, on-line interview, send in sample of DNA, pass equivalent of NASA astronaut tests, prove I could fly unaided, demonstrate resistance to kryptonite, bring world peace. 

The interview was a one-on-one with the Director. Seemed to go well and had to explain why I was applying for the role given my experience was at a much higher level. Fair question. Explained about the challenges of finding a job in your late 50s and 60s, had enjoyed my time in management but was now looking for a more hands on role where I could commit to a company and use my business skills for some years and so on. Reasonable answer.

Didn't get the job, went to a female. I'm not surprised though. I couldn't see the (male) Director breaking through the stereotype of having an older male PA. There is still a long way to go in dismantling employment stereotypes. However I'm not riding the bitter bus.

The HR person I'd been in contact with rang afterwards, making me feel faint that someone was actually actively prepared to give constructive feedback. They explained that my on-line video interview was very good, my resume showed a huge range of skills and that the interview was excellent. But I still didn't get the job. 

The HR person went on to say that they'd like to keep my CV on file and would contact me if any suitable role came up. The Director was, apparently, anxious to find me a role if at all possible. Close but no cigar then.

The thing is, and here's the thing. You know those people you meet on holiday, get on really well with and say 'We must keep in touch.' And both parties know they don't mean it and never do. In all the years I've been job seeking, successfully or otherwise, where organisations have said 'we will keep your details on file in case because you are truly wonderful (except for this role we have just interviewed you for where you were not as wonderful as we wanted)' not one company has ever come back to me. 
In fact, for one role, a three month contract in the Middle East, I'd been more or less told to go home, pack my case and suntan cream as I'd be leaving any day. Never heard another thing. 
I'm sure, on the day the HR person was being sincere. I'm also reasonably sure the Director was on the Guilt Freeway, accelerating hard and being wonderfully corporate trying to justify his flawed decision.

I try very hard not to be cynical because there is nothing positive about cynicism, it sees no good in the world. I therefore remain highly sceptical I will ever hear from the company again.

If I do then I will immediately recant and let the world know. By the world I mean my blog. Which is the world.