I have experience. I have skills. I have qualifications.
But what I don’t have, right now, is a job.
Well, that’s not quite true. I do have a job – I’m a director of a limited company. But it’s a limited company that I run with my husband (you know, the one who walked away from the marriage three months ago). As far as career progression is concerned, I’m stuffed.
Many years ago (pre-kids) I had a good job with a major insurance broker. But here’s the thing – it was a while ago. We had computers – but we didn’t have emails. I’ll say that again. It was Before Emails. I did all of that work without sending a single email. I had a typist, and all my letters were dictated, and then typed on an actual typewriter. I remember the very first email we received in the office. It wasn’t even called an email – it was an electronic mail. We all gathered around the boss’s computer screen to look at it. Can you believe that? It’s hard even for me to believe it – and I was there.
So when I came across a job with DLG (the people who run Direct Line, Churchill and Green Flag, amongst others), half of me thought ‘I can do that’ – after all, the basic principles of insurance haven’t changed. The other half of me thought ‘I can’t do that’ – after all, things have changed beyond all recognition since I last worked in the industry.
To cut a long story short, I got an interview. Yay!! Go me!!
However – the interview was a recorded one that I needed to do ‘at a place and time that suited me’. I followed all the instructions, I made sure there would be no interruptions, I was dressed appropriately.
There was a big build up – a technical check of the equipment, a practice question that you could play back to yourself. Jeez, you feel foolish talking to yourself in an empty room – and who the hell is that strange-looking woman? And why does she sound funny?
And then the interview began. The first question required a written answer, which threw me as I was expecting it to be a video – compounded by the fact that it said ‘Recording’ at the bottom of the screen. Right now I can’t remember either the question or my answer. Second question – also written. I think question 6 was recorded – a few extra instructions thrown at me about what to do if there was a problem. Hard to answer the question without watching yourself answering, and thinking ‘Smile more’ and ‘You look like your mother’.
Halfway through my answer a message popped up to say the session had been interrupted, and I noticed that there was a chat button at the bottom of the page for technical help – so I hit it and explained that it wasn’t me who had interrupted. Didn’t get a reply (after 3 minutes). The whole video thing was still recording, so I continued to try to answer – but with so many other things going on (waiting for chat to respond, not knowing if the video was actually recording, wondering if it would be interrupted again, noticing that my mouth looks funny and wondering if I’d had a stroke…) that I decided that there was no point in continuing.
It was a catastrophe. It left me feeling the least confident I’ve ever felt in my life. I decided they probably aren’t looking for people like me. I guess the selfie-generation are used to it, but I’m not. In the past, when interviews involved going to an actual place and talking to actual people, I performed pretty well – even if I didn’t get the job, I still felt I’d made a good fist of it. I need to get myself back to that position – but at the moment I’m experiencing technical difficulties.
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