The big interview

The ‘big’ interview was today. It was a ‘big cheese’ at this prestigious global firm in one of the smartest (and I actually think, nicest) locations in Central London.

I wasn’t in a great place (mentally) by the time I got there. Not ‘nerves’ as such. I think I’m old enough not to get nervous about such things in the normal sense. Sure, there is trepidation and an adrenaline rush – but not the bowel-churning sickening nervousness that one had when one was younger – such as when going for a first driving test! Or going for the first job interview (even when it was for the most menial of roles).

No – my ‘state’ came about because I felt out of my depth; like I was a fraud that shouldn’t be there. This super swanky office, this ‘big cheese’. I just… I don’t know. I’d pretty much talked myself out of the job by the time I’d got there. “They’ll see straight through me” is what I was thinking.

He was running 20 minutes late for the ‘meeting’ (they don’t call it an interview) and I found him rather hard to connect with at first. The initial 5-10 minutes were fairly challenging. I think his opening line was “What do you need from me and what can I tell you?” And there was me thinking he was going to be asking the questions. The reason for this is because these firms have crazy – and I mean crazy – selection processes. Between 8-10 interviews is considered normal. He was my number ‘2’ – but he is a critical gatekeeper and decision maker. Possibly he thought that I was further along in the process then I actually am.

And as so often happens when I meet Very Senior People – I found him perfectly fine. I calmed down, got into my stride – he laughed, I laughed – I asked lots of sensible questions. He dialled for his secretary to bring some papers in to show me something he was proud of. He was quite charming (high up ex-military, you know the type).

Historic feelings of ‘not being good enough’ have dogged me for a long time – including in the last job – even though I had consistently good feedback during the bi-annual appraisal process. I need a therapist to get over these blockers and hopefully one day I will. But it had gone well. Much better than I’d thought it would. I came away having my self-esteem restored. I am good enough to work in a role and a firm of that calibre.

My main contact (she also works there, they don’t use recruitment companies, my whole candidature came via word of mouth – I’d been recommended by someone in my network who knows the firm) – called me this afternoon for feedback and I said it had gone well. She’s now getting feedback from the guy I saw and we’ll take it from there. If things keep moving forward – further interviews will see me going to Paris, Frankfurt and Milan to have ‘meetings’ with the respective country heads there.

The big issue, of course, is that I have Job #2 also moving forward (I’m still awaiting feedback) and they are unlikely to want to play long-term second fiddle. Job #1 (today) could take another month to reach fruition. This could leave me in an awkward limbo-like place.

Interesting times.

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