First interview in 3+ years: some reflections

I recently attended an interview at a local College for a Library Manager position and I’ve been meaning to reflect on the experience for some time. It was an ambitious step up from where I am now in my career, I admit it. BUT I don’t see anything wrong with aiming high and it would have been a good next step.

My boyfriend was honest with me and he had some reservations about the job;
1. Management is hard.
2. I have little management experience.

Fair reservations to have and I appreciated the honesty but I still went for it and he supported my decision. I’ve had my fair share of job interviews and most of them have gone well (apart from the time I went to an interview for an account manager position at a logistics company… I don’t even know what logistics is/are?)

I spent a hell of a lot of time preparing my application. I worked on it over the course of a working week and I worked on it solidly over a weekend. By now I am pretty strong when it comes to writing job applications but I was still pleasantly surprised when they invited me for an interview.

I haven’t had a job interview in over 3 years now and I was nervous! I am pretty sure I could manage a Library… but I did have some doubts about my ability to do the people management bit… people are amazing, but also hard work and I would be responsible for 10 of them. I prepped hard – I spent a whole evening with my mum and boyfriend who were so supportive it’s unreal! They took me through mock interviews and gave me useful feedback. I got in touch with colleagues to ask for advice and information about the role and they were more than happy to help.

The interview went OK. I had to prepare a 10 minute presentation but they did not tell me what it was on until I got to the interview. I had 20 minutes to prepare it. They asked me what my top 3 priorities as Library Manager would be if I was successful. I presented it and then had a 1-hour interview with a panel of 3. I could have answered some things better but I was satisfied with my effort. After my interview, I was told that I would meet the team and go for a tour of the College. I thought I could relax… I was wrong!

The “meet the team” bit was actually a second, surprise interview which I was not prepared for at all. There were four team members who I would potentially be managing waiting for me in a little room. They had pieces of paper with additional questions on for me. Upon reflection, I probably should have talked more about myself, my experiences etc., but in the moment, I thought I would make it more about them. Literally, all I said was my name and that I currently worked in a College….. I’d like to know more about who you all are and your job roles… Something along those lines.

I left feeling like I was in over my head. The idea of management and the concept of it, I’m cool with. Coming face to face with the people I’d be responsible for scared me. I know how big of a responsibility it is. A manager can directly impact on how much you love or hate your job. I am probably not ready to manage such a big team and it’s fair that I did not get the job. What is not fair, is the College making zero effort to tell me this. I still haven’t heard back from them… After being told they would be in touch between 24/28 hours, I phoned after about a week to follow up and all I got was “sorry, thought I’d sent the regret emails. I will send something in writing”. Still nothing…

I spent at least 10 hours preparing, I took time off work, I lost sleep because of interview anxiety in the days leading up to it. I was serious about it. Am I naive to be a little bit hurt by their actions? I was tempted to name and shame but I’m finally over it – job hunting is hard, some places just suck at communication and I am not going to take it personally. All I can say is that if this is the way the organisation behaves towards potential employees, I dread to think how they treat their staff. In a way, I think I dodged a bullet. On a positive note;

  • I’ve gained valuable interview experience.
  • I’ve reflected on my skills and my abilities – I know my strengths and weaknesses.
  • My CV is up-to-date.
  • I have an amazing support network – thank you to my colleagues, friends and family for supporting me.
  • I had a morning off work.
  • I am still in the market for the “perfect job” and this certainly wasn’t “the one”.
  • I am excited for the future

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

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