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General Chat Thread, Interviews in General; Having sat on the both sides of the table during interviews in school, when I was seeking a job as ...
  1. #16

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    Re: Interviews

    Having sat on the both sides of the table during interviews in school, when I was seeking a job as a Network Manager and also recruiting as a Governor & line manager I have seen many candidates offered jobs where the decision is made based on the responses to quite vague questions that try to establish if a candidate will fit in, especially where there are multiple candidates who meet the person spec as far as technical skills are concerned.

    We interviewed for a technician recently, one of the questions asked of all candidates was "Why do you want to work here, & what can you bring to our school?" There were some interesting responses, but the one that sticks in my mind was the quite truthful but 'killer' response..... because my partner is relocating to your area and I want a job close to her. While an honest response, it did not go down well and ultimately led to the post being offered to someone else. This same candidate did himself no favours by responding to another question "what will you find most challenging about the job" .... to respond "understanding the local accents"

    I think being open and honest has to be tempered with the question you have to ask yourself..... what do they want me to say?

    As a matter of interest, when the job offer was made the successful candidate accepted provisionally, subject to seeing the T&C in writing. This caused a flutter as it was not expected and it took a fews days to post out the offer letter..... but it is undoubtedly a good ploy if you need some thinking time before committing in writing.

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    Re: Interviews

    I think those of us who been in this for a while fully understand that when choices are, there is consideration of whether or not that person will fit in the organisation. This happens in any industry but when you get turned down not because you werent capable but they felt you wouldnt 'fit in' kinda makes it worse. I have a friend who has never (yes never) failed at an interview and been offered the job every time. He even went for a job that he was completely under qualified for (on paper) and still got the job offer. I almost want his 100% record to be broken :twisted:

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    Re: Interviews

    The thing i have learned from Interviews is that honesty does not pay at all.

    That is not to say that i have lied to get my job its just to say that people want a specific answer which may not be accurate.

    for example, i went for a well paid primary school "IT Specialist" job in Leicester and the question they asked me which i got "wrong" was,
    "What area of IT would you say you specialise in?"
    Well funnily enough i told them the truth, i don't specialise in any one particular area as i am an all rounder and don't believe there is anything i cant do very well with IT which by any means makes me an IT Specialist!
    Well no apparently not, they wanted me to say i was good at Server administration or networking what a joke if they wanted a server specialist then advertise for one, not an IT specialist.

    Quote Originally Posted by WITCH
    I am very unhappy that I was penalised for this - How can you make a snap decision like that? obviously sometimes you know the job is 100% right or 100% wrong, but the rest of the time you need to mull over what you have been told and come to an informed decision
    Apparently not
    Witch, again, i think a lie is by all means acceptable here, if they ask you are you going to accept the job if offered then you always say Yes. Why? Well because some people go to interviews to get a pay rise and so the interviewer may think thats all your after. If they then offer you the job all you have to say is that you provisionally accept the job and will wait for the offer in writing this will give you a few days to mull it over before signing and accepting the post.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattx
    I only got feedback from the head who I met briefly before the interview.
    Not sure about you, but before interviews I have had in the past I am usually kaking myself which is no bad thing as it keeps you on your toes and does not make you overly confident....
    Under confidence is a problem also, i have been for interviews where i have not been overly confident and have tried to show the interviewer that i can do the job but sometimes it does not come across that way, i have personally found that going into a room with lots of confidence helps me no end i am able to answer questions more easily now i have great confidence in my own ability, and since leaving my last job at an insurance company, knowing my self worth which is most important.

    Thanks

    Matt

  4. #19

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    Re: Interviews

    Mattx: you seem to be having a bit of a 'go' at me - don't know why
    The feedback I got WAS from the head and it was made clear that it was all there was
    All I meant about being a consultant was that I have been trained to interview and also trained to teach people how to behave in interviews, and even then I got it wrong.
    I wasnt 'over confident' if that is what you are suggesting - merely professional and concise. Underconfidence is more of a problem, and the fact that the people interviewing have no training or idea how to do it - Ihave been involved in training some of the staff at the school at which I am governor, as they didnt know how to ask the simplest questions.

    broc: I was asked all those questions and I know how to answer those (see above)! That wasn't the issue, I dont think. But you are right, I should have lied! Will next time.
    There version of that question was: "you have said that it seems a happy school - what would you bring to school that would fit in with this?"Obviously I said I was a miserable git!!
    There were very few questions about my technical competence so it was definitely about how I would fit in. I did ask the current tech what the teachers were like and it has to be said that he wasnt THAT positive.
    So maybe I am better off out of it.
    Oh yes, I looked back and it is three interviews, not four - I was offered one and turned it down!

  5. #20

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    Re: Interviews

    Mattx: you seem to be having a bit of a 'go' at me - don't know why
    Sorry if that sounded like it did, but I'm not having a go !! Anything but.
    I was a little confused as to when you got your feedback as your original posting sounded like you spoke to the head before the interview...

  6. #21
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    Re: Interviews

    Quote Originally Posted by WITCH
    I have just been for interview at a local Middle School - I was up against someone with less experience than me and no knowledge of the network management system - and I didnt get the job :cry:

    The head told me that it may have been because when asked if I would take the job if offered it, I said that I was very interested but would have to go away and think it over. I did make it VERY clear that I was keen though. At the end of the interview I reiterated that I was keen and made it very clear that I was worried that I would be frozen out of the job because I wasn't prepared to make a snap decision - I was reassured that this was not the case (hah!)

    I am very unhappy that I was penalised for this - How can you make a snap decision like that? obviously sometimes you know the job is 100% right or 100% wrong, but the rest of the time you need to mull over what you have been told and come to an informed decision
    Apparently not
    I was also asked questions about how I cope with the fact that I work in one middle school whilst I am a governor of a competing middle school in the same pyramid - how do I deal with people asking my opinions of the schools? Not in the least relevant, I would have said.
    I am very very p***ed off
    My current boss (of a part time job I would keep as well) even faxed over my reference as she only got the email asking for references 40 mins before the interview and I would have thought that would show that I am a worthwhile employee
    Oh well
    Rant over
    I think it's important to make all the right noises during the interview right up until the end. Decisions on salary and whether you'll actually take the job can be made after you leave the interview room. If you've been asked whether you're still keen on the job but you've got issues get reassurance/explanation on things you've discovered that concern you about the position there and then (this will have come up during the interview from the questions you've asked them) before you answer honestly.

    If you've been put off completely by the job during interview there's nothing wrong with what you've said or to explain your apprehensions.

    But all that tends to do is give the interviewers less confidence in your suitability (note not your ability).

    Too many people who'd make otherwise good managers have absolutely no clue how to conduct an interview so they will ask wrong, pointless questions and invariably hire the wrong candidate. All you can do is make sure you're the person who ticks all their boxes. The good thing is you know where you came unstuck and you can do something about that in your next interview.

    I had a similar tricky question before interview - they were shortlisting for a very well paid NM position. One of the requirements was an IT-related honours degree I received a phonecall as they needed me to confirm my degree (i just about scraped a pass no hons). Suffice to say they didn't call me for interview because competition was so fierce my degree from years ago was the determining factor because in other areas I could have held my own with anyone - experience, skills, interview ability.

    What did i learn ? That stipulating for a certain degree mark does not guarantee a good candidate as I'm sure they'll find out. But also, I should have highlighted my experience in lieu of the right degree during that telephone conversation. They might have changed their mind if I could convince them - tell them what they want to hear don't be indecisive..i was re the degree that's maybe why they didn't call back.

  7. #22
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    Re: Interviews

    Quote Originally Posted by mattx
    Did you ask for feedback during your interview just in case you were not offered the job ? I would contact the people who interviewed you if not and ask for it - it won't hurt.
    I remember going for an interview at a college at the end of my second year at Uni. I'd already landed a great job at a bigger organisation that I was really excited about - but this job paid more and was closer to home, and seemed to be less pressurised. I knew I had came second or third because of my lack of experience. The interview went okay, I was still nervous, but my lack of exprience showed.

    After the interview I got a call saying I hadn't got the job...but after a few hours of indecision after the interview I knew I wasn't bothered whether I got it or not because what I had been already guaranteed was a much more valuable start to my career. So when the interviewer phoned, told me the news and asked whether I wanted to know why i hadn't got it i just said .....no, thanks. And she seemed a bit taken aback a few seconds of silence before she spoke to wish me luck. IT's great being in that position.
    Not giving a shit.

  8. #23

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    Re: Interviews

    Not giving a shit.
    Like you said, not giving a shit is fine and dandy if you are in that position.

    Asking for feedback certainly helped me in my current job, - I had been made redundant in my last job because of a take over. After being in the role for almost 15 years and having 2 young kids and a wife to feed I did give a shit as to how my interview skills were !! The first job I applied for I got down to the last two, I got the feedback I asked for and applied that in the next interview...I got the job after a test, and an interview with the NM, the NM at a linked school, the bursar and the head master - a nice 3.5 hour experience !!

  9. #24
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    Re: Interviews

    Quote Originally Posted by mattx
    Not giving a shit.
    Like you said, not giving a shit is fine and dandy if you are in that position.

    Asking for feedback certainly helped me in my current job, - I had been made redundant in my last job because of a take over. After being in the role for almost 15 years and having 2 young kids and a wife to feed I did give a shit as to how my interview skills were !! The first job I applied for I got down to the last two, I got the feedback I asked for and applied that in the next interview...I got the job after a test, and an interview with the NM, the NM at a linked school, the bursar and the head master - a nice 3.5 hour experience !!
    wowwwww there tiger.

    I was relating an exprience i had, an anectode if you like regarding the pressures of interview.

    I don't go round 'not giving a shit' generally or in the majority of interviews i've had. I can honestly say that I'm good at interviews, can correct mistakes often without requiring feedback - although i agree feedback is useful. And I have a very good success rate the last few years as I've not gone more than two meaningful interviews without landing the job I wanted. I've been lucky as a lot of people are fortunate if they they land a job after the 9th or 10th interview.

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    Re: Interviews

    Hi Witch, sorry to hear you didnt get the job but from what ive heard now it was pretty much a forgone conclusion. Probably a case of Head teachers scratching each others backs. So don't take it personally cause I had a friend who was interested in the job aswell and he didn't even get an interview.

    Best of luck on the next one.

  11. #26

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    Re: Interviews

    I have been knocked back from 2 jobs recently (didn't even make the interview list) due to not having a first degree or a plethora of trade qualifications.

    I accept this as a hazard of the job and any interviews I have attended I always stress my keeness and ability to adapt to the needs of the school / college / company.

    When asked about if I would accept I always say 'yes, barring any contractual commitments' ... and this is a nice escape clause that allows me to turn round and say that I can't accept it at this time as my present contract requires me to complete project A or B.

    I only do this because a few places I have been to ... once I have been round I have been put off the job or realise that it is not as good at what I was doing / am doing.

    An interview is a two-way thing ... it is also a chance for you to work out if you really want to work there.

  12. #27

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    Re: Interviews

    An interview is a two-way thing ... it is also a chance for you to work out if you really want to work there.
    Good point, I went for a job once and before the main interview had a tour of the school - I got the low down of all the problems they had and boy the place was in a mess !! Needless to say even after getting down to the last two I was not going to accept if they offered it to me.
    Also I asked lots of questions and because they had no one technical on the interviewing panel they were not able to answer many of them - not their fault of course, they were looking for a NM !!

  13. #28

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    Re: Interviews

    @Witch:

    I went for a position at a school not far from me due to some misunderstandings at my present school about 2 years ago. I was short-listed and at the interviews I knew that the position was mine, however I learnt from the NM that was leaving that it was clear cut until his headteacher had called our school for a reference and the long and short of it was I was underhandedly given a reference which did not fill my worth and so the job was offered to another person who then turned it down.

    Well you may think that they would have been immediately on the phone as the headteacher had told me after the interviews that he and the ICT co-ordinator could definitely work with me and would it be alright if he got in touch with me over the weekend. I naturally said yes but didn't wait in all weekend for a call but remained in the house the best part due to other commitments.

    Did he ring "No" not at all and did he ring during the week "No" in fact he didn't ring at all and the best part was that the school readvertised due to the post not being filled. So i decided to wait a week and then get back in touch with the headteacher first thing in the morning which I did and put him on the spot by asking him if it was worthwhile re applying for the post he couldn't say no as this would have been legal suicide on his behalf. Anyway I re applied and waited but never even got short-listed or a reply sent out and to cap it all they gave the job to an eighteen year old who was on the sick from another school just up the road a ways who had only downloaded the application form from the schools website on the deadline evening and resubmitted it after the deadline.

    So Witch the moral is you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't please all of them all of the time. Sorry you didn't get the job. but have a good weekend.

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    Re: Interviews

    Being honest is good but does work against you.

    I went for a interview and i wanted the job, the interviews seemed to like me but yet i think they were unsure about what i wanted.
    infact one of their questions was.

    "So what do you want ?? "

    that was after they had said told me that they were impressed with my CV and my attitude and they like i was very honest. Now how can you answer that honestly.

    I want to work hard, get promoted quite afew time earn lots of money so i can retire early.

    I wish i had said that , i did get the job anyway. The feedback i got was i had a excellent interview but there was 2 people with stronger CV's then me.

    but hey i think there is going to be a good job there soon.

  15. #30
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    Re: Interviews

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
    I have been knocked back from 2 jobs recently (didn't even make the interview list) due to not having a first degree or a plethora of trade qualifications.

    I accept this as a hazard of the job and any interviews I have attended I always stress my keeness and ability to adapt to the needs of the school / college / company.

    When asked about if I would accept I always say 'yes, barring any contractual commitments' ... and this is a nice escape clause that allows me to turn round and say that I can't accept it at this time as my present contract requires me to complete project A or B.

    I only do this because a few places I have been to ... once I have been round I have been put off the job or realise that it is not as good at what I was doing / am doing.

    An interview is a two-way thing ... it is also a chance for you to work out if you really want to work there.
    I think the person specifications are always a bone of contention. Sure, if you're a SAP consultancy you want the brightest graduates with 1st class honours and little or no experience (so that you can indoctrinate them into the evil ways of SAP contracting). But the trouble is for most jobs the only reason degree requirements are there is becuase the people managing recruitment haven't got a clue what the job entails and b) its a way to easily whittle away candidates. Often the best candidates are discounted during this process so it's very hit and miss. As for professional qualifications, the only ones that are worth the paper they're written on are the various CCIE tracks. And CCIE holders are what ? 0.1 % of all IT proffesionals

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