I have just left an interview for a part-time position as a customer service assistant at a well-known supermarket chain.
I haven’t been to a job interview for years. I have been out of the job market since 2013, a carer for a family member that has an illness that requires a helping hand.
As a 33-year-old, I have no shame in telling you that I am starting from the bottom of the ladder. Of course, I am a graduate, I have taught at post 16 level and I have experience in higher fields. But with nearly six years out of the game, all that experience counts for nothing. Things have moved on, heck I have moved on too. I need a change of scenery and hopefully, if I am successful this job will supply that.
I am not counting my chickens though. The interview went as well as can be expected, but you never know. I do not know who I am competing with if there any wunderkinder that are the Lionel Messi equivalent of customer service assistants. And although I rate myself to do a job at this company, I can not compete with that level of skill in any field.
I asked for some advice from friends and family, everybody seems to know the script. Print off your CV and give it to them, wear this, don’t wear that, say this, say that, my mind was crammed with a lot of advice which when I think about it was pointless.
My Nan, who is wiser than she lets on, gave me a golden nugget of advice, not just for this interview, but for life in general. She said: “Just be yourself, lad. Use your manners and be yourself.” Many of you may be thinking that this is useless advice, I am always myself and I am always polite. But we can find ourselves putting on an act at times, one that can come across as disingenuous.
I think that more often than not the best advice can be the most simple. By telling me to be myself and to use my manners my Nan is subconsciously telling me that I have value, that I am worthy of this position. She is telling me to focus on the small details that may be the next candidate isn’t.
Interviews are tricky because you have a small window of time to tell a stranger who you are. I am quite a shy person, especially with people I do not know and am unfamiliar with. I find the interview process a stressful one, am I going to say the wrong thing? Am I going to look like a complete idiot? Of course, I am not going to get hired, there will be plenty of people better than this job than me.
But I can not think like that, use your manners and be yourself. Show them who you are with your actions not with words. Hold a door open, say please and thank you, it goes a long way to telling someone how you were brought up.
In the customer service sector, maybe, just maybe these qualities are what they are looking for.
You know what? My Nan is right. Don’t tell her though, it will go to her head
Till the next reboot…