One key part of the process of finding a new job, following on from me being made redundant by HPE, is going for interviews. I’m going to hold off from commenting on anything current, but there are a couple of historical interview stories worth relaying.
The tale of the disappointed candidate
I remember my dad sharing this with me. At the end of an interview with a potential new employee for my dad’s business, if the interview went well, my dad would say:
“I don’t want you to work for me.”
Cue disappointed candidate.
“No, I want you to work with me!”
Cue relieved employee.
You can be assured that exchange made an impact. It was a sharp way of making the important distinction that could be so crucial to having a successful working relationship.
The tale of the long interview journey
One of the interviews I had for a legal apprenticeship stands out. The back story is important.
As I did not have a place after graduating, I went to volunteer on a kibbutz in Israel. I had sent out many letters to law firms looking for an apprenticeship, and had only a handful of replies, all unsuccessful. Two months later, I was offered an interview with a well established firm in Edinburgh. I cannot remember how I found out about it – probably from one of my weekly calls home – but I clearly remember the rush. I had to arrange my flight home, and get back from London to Glasgow, and then on to Edinburgh.
The way things turned out, I arrived back in Heathrow, rushed to catch the overnight train from Euston to Glasgow, and then spent a difficult few hours trying to get some sleep in a regular train seat. I got home, had time for a quick bath, got changed into my interview suit, caught the bus into town, then the train to Edinburgh. In short, more rushing.
I arrived at the law firm’s office a couple of minutes before the appointment time. Whew! I paused to collect my breath and recover. I had made it. Now, all I had to do was impress them at the interview.
After some time, the receptionist told me to go through to an interview room where the partner was waiting for me. We exchanged greetings and a handshake, and I sat down opposite him as he opened up a folder with, presumably, my CV and details. I doubt I will ever forget the next words he spoke to me:
“So, you’re Jewish are you.”
I knew I wasn’t going to get that job.
I can look back on it no with more than a wry smile. Part of me still regrets that I wasn’t more aggressive in responding, but this was a new situation, a new environment, and I was unsure of the correct approach. Especially after all I had gone through to get to the bloody interview, I was disappointed and angry, but I said nothing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the last time I came across antisemitism in the legal profession, so the experience was beneficial in some regard. I did learn from it. Part of life’s rich tapestry.