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Who can say??

13 February 2006

Last week I went for a job interview. I thought the interview went really well, even though I realised I did not know an awful lot of agriculture and policies (I was applying for an agricultural organisation). They had told me there would be a test at the end of the interview and I was really nervous about that. I hate it when I do not know what to expect. Makes it hard to prepare.

So the interview went well, I explained why I wanted the job and I explained that I had an interest in agriculture but that I did indeed not have detailed experience within that industry. Fair enough, since my CV made that fact blatantly obvious, so why lie about it?

Then came the test. I had to write a mock press release. About the government’s target to reduce the amount of peat consumed by 90% by 2010 (Hello, are you still with me??). They gave me some basic facts about peat and how the organisation values it etc. etc.

I had 45 minutes to write the press release. Trouble was: I did not know what Peat was. My English is very good but there simply are words I have never come across. Not a problem, I thought. I will just Google and check. No internet. I will just use the Word Thesaurus to see if my guess is right. Darn, no thesaurus. Well, I will just use Word’s translation in to French or German to see if the translations ring a bell. Bugger: No translation found.

How do you write a press release about peat when you don’t know for sure what peat is???? So I kept it as vague as possible, certain that I had lost the job. I stressed, rushed it, started sweating and getting depressed. A chance of a good job ruined because I could not look up the single most important word of it all. I had an idea of what it was alright but if there is something important on the line, I can hardly guess and take the risk I look like an idiot for making a wrong assumption.

So I left feeling very down, sure I had blown it.

And then this morning I got a call. I did not get the job as they had picked someone with more experience in the agricultural sector. Fair enough. I expected that. But the lady said that she called me to say that my press release exercise had blown her away. It was perfect. It had everything in it and the writing style was perfect, hit the right notes and so on and so on so could they please keep my details on file in case a similar job came along in the future. (I assume something a little less senior as this was going to pay 25 grand a year).

So I was left wondering if we can ever really tell what they are after when they interview you. I really thought I had blown it. And yet they thought it was fabulous. I don’t think I ever felt happy after just having been told I did NOT get a job. But it made my day.

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