Today is my 3 month anniversary as an unemployed person and 5 month anniversary since returning to life in the UK.

Granted, it’s not really something to be celebrated but looking back on how time has gone past; it has definitely got me thinking.

In these past 5 months, I have moved home to live with my parents, quit a job, done a temporary assignment, broken up with my boyfriend, sent over 400 CV’s and applications, attended 6 interviews, been to Germany, seen my sister get married and I am pretty much in the same place as I was 5 months ago.

Unfortunately, things are not looking to change any time soon. I still haven’t worked out where my life is headed, chances of me getting a job any time soon seems slim and I’m starting to lose momentum in even applying. Everyday, I’m just waiting for the phone to ring – anyone want to hire me? My job search is going south – the same agencies are advertising similar positions and I have already been to register with them and I haven’t received a single call about a job.

I feel like I’m stuck in this house with my parents with no friends who live nearby and nothing to do. I need a new hobby. I need new friends. Suggestions welcome.


Life issues

Yesterday, I found out that my interview in Germany was a success!

I’ve been avoiding calls for a few days now since I got back from Germany. I’m not really sure why, but everytime I saw the phone ring I just let it. I think it was the fact that if I answered the phone and it was a big fat no then it would have been back to the drawing board.

Anyway, the problem is that the training programme they have for the position actually begins on Monday and the HR woman felt that that was a little soon for me since my interview only took place on 6 days ago – the move to Germany, finding a place to live so they have basically put me on hold. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. My sister’s wedding is next Sunday anyway, so it would have been pretty annoying to start a training programme for a week and then fly back and sort of get around it or attempt to take one day off which would have been completely ridiculous. However, the company basically don’t know when they will actually have the next training programme, but they indicated that it might be in May since they need at least 5-10 people for the training programme etc, they are obviously not just going to do another one just for me. So, all in all, I got the job but I haven’t because I have to wait at the least another month or maybe even 2 months but they have indicated that they will get back to me as soon as they know when they will have the training and if I’m still interested in the position then we will go from there. So now, I’m evaluating what to do. I really want to go to Germany and I want this job but I’m bored of sitting around and filling in applications. Plus, if I was thinking about accepting this job in a month or two, then it would be stupid to start work and then stop again. I’ve been thinking about temping again but it seems like this kind of work isn’t readily available or they just don’t have that many temping jobs round where I live. I’ve decided that I might go back to Paris for a while, at least, while I’m waiting because I feel like staying in the UK is sucking the life out of me and I don’t want to work here so what’s the point in applying for a load of jobs I don’t want to do?

Finally, I am also applying for a scholarship to study in Taiwan for a year but I’m not really sure about this one, I would love to learn Chinese but I think I need to give studying a rest now and get some really solid work experience under my belt… Also, I am afraid of what my parents will think… Although, learning Chinese is important to them as it is a part of my history and our heritage, it seems that all they are interested in is getting me into a stable job, earning enough so I can buy a house and pay off a mortgage and basically begin my adult life. But I’m not interested in that, I want to live from country to country, learn new languages, travel, make new friends. I have absolutely no intention of putting a down payment on a house and then being stuck in the UK. I have had some talks with my sister about this as I guess my parents really don’t get it – they project too much hope or my mother has imagined a life for me that I don’t want but I’m still feeling guilty so…

Time will tell.

Interview #5

Yesterday I went to another interview in Buckinghamshire – I got my sister to drive me there and then hang around in the small town for 2 hours while I was interviewing. Haha. I am mean.

The position was for an Intellectual Property Services Coordinator – so basically an administrative assistant in a translation company. The job doesn’t sound terrible exciting but it is 9-5.30 with an hr for lunch, well paid and very close to London; all-in-all, a very cushy job. However, I hated the interview in itself, not because I was nervous. I never get nervous in interviews but because the interviewers had no idea what they were doing. I hate people who don’t have any interview technique whatsoever and just read of the sheet – it was terribly distracting seeing the woman read and check off her piece of paper.

The interview was basically split into 3 parts:

PART 1. 3 exercises

The first exercise was to test how well I could prioritize or manage my time so the personnel woman who was pretty old and spoke extremely quietly lead me to an empty office and spread out 10 documents with an instruction sheet and answer sheet. The instructions told me that I was the Operations Manager of ABC industries – my major clients are Grouchy Enterprises and something else that I can’t remember the name off. I have been off for a week and need to deal with all the emails, messages and voice mails left for me on the Monday morning of my return. So, the documents included – my assistant who has called in sick and has a project that needs to be finished and sent to a client by 11am. A staff meeting at 9.30 with the MD, a new supplier meeting at 11am, a report to deliver to Grouchy Entreprises by 10am and several other issues to do with invoices that were URGENT. I was also given a chart of the company with names of who I worked with so that I could rather – delegate the task and to who, and which order etc. All in all, the exercise took about 20 minutes, and was pretty fun.

The second exercise was a basic filing test matching letters to numbers, a spelling test and a visual accuracy test.

Lastly, I was given an email from a client that required a translation except in the body of the email, the client asked for a translation by the 5th May and into German but in the subject of her email it was a translation into French and the deadline stated 27th June so I was supposed to write a response to the email which took me quite a while because at first I hadn’t noticed the discrepancies between the subject and the body of the email but I figured it out in the end!

PART 2. Interview with Personnel officer – this interview was ridiculously boring. I hate boring interviews, she basically just asked me a couple of questions about my CV off a sheet – “What attracted you to this position?”, “What do you think about our company?”, “When’s the earliest you could start?”, “Where else are you having interviews?”

PART 3. Interview with the managers of the department, two really quite young girls, one of them was German. I think this interview went a little better than the first, it was a lot more relaxed and I had a laugh with the girls because I think they weren’t much older than me but again, they were reading off a sheet of paper and worse making notes of my answers. I don’t mind when people take notes during interviews but I find it so much more interesting when the interview just flows easily and the interviewer seems to know what he/she is doing. All that scribbling just distracted and the questions they asked were the same as the personnel woman except they wanted to know an example of “How I was organised?”  I just made up a load of crap because I didn’t know what to say and probably because I’m not a particularly organised person but I can do admin.

I think things are not looking too positive for this interview as some of more answers weren’t particularly engaging I was too distracted by their crappy interview technique and the manic scribbling. NEXT.

Stupid questions

Another visit to the job centre, another horror story.

I went in today to “sign on”, and I happened to get the woman I first met at the start of my JSA journey back in November. As I walked up to her desk when she called out my name I knew that the experience was going to be excruciating. I sat down and she said immediately to me

Tell me about your job search then, what have you done?

Sure, just have a look at my notes on Universal job match. She scrolls through my job search and comes across a note I made about receiving an email from a agency recruiter telling me that I was “unsuccessful” and that my CV wouldn’t be passed on to their client.

Did you ask for feedback?

Feedback from a recruiter about why they didn’t send my CV across, of course not. If I did that I’d be making a lot of calls.

She looked at me for a second and said I recognise you actually, we’ve met before. You’re the girl that spent a year in France or something. I said yes, I am indeed, I spent five years actually. She then asked me the most ridiculous question:

Is it really that hard to find a job?

Ha, do I have an answer to that question? Well, I’m still here claiming the dole aren’t I so yes it really is that hard. She then suggested to me that I should look into accounts or book-keeping. Why is becoming an accountant always the answer for getting a job? I am not in the slightest bit numerical and I dropped maths as soon as I hit A-levels. She then scrolled over my CV and said

Oh, well you have catering experience – you’ve worked in restaurants, why don’t you just do that?

Urgh… I don’t know, because I don’t really want to be a waitress for the rest of my life. It’s interesting how the job centre staff just want me to get any job – be it cleaner, waitress, factory worker. They don’t care and they wish to make me feel as uncomfortable as possible each visit. Yet, everyday, in the news, we are reading out a benefits lifestyle and benefits Britain. Why aren’t they chasing after those people who actually don’t have any intention of finding work?

Luckily, tomorrow, I have an interview for a translation company so I’m feeling pretty optimistic at the moment and I just spent a good half an hour chatting to the recruiter – so basically being spoon-fed some answers for the interview tomorrow. Apparently, it will last about two hours – a traditional interview and then three practical exercises – answering an email to one of the “clients”, e-tray exercise prioritizing tasks for a typical work day and a spelling test.

Then, next week, I’m going to Germany next week for another interview. I can’t wait to get out of this rut.

Ups and downs

Back to unemployment.

I’m not feeling too badly about that – I’m mainly quite irritated or confused because I broke up with my boyfriend. I suppose it was expected – long distance relationships cannot work without communication and he wasn’t willing to put in the effort in the end. So we broke up and I honestly haven’t even cried which is kind of strange and unexpected. I suppose we didn’t go out for that long and it was a long distance relationship so I didn’t have time to get so attached. I actually feel kind of relieved and like a weight has lifted but my thoughts do drift towards him.

However, I’m glad that I’m not doing the temporary position anymore because I’d be thinking about him even more. Today, was actually a pretty good day. Since my sister has come back from New York to prepare for her wedding, I’m feeling less bored at home and we actually went swimming today. And then, I came home to the surprise of an email confirmation of an interview in Germany – I’m off to Germany in 2 weeks! I’m excited and kind of afraid as it’s in the middle of nowhere – well, the city is called Gütersloh. I will have to fly to a larger city like Dusseldorf and then find my way there by train. I’m pretty excited, not really about the job because it’s an English speaking customer services position and that’s not exactly what I aspire to become, however, the chance to live in Germany is something that I cannot really turn down right now. I really want to learn German again and I think that the best way is to live in the country and immerse myself in the culture.

On top of the interview in Germany, I was informed that I have also a second interview for a translation company but in Buckinghamshire. This one could be interesting because it is in the translation field which is definitely what I want to get into but this is a customer services position but at least its a start. I originally found the position on a multilingual job board and applied – the agency immediately got back to me and sent my CV over to the company but it turns out that I had already applied to the same company back in January for another position so the company contacted the first recruitment agency and they started calling me non-stop today even though I hadn’t heard anything from them last few months but the last conversation I had with her – she had said that she would keep in touch. Recruitment consultants call and hound when they need you and then they drop off the face of the earth – not exactly the “rapport building” that they are always talking about.

I’m feeling pretty optimistic now about work life, it’s a shame that my personal life has gone down the pan but I guess that relationship would have never worked out anyway – we never discussed the future, or even when we would possibly live in the same city… And I think the saying is right that even the busiest person always has time for you, if they really care. And he clearly didn’t so good riddance…

Interview feedback

Number of CV’s sent today: 11

Number of interviews: 0

I’m pretty pissed off to say the least. Today, I got myself ready for an interview. An hr and a half drive down to London and then another hour on the bus into Central London and for what, for yet again another useless meeting with a Recruitment agency except apparently this wasn’t a Recruitment agency.. No, they call themselves a management service i.e they work like Recruitment consultants who deal with temporary assignments, they send out their candidates to other companies to work but they are the ones that sort out all the pays and the “holidays”.

I spent an exact 30 minutes of what 15 minutes was waiting for the non-recruitment consultant lady to see me. The “interview” consisted of her asking me of exactly the same questions she asked me on the phone and coincidentally all the questions that you get asked by Recruitment Consultants. “So tell me exactly what are you looking for?”, “What is your current salary?”, “What are your salary expectations?”, “Where would you like to work?”, “Do you have a notice period?”, “How long?” and the most important question of all “Where have you been to interviews recently?”
Be aware of this question, Recruitment Consultants don’t care about you and where you have been to interviews or finding something that would suit you. This is an essential question for them because they want to find a new lead. By asking you where you have been to interviews is what is called an open question so it isn’t a yes/no answer. They want to know where you have been to interviews for a hot lead.
Anyway, back to my story, the girl preceded to tell me about how their “management service” worked and said that she would try to match me up to jobs and then asked me if I had any holidays booked and then I was practically free to go. Well, great, a waste of time, bus fare and petrol.
To get to the title of this post. Interview feedback, I went to an interview last week for a Recruitment Consultant position – Yes, I know, its ironic. I didn’t actually apply for the position, it turns out that when you apply through indeed there is a secret small print or checkbox that saves your CV and allows it to become searchable by recruiters. So, last Monday, I received an unexpected email from a nice chap called Mark who said he worked for xxx Resourcing and was currently looking for Recruitment Consultants for his Oil & Gas team and was very interested in speaking with me after having seen my CV on Indeed. Being the curious bunny that I am, I decided to hear him out. So I received a call from his MD first of all and he explained a little bit about the company etc and he told me that I had a great telephone manner and he thought I’d be great and that I should have a telephone interview next with the previously mentioned Mark. So, Mark gave me a call and tried to test me with all those competency questions that they like to ask nowadays “give me an example of blah blah” whatever. Anyway, turns out that he was also impressed by my immaculate telephone manner (haha) and invited me in for a face to face interview and told me that he would send me a confirmation email – this is on Friday. He never sent me anything so on Monday I decided to chase it up and he finally sent it through and apolygized for his tardiness.
Come Wednesday, we meet, apparently the office is super casual and I am kind of overdressed but not in the bad way, the interview proceeded with the usual “tell me about yourself”, “why do you want to work in Recruitment” yadayada.
Then, there was the test – he gave me a job spec with 3 CV’s and asked me to pick out the best one and why, and the duff one and why. I passed easily. I met the MD and then came question time – Easy stuff, I always have plenty of questions up my sleeve. Finally, he told me, ok so I will call you on Friday for a follow-up.
HE NEVER CALLED until TODAY. 3 days after he was supposed to call. So when he finally called today, he asked me how I felt about working for xxx Resourcing and I told him that to be perfectly honest I wasn’t convinced and I thought that it was best that I went to some more interviews in order to fully appreciate the offer because I didn’t want to end up in another situation like the previous where I had to quit.
He, then, informed me that that was fine and that I could call him at a later date, but he was really looking for people that were chasing after him – hence the giving interview 3 days LATE. Funnily, I felt exactly the same way – if he had been actually interested in me, then he should have called me on the promised Friday. I actually thought the interview was great with the casual office and start up feel, but then I realised that with the late email and the tardy feedback response – it was a manipulation game! He wanted me to chase after the job opportunity whilst I was waiting for him to convince me that his company was the right one.
All in all – the lesson is still – don’t accept any job that you don’t feel fully comfortable. I certainly won’t be calling him to beg him for the job. It’s like a game of cat and mouse!