September 7, 2008

What interviews are supposed to be all about

So I dashed into London on Friday (2008-05-09) for an interview with no specific job specification. The night before I found myself in a complete state, having been sent an 11 page dos and don’ts document by the agency …

To cut to the chase, it was fantastic. I didn’t honestly believe there was such a thing as a “good interview” but this one was amazing. I really enjoyed the company of the interviewers, and they didn’t all pounce on me at once. All in all, I saw 3 people, but one at a time, so I got an opportunity to ramp up. What was supposed to be a 60-90 minute interview kept going for a good 2 hours but I didn’t notice that time disappear.

Do I think I’ll be offered a position? I would be a little surprised if I was.

The post is not development work. These guys don’t do new features, they do integration onto hardware. So much of my time would be spent doing bug fixes and getting things working on new hardware. When asked where I saw myself in 3-5 years, I responded with (paraphrased): “I’d like to be a software engineer, I can’t say that I am yet, but I’d like to”. Translating that into corporate-speak provides me with a distinct worry that I came off as wanting their training but had no desire to stick with them for any duration …

What I should have said, with hindsight, was that I would like to develop my technical abilities with the intention of moving into a team leadership role. I enjoy working with people and I can honestly see myself in that sort of position.

According to my CV, I’ve done a lot of exciting work, and I was told that one of my interviewers was worried that I would like to do more exciting work and that this position and this whole department didn’t do such work.

While I’ve not dwelt on it much, I was asked what sort of salary expectations I had. The conversation was derailed pretty quickly before I got a chance to really respond, but my knee-jerk was “I hadn’t really thought about it” which while sort of true, is basically a lie. I’d expect something less than I’m on at the moment for a graduate-ish position, while at the same time, centre of London would be a bump up a bit.

I need to calculate the cost of the commute and see what sort of money that is, then add that on to what I’m currently on.

I don’t really want to do any more interviews now, but next interview is 11th September, so I should start stressing over that one now.

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