I did a lot of preparation for the interview before I left for Dundee. I always research the company’s website and try to get as much information about the company as possible. I followed a ‘Job Search’ course with an outplacement company about three years ago. Outplacement companies here in Holland are companies who help employees who have just been made redundant, with the whole process of finding another job. Up until two years ago, the employer would offer you the chance to retrain or follow this Job Search course, as part of the compensation package.
I followed this course for nine months and there is a way of preparing for an interview, which they recommend, that I always follow. You split up a page of a notebook into three columns. On the left column you jot down information about the company and the job requirements. In the middle column, you write down what you can bring to the job and how your skills, experience, qualifications and knowledge matches the job requirements using S.O.A.R’s (Situation, Objective, Action and Result examples) and in the third column, you write down the questions you want to ask them. Or you could also write down the questions you think they are going to ask you. I find it easier to see stuff like this written down because it makes it clearer for me.
So I had the interview at 11.15am. I was told beforehand that there would be three people interviewing me, so that meant a lot of questions being thrown at me. And that certainly was the case! I was prepared for most of them and actually wrote them all down afterwards, for future reference. It didn’t go so well. I didn’t have any click at all with two of the interviewers. I also didn’t feel that I put myself forward to the best of my ability. There was no conviction in my voice even though I was really interested in the job. There were also two tests I had to do. The first test was a printed complaint from a customer and using Microsoft Word I had to write a reply and save it. The second test was to create a poster using either Microsoft Word or Publisher, inserting images and text, in relation to the complaint letter. I had ten minutes to do both. I barely got the first test done in ten minutes and didn’t manage to even touch on the second test.
So I knew even before I finished the interview that I didn’t get the job. Still it was an experience and I learned from it. By the way, the company was called Water Babies. They offer baby swimming training all over the UK and now have franchises in Ireland and in Australia. They seem to be doing very well for themselves and it’s good to see companies like this taking off, offering good services and important skills to parents and children alike.
When I was looking for accommodation for this trip, I had to stay a night in Edinburgh, the day before the interview and a night in Dundee. So for the Edinburgh accommodation, I was finding it hard to find a place to stay that was central and reasonable. The Fringe Festival was still on and the only place I could find in Edinburgh, near Waverley station was the Euro Hostel Edinburgh Halls on Kincaids Court, on the corner of Guthrie and Cowgate Streets. It cost 27.98 Euros and 10% of that, goes to Hostelbookers.com who I booked it with. It was THE most basic hostel I’ve ever stayed in but it was clean. I had five flights of stairs to climb to get to my room, as there was no lift but as I travel light, that was no problem. http://www.euro-hostels.co.uk/edinburgh
The accommodation in Dundee was really nice. It was called West Park. I booked this through LateRooms.com because it was the cheapest place I could find, compared to Hostelbookers or Booking.com, with such short notice. It was only a week before the interview and I had to find somewhere reasonably cheap and fast. West Park is a 3-star student campus facility, in the west end of Dundee on the Perth Road, with views of the River Tay. It’s open throughout the months of June, July and August and with its Conference and Events centre within its grounds, it offers a wide array of facilities, including an on-site restaurant and bar. The standard of cleanliness and service was very good.
I paid £30 for one night’s accommodation which was very reasonable. The room even had a television, which I was impressed with! There was an ensuite bathroom, the staff were very friendly and helpful and it was a quiet but good location for getting into town. There is a pretty frequent bus service that goes into Dundee from outside West Park. The only negative aspect to my stay was the fact that the morning I was leaving, around 9am, housekeeping unlocked my door and tried to come in, without knocking first. I was in the bathroom and hadn’t dressed yet, so I shouted “Hello” and they went back out again. As I was leaving, the lady from housekeeping, who was hoovering the corridor outside my room, apologised for opening the door, which was something, at least. http://www.westpark.co.uk/