Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Wow, for a ten-minute phone interview that was difficult! She literally asked the first question within about 15 seconds of saying hello, and it was a hard one - 'What do you think companies look for when choosing a [n accounting] firm', or something like that. And five more questions followed, only one or two of which could be answered formulaeically. It was a BANG, BANG, BANG sort of interview.

Still, feel quite invigorated after that, and if I found it tough there'll be many out there who found it tougher. I do know that one of the things this firm looks out for is socially able people. I'm not socialy disabled and I can rise to socially demanding occasions, but anyone who knows me will appreciate that I have a tendency to speak in generalizations and speak more as if through ether than through the four earthly elements, something which can often take the form of rambling. So all the specificity and detail required in interviews (especially with HR professionals) is something I'm learning as I go along. But any suggestion (by myself or others) that I am decidely anti-social isn't really valid - I'm always willing to socialize with people whom I actually like!

I won't say who the firm in question is and I shalln't speculate about my chances of getting to the next stage as I have been profoundly wrong about that in the past. Back in March I had an interview with a medium-sized London firm at their London office which I came back fairly chirpy from, but I didn't get to the next round. Two weeks ago I made a angsty post about an upcoming phone interview with a Big Four firm, and I felt fairly resigned (if relieved) once it was over. Well, I passed that and have been invited to an assessment centre (BIG news). The only interview I have been totally right about was a Big Four pre-screening interview which pretty much involved me reading out preprepared answers - I literally couldn't fail that one. So far I've had a 2/3 success rate at first-interviews, but then all three (well, all four now) have been very different.

However, one thing true of all these interviews is that knowing your stuff well will help you. This sounds obvious, but you need to be able to whip out the facts when required. Sure, structure the facts in your mind or on paper, but have the facts, not just the structures! Also, have a couple of bananas just before! I used to do this back in my driving-lesson days and it did make a difference, and I doubt that difference was entirely psychosomatic.

Still, I'm dropping my naive pessimism one brick at a time. Also, this afternon my first set of learning materials for the CFAB are going to arrive, though I probably won't start learning them till Thursday - I am considering a London daytrip tomorrow (not meeting anyone, am just going to go on one of my classic exploratory walks peppered with the occasional museum or burger). This will be my last chance to go to London before Easter/Royal Wedding/Assessment Centres/Bank Holiday crowds etc etc etc. Plus it's set to be 25oC!!!1

Feels funny writing all this here as I literally write more or less the same thing in correspondence with friends, who are now able to read it in two different places at once!

I shall have to think now about what to do today. Catch up on financial reading I suppose, and maybe make a start on another application. Although logically it might be better to wait till the outcome of this one is known... but then, that might not be for a few days... and by the time a few days is passed the assessment centre and first office interview dates for my Big Four applications might be set, and I'd be preparing for them!

Yes I suppose I'll write an application today AND catch up with financial reading. The more I do today the more I'll enjoy my day off tomorrow.

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