As part of WordPress.com’s post-a-day challenge, The Daily Post is offering daily topics that can be used as inspiration. So far this year, I have not used them; preferring instead to write about my own things. I thought it might be a nice idea however to follow pre-defined topic suggestions every once in a while, in order to force a bit of creative writing on specific subjects. Therefore, every Wednesday on this blog is now ‘write-about-a specific-topic-chosen-by-someone-else-day’. Hooray! Based upon the result of this poll, I will either write about the topic featured on The Daily Post the previous Wednesday, about any one of the seven daily topics featured in the previous week or about the first topic suggested in the comments the previous week.
Ok, onwards to this week’s topic.
Before I decided to do a PhD, I applied for quite a few different jobs (bet you can tell which way this is going to go!). One of them was at GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical company. After being successful with the application I was invited to take a telephone interview. I was informed that the interview would be split into two parts, a personal interview and a technical interview.
Prior to my scheduled interview time, I covered the desk in my room with all manner of papers featuring answers of questions I expected to be asked. On one sheet of paper for example was some answers to questions such as “why do you want the job” that I expected to be asked in the personal interview. On another sheet of paper was answers to questions such as “when have you demonstrated problem solving skills” that I expected to be asked in the technical interview.
The first part of the interview went well, I felt that I competently answered all of the questions. My only slight nagging concern was the fact that all the sorts of questions I expected to form the technical interview had been asked in the personal interview. It turned out that this concern was very valid. The first question in the technical interview was along the line of “If a type HT35-b service fan duct shows signs of restricted air flow, what measures should you take to diagnose the cause of the problem”. Now, if I had 5 years worth of experience in this industry, I might have had some kind of idea what they were on about. Unfortunately, I didn’t and I hadn’t. Instead of not saying anything (because prolonged periods of silence are not particularly comfortable during telephone interviews), I asked the interviewer to repeat the question, giving me time to make up an answer.
The remaining questions didn’t get any better, all featuring specific problems with specific equipment used in a specific industry. If I remember correctly, I asked the interviewer to repeat every one of those questions. I never head back from them.