I haven’t written about my unemployment woes for a week now but that doesn’t mean anything has changed for the better in the last few days. It only means that I’ve been busy with daily prompt writing challenges.
Job listings continue to be on the decline. I applied for nine jobs this week and only one of them has turned out to be a job scam.
I received an email inviting me to a group interview on Thursday – with my former employer of 18 years. I had applied for a few positions with the bank so I didn’t know which one I was interviewing for. This was my first group interview. It was a combination group interview and panel interview.
I arrived at a bank branch for the interview and was one of seven candidates being interviewed for the position. The interviewing panel consisted of one recruiter and four members of the team at the branch hiring for the position.
The other applicants were young. For the first time, I felt really old. I was the oldest applicant in the room. The other applicants worked for other banks. I was the only unemployed applicant as well as the only applicant with experience with the employer.
The young applicants were eager to have the position. They were attractive and handsome as well. When asked to state why they should have the position, each said “I have a college degree.” Since all of us have a college degree, this gave no one an advantage for the position. But they had one thing I didn’t have. They were all new to the U.S. and were bilingual. My lack of ability to speak anything other than English is not helping me in the job market. I liked the other applicants and thought they were smart, pleasant and could easily fill the position.
We were given groups of questions to answer individually to the panel while interviewing in front of the other applicants. The interview seemed more like an audition. Interviewing to an audience isn’t easy. I was nervous. I know it was obvious.
I had 18 years with this company and I was now on the outside looking in. As I interviewed, I had no sense that my experience mattered to this group but I continued to make my bid for the position.
After the group interview, we were called one by one to meet with an interviewer. The recruiter called me to meet with her and asked me only one or two questions. She asked for the name of my former supervisor. When I gave it to her, I offered to give her my list of references but she made it clear that she didn’t need them. I don’t think it’s a good sign when an interviewer doesn’t want the list of references when offered. I was told that a decision would be made by the end of the following week.
I was part of a good group of applicants. I hope that if they don’t choose me, they’ll choose an applicant from our group because I think each of the others in competition for the position would be an asset to the company. I don’t know which attributes the company will prefer for the position – experience or youth and bilingual ability? Probably neither of them. The person who interviewed the best will be chosen.
I don’t think I expect much from the interview but am glad I had a chance to experience the group interview.
But I still feel so old…