I hate interviews. I didn’t feel at all ready for the one yesterday, but spent two hours reading up on interview questions which got me in the right frame of mind.
I got to the store ten minutes early, and had a fifteen minute wait for the Regional Manager and the Risk Manager to be ready for me, and when I went it, I did my best to come across confident and composed. It was explained that the interview was broken down into two sections, the first was the competancy questions, which would take up an hour, and then there was two extra activities revolving around sorting out an in tray of paperwork.
The competancy questions were fine, and I think I answered them all quite well. I was able to give confident responses, and even when questioned for more detail I didn’t struggle, and towards the end when asked a question which I gave a similar answer to as a previous question, I was asked to give a different answer and example, and managed to do so without struggling.
Next I was left for an hour to go through twenty-odd pages of paperwork which included (all fictional) staff reviews, emails, a resignation letter, the results of a recent audit and an outstanding complaint. I was told that I had to plan a ten minute huddle with staff as though I were the manager of the branch discussed in the paperwork, and what I would do, and then give a ten minute presentation to the regional manager of what I would do with the first ninety days in the branch.
Time flew past, and although I was told that they’d come and get me after an hour, I checked my phone and realised it had been 75 minutes and so got up and found the Regional Manager. I told him that I’d had too much time, but that I thought I’d best come and find him, and he explained that he was waiting for the Risk Manager to finish a conference call and then they’d get on.
After another ten minutes the Risk Manager came in, and the atmosphere was fairly relaxed. I’d been swapping jokes with the Regional Manager, including the fact that they’d put me in the staff room which had motion detectors on the lights, which caused me to be plunged into darkness twice while I was making my notes.
The presentation began and I went into my plans for the staff huddle, detailing that I wanted them to do well and be successful, and that by doing so it would make the bank profitable and in turn lead to better benefits for the staff. By offering customers more options it would increase customer service, but that none of this should be done at the expense of failing an Audit visit, going on to say that we had the results in now of a previous visit and that we would go through the findings in training on Wednesday. The huddle would go on with me touching on the salient points, including thanking the staff for their hard work in the three months until now that they had been without a confirmed manager.
The Regional and Risk Managers seemed happy enough with this, especially as the Risk Manager was now nodding almost non-stop as I made various points.
I then moved on to the 90-day plan. I explained that the first thing I wanted to do was to meet with the staff, as per the huddle, and thank them for their hard work, before sending them to do their daily work. The Regional Manager jumped in and just asked "is that it? Just send them off to work?" He was quite abrupt, but I explained that I wanted to have 1-2-1s with people and see how they were working, and that ultimately I wanted the branch to start hitting targets, but that I couldn’t do any of that until I had people working. The interview went downhill from there.
It seemed that everything I said was well-received by the Risk Manager (assuming that the nodding was a good sign), but the Regional Manager just ripped everything apart. It was a strange site to see, as he had come across as very quiet and mundane before then, and I was shocked.
At the end he asked: "What was the task that was set?"
"To tell the Regional Manager my plans for the first 90 days." I responded.
"Read it again." He said.
I picked up the paperwork and read it: "Make a presentation to your Regional Manager…" I didn’t get a chance to finish before he’d picked up the A4 paper that I had put all of my notes on and waved it around.
"And is this a presentation?"
I was dumbfounded.
"Yes!" I said "In so much that it has all the information that I’m presenting to you! Granted, it’s not in the form of a Powerpoint presentation or a hand out, but all the pertinent information is there."
"I was expecting a flip chart. Something written down. What happened to talking about Staff, Sales, Customer Service and Risk?"
"I covered all those points?"
"I didn’t hear you mention Customer Service once," he turned to the Risk Manager, "did you?"
"No, I’m sorry." She sounded sorry to. I swear it was the first time she’d stopped nodding.
I looked at my notes - Along the bottom I’d written "Sales, Customer Service, Employee happiness, Audit / Compliance" - the same line that I had referred to throughout my presentation and done my best to include it’s contents whenever I spoke.
"Ok, well I’m sure I did, but perhaps I didn’t stress sit often enough." By now, my head was spinning.
"I wanted to see something on paper like "Staff - Do 1-2-1s, observations, walk the floor - where was all that?" I was asked.
I couldn’t give an answer as I was still dumbstruck. Finally I got my thoughts together, but ended up with a half-hearted answer.
"It’s frustrating," I explained, "but this is all stuff that I would do - it’s all stuff that I’ve done when starting out at my branch at Bene."
The meeting finished fairly quickly. The Regional Manager is away for two weeks, but I was told that I’ll get my answer in 2-3 weeks. I wasn’t asked for a copy of my ID though, which when I was interviewing people was always a sign that I wasn’t going to see them again or offer them the job.
I’m frustrated and annoyed at myself for basically not doing a good enough job, especially as my efforts were taken apart with very little in the way of a decent response or defense from me.
And so the hunt for a job continues, and once again I need to pick myself up and try not to let this possible and likely failure get me down and affect me going forward. Hopefully that’s as easily done as it is said.