Welcome to the inside of my head.

Posts tagged ‘interview’

114. I’m getting moneyyyy

Well actually I got a job offer. Same thing. I thought I would hear back from Towers Watson in early September so this came as a real shock. The first time they rang, I was in the shower. When I phoned back, they were busy. By the time they replied, I had lots of family around so I had to literally scream EVERYONE SHUT UP… please.

But yeah I got my first job offer on the back of my first internship which I got from my first assessment centre. That’s quite a statistic. I feel very lucky but at the same time I worry I have like no interview experience which might pose a problem in the future. But this isn’t the time to fret about that.

I should add I haven’t accepted yet. Thought I’d keep them waiting for once ūüėõ Nahhh I wanted to discuss it with my parents first and really process it so now I have until the end of the week to respond.

The pay is decent but not as high as I aspired. However there are quite a few perks with the job, the most important being that they’ll pay for my study package (I gotto take exams to become an actuary…) and I’ll get approximately one day a week off to revise. They’d also get me into their pension scheme, give me a free phone, private medical insurance..useful stuff.

So yeah. A job offer waiting for me after I graduate…a nice position to be in. I can do my best during my final year of uni and not worry about what’s coming next.

All the interns at my office. I hope they all come back!

All the interns at my office. I hope they all come back!

I was gonna talk about the fact that my project group won the prize for ‘Most Innovative Team’ for the videos we made and how awesome we were as a group (see post 111. Go Beyond!) but this news kinda trumps that. Oh well.

team fast forward

Team Fast Forward!

There you have it. The end of my internship but the start of my career at Towers Watson.

Over and Out!

[Note: The title and gif come from the song ‘Turn my swag on’ by Soulja Boy. Lol. ]

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105. 5 Tips To Act More Confident

I wouldn’t call myself shy but I’m just as anxious as anyone else about how to act at important social occasions. I hate bring stuck in a room with unfamiliar people who I’m supposed to impress and charm with my wit and humour. But sometimes it’s just necessary. I’ve come up with a few tips that’ll give you a confidence boost and they’re not wishy washy stuff like ‘be yourself’ because my god if we did that, they’d probably run for the hills.

1. Dress the part

You need to shed the clothes you usually wear- they’re too associated with your usual socially awkward self. Wear something new, something different, something flattering that’ll make you feel good about yourself. Ladies, put on your favourite underwear. No-one else will see it (or maybe they will, who knows what kind of occasion this is) but you’ll know in your head that you look hella fine and it’ll shine through in your body language. Guys, wear something tailored.

2. Find your inner gangster

Love them or hate them, gangsters are confident to the point of being obnoxious. The point is if you can find your inner gangster, you can tap into that confidence store. For me, the best way to do this is through music. Find a song that makes you feel like a #BOSS and perform it. If you can’t sing, mime. Give your mirror the best performance of its life. Be careful though- you don’t want to start putting up your middle finger and yelling YOLO if you’re attending a formal do. Let’s leave that shit to Drake.
Song Suggestions: I’m On One- DJ Khaled, Do it like a dude- Jessie J, Pour it Up- Rihanna but anything about sex, money and general bragging works here.

WEEZY

3. Practice rapping

My last tip was to help your mental confidence and body language but this one will help with your speech. There’s nothing worse than getting nervous and stuttering or fumbling over your words but you’ll do this a lot less if you can rap (or at least try to!). If you can nail Busta Rhymes’ verse from ‘Look at me Now’ (if you haven’t heard it- it’s ridiculously fast), then you deserve a recording contract and you’ll have no problem getting the words out in a conversation.
Song Suggestions: Just lose it- Eminem, Move that body- Nelly, Look at me now- Chris Brown but anything fast paced is good.

4. Read and form opinions

Watch the news. Read magazines. Just be up to date about what’s going on in the world. That way if the conversation dries up, you have some back up topics. Basically if you’re speaking about something sensible you’ll instantly look more confident (as long as you don’t go all verbal diarrhoea). I find that sport, popular TV shows and gossip are good hooks.

5. Be Optimistic

Not only do pessimistic people annoy me but usually their lack of faith in things is a reflection of their lack of faith in themselves. That’s not attractive. You want to appear positive and you can do this by implementing small changes in your body language. Look people in the eye. Keep your back straight and your head held high. Don’t fold your arms. Find the humour in things and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself but most importantly; smile (or at least don’t frown) even if things go wrong.

Gah he’s so cute!

There you have it. I am by no means an amazingly confident person but I find that these things help me and maybe they’ll help some of you.

Over and Out!

25. Honest Interview Answers

This post is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend at Paddington today.

There appears to be a shift towards competency style interviews. In case you don’t know what that means, it’s the type of interview where they ask you to describe relevant experiences you’ve had that demonstrate the skills the employer is looking for. These include things such as:

  • Describe a time you’ve worked in a team.
  • Tell me about a time you managed a project.
  • What is your greatest¬†achievement?

Now if you’ve done a shred of preparation, you will have answers to the popular questions but you often find yourself exaggerating your role or just bullshitting till the cows come home. I have met people who completely fabricate some of their experiences and to be honest I think very few people can pull that off.

I thought I’d give my ‘real’ answers to some of the questions out there.

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Aliya. I’m studying Mathematics at university. I have feelings towards numbers, in particular 3 is my favourite number. My star sign is Aquarius. I love to read, tell stories, gossip and watch movies. I really love Harry Potter and I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter. I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life but I want to be good at what I do. I am extremely clumsy and a little weird most of the time but I like to think that makes me entertaining to be around. I really think you ought to hire me.

What do you know about the role you applied for?

I have absolutely no idea what I will be doing but I need the experience. Instead I will regurgitate anything I’ve read on your company website including lots of terminology I don’t understand so please don’t ask me what anything means. Kthanks.

Give an example of when you’ve been a leader.

My friends can never decide where to go for lunch. This usually leads to five minutes of everyone asking everyone else where they want to go to lunch and finally ending with me deciding. I believe this shows real leadership on a daily basis. I’m also really bossy so if people can’t make decisions and they ask for my advice, I make their decisions for them. ¬†If you don’t like it, don’t ask me.

Tell me about a time you missed a deadline.

I’m being brutally honest here when I say I have never missed any deadline of importance unless I was physically ill. I don’t see why I should have to make up some fake reason and use it to explain what I’ve learnt and how that developed my ‘character’. Leave me alone.

Tell us about a situation when you failed to communicate appropriately.

That would be most of the time. I find myself increasingly searching for the right word and getting phrases jumbled in my mouth. I also have a tendency to switch accents unnecessarily and turn into a freshie when I’m feeling awkward. Don’t even get me started on what happens to my verbal communication skills when I’m around someone I find attractive. I either become mute or babble like a crazy woman. I am sure one day I will seduce someone with my awkwardness.

How do you adapt to change?

I hate change but I understand it is inevitable. It will never be something I embrace because I am a stickler for routine but if the change is permanent, then I will do my best to adapt to it. Take my mobile phone for example. I upgraded from a brick to a Blackberry. I really missed my brick initially but now I can’t imagine being without my Blackberry. That’s my adaptive skills right there.

What is your weakness?

I don’t have faith in people’s abilities until I’ve seen it with my own eyes. This prevents me delegating effectively because I don’t trust that people can do things to the standard that I can. This sounds incredibly pompous but hey once I am convinced you can do what you say you do, then I am very happy to share the responsibility and workload. But I need convincing first.

What is your biggest mistake?

Well that’s a loaded question. Excluding an array of personal mistakes, I think my biggest blunder was getting the date of my driving test wrong. That was the height of idiotic. I genuinely thought it was on a Wednesday but it turned out to be on Tuesday. I still think the person examining me must have been on something because I am a threat to society behind a wheel.

Describe a situation where you had a disagreement or an argument. How did you handle it?

There are few things I’ve fought as hard for as I did to study Mathematics at university. I was destined to go down the medicine route according to my parents and the rest of my family and normally I just cave to their demands. However I felt very strongly that medicine wasn’t right for me and for the first time I grew some balls and stood my ground. I am not exaggerating when I said numerous dinner discussions, tears and emotional breakdowns followed. This was probably not the best way to handle it but it worked so I don’t regret it.

 

And there you have it. ‘Real’ interview answers!

Over and Out.

 

12. Wow. Just wow.

If you’ve been keeping track of this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been complaining about how to prepare for my assessment centre, what to wear, how to present myself there and after it was done I felt like it was a good experience but it didn’t go spectacularly well.

Clearly I don’t judge situations well because I GOT THE INTERNSHIP!

I am so RELIEVED. I am so HAPPY. And I am so EXCITED.

I genuinely didn’t think I was going to get it. ¬†I’m not saying that to be modest. I really didn’t feel like I was particularly stronger than the other candidates. Somebody was definitely smiling down upon me on the day. Or according to my cousin, the fact that I waxed my moustache¬†swung it. Or maybe it was because I wore my silky parrot green blouse. Chances are it’s because I’m so sexy. In all seriousness, I wish I knew what it was I did ‘right’ so I can carry on doing it or at least pretend to!

My mum has felt she has been lucky in life with things like interviews, driving tests and important exams and she has always attributed her success to her mother’s prayers. One generation on, I feel the same way. I’m sure it was my mum’s faith and prayers that helped me on the day. I hope I can do the same for my own kids.

I can’t get over the fact that somebody is going to pay me properly for doing something. Me! Silly, weird me. I feel like I’ve got my foot in the door, that I’m on the right track and I’m going to achieve something. I’m probably sounding¬†delirious¬†right now. The funny thing is my parents have already called dibs on what they want from my first pay cheque. My Ma wants a ‘mala’- essentially a gold necklace and my Pa says he wants new jumpers but chances are he’ll return them because he’s asian.

What is even funnier however was my parents responses when I shared this news with them. I initially told them I had been rejected and was giving them areas which I was told to improve on. It was soo hard not to smile! After I finished explaining, my mum just said ‘you got it didn’t you?’ and I couldn’t help but beam. No Oscars for that performance! They then proceeded to hug the life out of me and I think my mum actually squealed.

All in all, a wonderful wonderful day AND ¬†I’ve completed one of my New Year’s resolutions too!

The only downside is that one of my closest friends also applied for the same thing and I’m not sure if she got it. Ideally I wanted us both to get it because life has always seemed to keep us two together. I have my fingers crossed for her but if she doesn’t get it, I pray that a better opportunity comes her way.

10. Assessment Centre

My dreaded assessment ordeal day is finally over. I am so relieved but more than anything I am just mentally and physically exhausted. 

Somebody give me a massage. And put a flower in my hair too.

I woke up at the ungodly hour of quarter to 6 to guarantee I got there on time. It was pretty much pitch black outside- seriously depressing! I was on my feet pretty much the whole day and when you’re in heels, that absolutely kills. My back is actually aching right now and if it was possible to have a 6 pac on your calves, I would bloody well have one. They are rock hard. It’s as if Medusa looked at them and turned them to stone.

I was really worried on the day that I wouldn’t be able to get words coherently out of my mouth. Thankfully I didn’t have any spluttering incidents or say something like wag1 y’all, wassup homie or yeh boi. Instead I word vomited. Taking this as a metaphor, I hurled ALL over them and I don’t even know what was in my sick. Yes… I bet you’re all loving that imagery.

A few people mentioned that there might be some awkwardness at the assessment centre with the other candidates. After all, how much do you have in common? Now I don’t know if I just got lucky, but I was with a great bunch. Most of them spoke quite openly and freely and it genuinely made the day so much better. There were conversations about A Game of Thrones (Daenerys is well fit said one guy), One Pound Fish song (I gave them a rendition of “Come on ladiess”) and Twilight (oh my god it is so shit but I’ve got to see it said another guy).

Afterwards we all headed to a pub nearby and sat down and chillaxed. One of the dudes was talking about his supreme ‘bullshitting’ ability and how he actually created an imaginary child (called Ryan) from an impoverished background who flourished after he tutored him. All of this was for the purpose of creating a relevant example for a competency question. Unbelievable! We’re all guilty of exaggerating our accomplishments but that’s just taking the biscuit!

Overall, I didn’t flop as hard as I anticipated and given that I’m an AC virgin, I think I did alright. I have zero expectation of actually getting the offer though. But hey, at least I looked good. Yeh boi!

5. Internships

This morning I wasn’t sure what I was going to ramble on about but thankfully it got decided for me.

I received an email from Towers Watson inviting me to an assessment centre where they will probably crush my soul. This is the last stage before an offer and I am honestly bricking it. I haven’t done anything as intense as this before. I used to consider myself lucky not having to do any interviews to get into university but now I feel as if I’ve lost out on some experience. On the agenda there is a competency based interview, group discussion, role play and possibly a presentation, written exercise or problem solving interview. This sounds more like an ordeal than an interview.

Anyhow, this is all going down next week so I don’t really have that long. I have a lot of brushing up to do. It’s also the first time I’ll be missing lectures (goody two shoes I know) but it’s better to miss the wishy washy intro lectures than one later on where something fundamental is taught.

The most important question however is… what am I going to wear? Do I go for sexy and sassy (lol) or calm and comfortable? Or simply put skirt v. trousers?

Wearing a skirt makes me feel professional and more confident- I don’t look too bad in it either (HELLO HOURGLASS). ¬†It helps with the whole personality transplant and to uphold the facade of professionalism, courtesy, manners and intellect that in all reality I do not possess. On the downside, I’ll have to wear tights which means trying to find a pair that doesn’t have holes or ladders in it. It’ll also mean pulling my tights up every 10 minutes which doesn’t look classy no matter how you do it. ¬†Furthermore, my legs will get cold.

Trousers. My reliable old friend. They’re super comfy and there’s no hassle of tights. I can look smart in it too and there’s a certain comfort in wearing clothes you’re familiar with. However it makes me feel like I’m back in 6th Form and still need a teacher to tell me what to do. Decisions, decisions…

On a completely unrelated note, I should be going to see Life of Pi today avec the parents. Even my mum who hates loud noises and cinema theatres is coming *shock horror*. It’s Wednesday so we’re doing the whole Orange Wednesdays thing. Yay for being cheap! And brown!

Oh my god. I totes want a pet tiger too.