Monday, 2 February 2009

Interview at Grand Union

I had an interview last week at Grand Union with a guy called Robert Fein. A nice American man who is heading up the User Experience team. I found out about the interview the day before at 3 p.m. and the interview was at 8:30 a.m. Not a problem. This was set up through Nick at Zebra People. I was pretty excited. Nick gave me some good interview tips and I was feeling good. He did mention that I might not be experienced enough for the role, but to meet Robert because they might have a permanent role that I would be suited for. That sounded good to me.

I showed up to the interview and I liked the look and feel of the reception room. The lift was out so I walked up six flights with a girl who was working there. She had come in through a graduate scheme. She was very nice and we had a bit of a chat in between our huffing and puffing.

Robert was cool. He knows his stuff and comes across in a very approachable way. He didn't come across as arrogant at all. He is from the states and has been living in London for nine years. It was nice to be interviews by an American. You feel like there is a little bit of common ground there.

After he got done describing the role I knew I was in no way experienced enough to take it on. It was for a very important new client and I told him that I at the level to do it. I know sometimes people embellish their skills because they know once they get in there they can learn what they need to quickly. It wouldn't have been right to pretend that I could handle it.

Robert mentioned that he was looking for a jr person to join the team. Someone who could lighten the workload of the senior people and be mentored by them. To me that sounded great. I have the technical skills and experience to work on IA and bang out wire frames. I felt like maybe this was going to be moment, I was in the right place at the right time. I felt comfortable with Robert and thought that this might just thing I was looking for.

The interview ended and Robert mentioned that he would be going out of town for a week and he would be in contact with Nick. So he walks me to the door and we do one last handshake and I look straight into his eyes and say "Thank you Nick, it was great meeting you."

The moment after I said it I just about died. I called Robert, the man I hoped saw some potential in me and was going to hire me, the wrong name. I couldn't believe that I had done it. I have never done that before. Now maybe it's not the end of the world, but I felt incredibly stupid. I walked down the stairs and leaned against the building wondering if I had just blown my chances.

I wondered what to do. Robert mentioned that he was going to be going out of town in an hour. I thought about waiting outside the building for him to come out and apologize. Then I thought maybe I should just leave it and pretend that it didn't happen. I didn't know what the right thing to do was. I thought that I had ruined my chances.

It was an honest mistake due to nerves. At least I called him Nick, the person we were just talking about. I wanted to make a good impression. I felt I needed to do something. I decided I would write a note and lightheartedly apologize for calling him the wrong name while saying it was good meeting him. I went back up the six flights and left the note with reception. Thankfully Robert was in the room next to reception interviewing someone else.

These are tough situations. I didn't know what the right thing to do in a situation like that. I guess there really doesn't have to be a right thing, you can always just follow your gut. That's what I did. My gut said leave a note. The good think about following your gut is at least you know you did what you felt was right.

I still can't believe that I did that. I am still waiting to hear back, so keep your fingers crossed.

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