a time for first interviews

I’ve never had any experience with interviews before. Now I’ve had three stuffed into the one week and each interview has been a step up from the last before it. It’s finally starting. You know, the reason why I moved half way across the world. That reason. I’m knowing that of the three, one will be the ONE. Or two, but let’s just wait shall we.

They are all for volunteer work/internships in international NGOs in London. Some are small charities, some large, but all effective in what they do and how they do it. I need experience in what I am passionate about. I need to learn processes, reasonings and motivations. But let’s start with the interview-process first. Step by step we’re moving ahead. 

Interview one: A casual chat. Come for coffee with the country director and marketing director of the organisation. In any other circumstance I’d be intimidated but it’s just the two of them for now that are employed in the UK department and I was put to ease by the phone conversation I had a couple of days ago. I get made an instant coffee with a tap, tap on the inside of the mug as the granules are stirred. We recline on couches and they tell me about the mountain of work that needs to be done. They need all the help they can get, even if it’s the help of a graduate with no experience in the world. If I get it I’m to edit, upload web-content, and help with fundraising.

Interview two: Come for a formal interview. 12.30pm sharp. As I dress for the day I take note of how the minor things could be taken as evidence of my character. I dress carefully, thinking heels are too fancy for an NGO interview, but to wear jeans is lowering myself too low. Be eager but not too eager; turn up on time. I panic when I don’t find the address, but I’m standing opposite it. I walk down into a space of desks and people and no walls. “Take a seat”. So I sit on a couch off to the side and along comes Cheryl (pronounce the “ch”) to start our meet. She asks me a page of questions and I can’t help relaxing when I hear the slight tremor in her voice; she’s new to this just as I am. She mentions the word ‘test’, and I try to imagine what this means. Don’t fear it’s just a role play and email test. This is a fundraising position focused on securing trusts and funds for their work.

Interview three: Informal interview. I’m not nervous, I’ve done it all before. And informal, well I’ve already tackled a formal. Dress. Arrive. A wander around because I’m early. I could work here, I know it. And then I enter the building of casually dressed aid workers in an open room gathered around computer screens. I sign myself in as directed and I take note of all the others that have seen Katie today. My competition. I get seated in the boardroom and this goes from informal to slightly more formal. And then one walks in, a second walks in, a third seats himself. I sit opposite and it goes from slightly formal to a bit intimidating. They ask two pages of questions between them. My strengths and weaknesses, my biggest achievements, my ideas; you know, the larger questions in life that need a lifetime to explain. They give me a test of the ‘uses’ of a brick and a blanket and ask me to be creative at the same time. This is a fundraising position focused on supporting the team, editing content and starting projects of my own. And when I leave I’m left with a shaky feeling but a feeling that this is the one I want the most. 

I’m trusting one’s the one. I’m counting one’s the way. Counting and trusting.

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