I started to write this post around 4 months ago and never quite finished it. I thought I would try and get it posted because it’s the summer holidays and during this time some students and graduates can find its hard to keep motivated for work/job hunt/ continuing their studies. So something new and exciting happened to me recently. I was approached by an employer via twitter. OK so on the surface that might not sound that interesting or great but he contacted me solely based on my tweets. He is a well known and successful investor/business advisor who wanted to talk to me about the possibility of working for a start up he had helped establish. What followed was games of email tennis, phone calls and an eventual interview. I had to sign a NDA so I can’t really talk details but I wanted to share some lessons I learned or that were reinforced by being approached this way. I’m sharing this experience not to brag but as proof that this kind of thing DOES happen. I hope by writing this I manage to help illustrate the value of keeping an online profile up to date/appropriate. Also with employers saying that graduates aren’t ‘job ready’ when they have finished their degrees I think any little thing you can do to present yourself well to employers will help. (She says having not touched her Linkedin profile in a long time). If you don’t really know where to start a free online course might help because you never know when this kind of thing will come around.
Some lessons I learned/had reinforced were;
Seek advice from a close colleague or someone who has been in this situation before I did this and it was probably the best thing I could have done in preparation. It put things into perspective for me and made me feel more calm.
Be patient For all the emails or phone calls that may come after someone has approached you- be prepared to wait. Sometimes you may have to speak to the same person more than once, or wait for international calls or wait for a reply about a solid interview date. It can be really exciting being approached out of the blue but that doesn’t mean the rest of the process will run at the same speed. Don’t be left hanging but also don’t push too hard. You may not be the only person on their call list.
Be prepared for an air of mystery… This seemingly came from nowhere. It was sparked by a single tweet I sent. And I had kind of accepted that this project was in ‘stealth mode’ so they needed to make sure they could trust me before they would share certain info with me. I arrived at the interview knowing there were a variety of possibilities on offer so it was in fact quite hard to feel completely excited as I didn’t know what kind of thing they had in mind for me. When this opportunity didn’t work out for me (due to geography and the nature of their working environment, not for lack of skills) not knowing what particular role they had in mind for me also made it difficult for me to feel disappointed or as though I had missed out on something…
Maintain a poker face. Going back to my previous post, don’t come across as too keen a bean, keep your cool even if you are super flattered someone plucked you out from the internet for an interview.
Do your research Although I knew the interview would be casual I should have looked at things such as London weightings on wages. When I was pressed to pick a number as a potential wage I may have looked ill informed giving a number they could have laughed me out of the building for. The number i gave them was also unreasonable for a start up as well (wishful thinking…)
…but hey you don’t ask you don’t get Employers who are honest with you want the same in return. No need to labour under false pretenses if you have particular expectations or needs don’t be afraid to communicate them. I’m talking working hours and pay rates, not hammocks and extra long lunch breaks though.
Make sure you’re able to ask all your questions Although I was asked if there was anything further I wanted to know and I managed to get some questions out, put them under pressure to answer everything you have in mind before you leave. I held back a little as I thought I had fudged another part of the interview and lost a bit of confidence.
Don’t be scared to send a follow up email If you forgot to ask something follow up with an email to ask about things you forgot to ask in person. Some of those things may seem fairly obvious but due to the surprising way this all came about it was harder to be rational and think of everything when I got excited to be recognised by this person. I hope this post has been useful for some people. Comment, like and follow my blog if you liked it.