Interviews: The Results

The week before last was a big week for me. I am currently on a temporary contract, and with a mortgage to pay etc, I am keen to get a permanent job. But that week, I had two important dates in my diary: firstly, a series of tests to find out if I’m the best candidate for a permanent position for the job I’m already doing (I’ve already passed the interview stage), and two days later, and two days later an interview for a totally different job (yeah, I know, it sounds pretty complicated – see my previous post at https://theepilepsyblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/interviews/). Now I know what the results were.

Interview 1: The Tests

I am always more confident in tests than in an oral interview situation. It gives me time to think about my answer, and retract any mistakes. Plus, it’s just me so I feel less pressure. Due to the epilepsy, I was entitled to 25% extra time (I would urge everyone who is entitled to this time to make sure you get it – you just don’t know how your brain will be working on the day).

I had a series of tests: to write a letter, a proof-reading exercise and a scenarios based exercise. I’d been doing my research on the scenarios (as I’m pretty okay with the other two) – but I was thrown when I went in. I thought my letter was ok, but I knew I didn’t get 100% on the proof-reading – maybe one error? I was counting on getting 100% so that I didn’t have to do so well in other areas(!). The scenarios was totally different to what I’d been preparing for so that totally threw me. I interpreted one of the questions wrong but I think I did okay with the others – I was just honest. I went out feeling a little dejected and told my colleagues (who I was competing against) that I’d messed up.

Interview 2: The Verbal Interview

Now, I knew I’d passed my previous interview, but this one was for a different business area – one I’d spent only six months working in previously – so I had to change all my prepared answers to the role I was applying for (NB: I take answers in for all the possible competency based questions they could ask, as I know that I will babble on and not answer the question without the support of these notes!). This is how I’ve adjusted to support my disability and I don’t have a choice BUT to take these extra measures.

I wasn’t sure how the interview went. It was a mixture of competency and non-competency – which made me feel more relaxed, but wasn’t what I was expected.

The Results

I found about both of my jobs on Monday morning of this week.

Firstly, I had a phone call from the Manager who conducted the verbal interview. She said I hadn’t got through to the next stage because I hadn’t used enough specific examples from that business area (other people used more) – but I was very close. That’s far enough – I used all the ones that I had!!! Six months isn’t long… I probably wasn’t the most experienced candidate. I wasn’t too disappointed.

About an hour later, I received an email from my own Manager asking for me to go into the office. There were both Managers who interviewed me for the permanent position that I am currently doing. They advised me that I had been successful (wooohoooooooooooooo!!!!!!!) but I had to keep it hush hush until it was officially announced. I’d just like to reiterate that I was going up against my colleagues for this job so hopefully they see my potential and hard-working ability – not the epilepsy = and that the notes were there to support me during the interview.

So, I now have a permanent job.

But it wasn’t that easy. Apparently the unsuccessful candidates got told the same day, and whispers were going around. I could cut the tension with a knife. Only one person asked – I think he knew that I had got it – but I couldn’t say anything.

The next day, it was announced. I was flooded with “Congratulations!” emails, but many of my colleagues who work in the same room as me have not even mentioned it. Ah, they’ll get over it. Out of everyone, I was the only one who did not have a job to go back to – so I was the happiest, and I was the most relieved!!! I also strongly believe that I was the best candidate and that the recruitment process was fair. I just know that I would have been very happy for whoever got it if it wasn’t me… but they obviously can’t be. On the other hand, I do understand their disappointment. It’s never good getting told you haven’t been successful. I’ve also got a feeling they said to each other (during the whispers) that I had an unfair advantage to the extra time blah-de-blah – which is unfair – it just brings me onto an even playing field.

Hopefully by Monday things will be better – but I’m happy. I know I can pay the mortgage and bills for as long as I want, and I know that I am going on holiday in September!

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About katesds

I was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy when I was 11 (though I was having what the doctors thought were febrile convulsions up until the age of 5). I'm now 28 and have absence and tonic-clonic seizures, triggered by tiredness. I've been on every AED going but it's still not fully controlled. I'm waiting for the magic cure. Epilepsy affects my life in every way but I try not to let it control me. I am not an epileptic, I am me with epilepsy!
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9 Responses to Interviews: The Results

  1. sitagaia says:

    Hey Kate! Congratulations on your job! I hope you are out celebrating! I think it’s sooo important that you know that you were hired for your potential, and not because of the epilepsy, so good on ya! Wooohoo! Sending you lots of congrations!

    Sita

  2. Congrats. Its really nice when people look beyond epilepsy to find the “real” person.

  3. katesds says:

    Thank you! It is great when you find a supportive employer and one who employs you based on your skills. I’ve had some bad experiences in the past so think I’ll stick with this employer for a while 🙂

  4. mickcgorman says:

    Congratulations. 🙂
    Do you find that employers embrace your Epilepsy generally? I am an “Epilepsy virgin” and I am just starting to look for work again after a break due to other health issues, I am scared to death to be discounted solely on the basis of Epilepsy, one hears so many stories of ignorance among people at large with regard to the condition?!

    • katesds says:

      Thanks Mick!

      My experiences have been very mixed, so when I found an employer who understood my epilepsy and everything that comes with it, I always said I’d stick with them. I worked through agencies for a while and many a time I walked out crying, demanding they delete all details they hold of me because I was so appalled at the way they treated me (because I have epilepsy). Many agencies assumed I couldn’t do complex tasks and one had never heard of the DDA. I had previous experience in banking, and they were advertising for loads of positions at Barclays – only thing is, it was shift work, and tiredness triggers my seizures. I TOLD him Barclays had to make reasonable adjustments and I considered this to be a reasonable adjustment – but Barclays said they had someone with epilepsy there who was fine with the shifts so they wouldn’t make mine fixed. I was sooo angry. I will never work at Barclays, nor will I go back to that agency!

      Luckily I did find a good agency who understood my requirements, and I was in a 9-5 office job for 6 months until I applied for this. Both my current and former employers encourage me to go home as soon as I have an absence. I find it easy to take time off for hospital appointments and HR are very supportive in giving me extra time for tests. As time is changing, I’m hoping things are getting better – I worked for a large organisation for 5 years, there was no formal way of booking absences for disability so I ended up being on an attendance plan(!), I was referred to occupational health and they made me cry (for accusing me of making up having epilepsy!).

      But luckily, my last two employers have been great, so I’m hoping that the above employer has changed things now, for the sake of everyone.

      • katesds says:

        Oh, I’ve also found it’s extremely hard to find a job that’s mentally challenging without being so stressful it brings on seizures – and even harder when you spend an hour on the bus each way doing a journey that takes 15 mins by car!!! I left school with straight As before my epilepsy went totally out of control, tried teaching but too stressful (had absences), so this job is the closest I’m going to get to a challenge… But I miss out financially!!!

  5. mickcgorman says:

    WOW! sounds like it could be quite a journey? Just identifying what I can now do will be interesting, I am sure there will someone that wants me. 🙂 I am with you on Barclays! I have boycotted them since they traded in South Africa during apartheid! I am still an old leftie. 😀

    • katesds says:

      There will be something out there for you! You might be lucky and find your perfect job with an ideal employer very quickly… Only time will tell! I’m a lefty too, though not as much as you from the sounds of it. I know someone who works there now and is desperate to leave because they are sexist!!! Can they do any more wrong?!

  6. What a relief! Congratulations and best of luck.

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