“First of all, there’s a half-hour test.”
A test that wasn’t mentioned in the interview joining instructions, you mean? Oh, splendid! I took my beaker of water, and sat down to the exam question – in note form, explain how you’d go about conducting a certain piece of research. I smiled, and set on.
The presentation went well. Really well, as it happens. There were a couple of questions, which I felt quite comfortable handling. I laid out my pages from the test, and talked the panel through them. They were impressed by the research plan I’d put forward, in particular with the thoroughness of my approach. I used a mnemonic that I’d put together for my exams: DEFINE – DESIGN – CHOOSE; SELECT – COLLECT – ANALYSE; WRITE UP – FOLLOW UP. I was especially pleased that I’d highlighted an ethical problem with the client’s requests. The non-verbal cues that I picked up were positive.
As we moved on to the main part of the interview, I felt relaxed and confident. The panel’s reaction to my test had put me at ease. We talked about my experience and my research skills, and about how changes in funding levels might affect the job. Anna asked me if I was willing to move from a permanent job to a fixed-term contract that might not be renewed. I said that, on balance, the risk was worth the benefit – the research officer post would be a great development opportunity for me.
We’ll let you know on Thursday, they said. So I’m trying to keep my feet on the floor until then. But man, I’m hoping…