Previously I was in recruitment and I had coached many clients on how to write a strong CV and interviewing skills. I’d always been pretty unflappable at interview and could quickly think of examples to clearly demonstrate the experience the interviewer wanted to know about. I was unemployed after resigning from my job helping new hairdresser apprentices in their first job (which I loved) after my car accident. But as no one had been able to tell me what to expect of myself I thought I would try to move back into employment, but take a step down.
I applied for an internal recruitment position with a national company who had offices close to my home. Completing the application form was OK as my CV already contained some valuable material so that wasn’t too taxing.
And I wasn’t surprised when I was invited to interview.
I thought I was prepared.
The interview was pretty detailed and I was doing quiet well actually. I could see I was hitting all the right buttons. Even when she asked about why I was prepared to accept I much reduced salary, I managed to confidently explain as I’d had a career break I felt working my way back up was what I wanted to do. Brilliant she was delighted with everything.
But there was an elephant in the room. The UK law limits what an employer can ask about disability. So I decided I would tell her what I knew she couldn’t ask.
I immediately started to cry as I explained about my brain injury. I felt a duty to be clear on how it affects me on a bad day. She was sympathetic and still said I should come for a second interview. But I knew that she was doing. She could not be seen as discriminating against someone with a disability. So she invited me to the next stage to in order to comply with employment law.
That’s when I realised that this was just another time that I was being impatient with myself. And trying to push myself too fast. I was crushed and all my confidence was zapped. I had failed, but only because I tried to do what I thought was the right thing. Otherwise it would have been fine. But if I’d got the job it would have been a mistake. I would still have expected too much of myself and made a bad impression when I was having a bad day.
What I learned was that I still had the interviewing skills. But I needed to apply them in a different way. I have the same intelligence that I had before. But I’m relearning how to deal with pressure in a more positive way.
However, if you feel ready to interview for your next job but what to brush up first, read Interview Tips That Lead to Job Offers.
If you need some hope for the future, read Achieving new things doesn’t end after brain injury, and Next chapter after brain injury, am I in it now?
Have you had to similar experience when trying to return to work? Also I’d love to hear any tips on dealing with pressure after a brain injury.