‘Companies basically want someone who will work until 9 p.m. for 500 euros a month’

Job interviews are a two-way street and job candidates get a good idea of the firm and its corporate image from the person interviewing him or her. Most agree that a good interviewer doesn’t talk much but listens carefully. A poor interviewer nearly always seems bored or else talks too much. When he starts talking about himself, it is usually because he is interviewing an attractive woman. «Our parents’ generation has forgotten what it’s like to be an outsider. We want a starting chance,» said Dionysia, 27, a graduate in public relations who has gone on about 10 job interviews. «When the process drags on, it’s very demoralizing. I’ve had to go through repeated interviews and tests over a four-month period at one firm. I would wait by the phone for it to ring. I appreciate it when the interviewer is polite and friendly, treats me with respect and makes me feel at ease yet keeps the appropriate distance. I want to be asked appropriate questions, even if they are difficult, but not for someone to underestimate me or assume a superior manner to lower my morale. I remember one interview that went on for two hours. Just chatting, nothing at all serious. The director almost monopolized the conversation and kept saying how he wanted to work with ‘beautiful people.’ Another typical example I remember was an interviewer who was probably trying to find out if I was likely to get bored and eventually leave, because my CV indicated I was overqualified. So why did they call me in? Anyway, what company doesn’t want someone who is more capable than they expect?» Dimitris, 28, said companies basically want someone who will work until 9 p.m. for 500 euros a month, who doesn’t care about money but just wants to learn the work. Having completed postgraduate studies, he is looking for a job in human resources, and so far has been to eight interviews. «I apply for every job I see advertised that is in my field of expertise. The longest interview I have had lasted 50 minutes, the shortest less than 10 minutes. That was the final interview with the general director of a multinational company. I think he was in a hurry because we hardly had time to say anything. Generally, most interviewers seem to have read my CV. Some take notes and listen carefully. Others seem bored and want to finish up quickly with just the formalities. All of them say they’ll be in touch but that has only happened once, by letter. I was impressed, even if it was only a formality. The worst was once when I was told the interviewer would be with me ‘in a minute’ and I ended up waiting an hour. I don’t really think they can get to see what I am like during an interview.» Antonis, 31, was once asked by an interviewer if he was an «opportunist,» and if he was, then he wasn’t wanted. He is already working in the field for which he was trained, economics, but is trying to get a better position. Since the beginning of his career, he has been to 30 interviews. «The shortest was just five minutes. The interviewer hadn’t read my CV and talked about another job that I hadn’t applied for. There was some embarrassment, and he apologized, saying his secretary had mixed them up and that he would call me back. He never did.» «The best was with a multinational with just a small branch in Greece. The interviewer talked to me as if I were a friend – that helps you open up… Unfortunately, very few firms bother about candidates’ professional qualifications.»