Friday, June 10, 2011

Assessed by Emirates

Now that almost 2 weeks have gone by, I think I can finally write about my interview with E Airlines. Before anyone gets too excited, I didn't get the job, actually, didn't even make it to the second round of interviews, and yes, I was crushed. Let me set the stage a bit and share what happened.

First, you have to understand that I've been job hunting now for almost 5 months ... 5 MONTHS! I send out probably 3-5 CVs each week to various positions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and have had very little interest, which has been frustrating, embarrassing and humbling. So, when E Airlines invited me to participate in an assessment, I was jumping for joy. Not only because someone was interested in my resume, but because the job sounded right up my alley - Manager of their Leadership Training team. The bad news was they invited me at the end of April for the assessment day at the end of May. I had a long month to wait. But, a week or so later, things started looking up as I got 4 different contacts from 4 different recruiters about 4 potential training management jobs. I was stoked and figured things were finally starting to move ... it was just a blip apparently.

On Sunday, I headed for Dubai International Airport and the E airlines headquarters for my 'assessment'. I tried to do some online research to figure out what this assessment would be, but only found references to flight crew interviews. I guessed that maybe it was some kind of language assessment? The assessment was scheduled for 9am on Sunday and if I made it through the assessment, I would go for interviews and psychometric tests (personality tests) on Monday. I cockily figured I'd be making two trips to Dubai, which was good because it would give me a taste of the commute I'd have once I got the position. (I know, I've never had a problem with confidence. :)

The assessment wasn't a language test, but was instead an hour to prepare a 15 minute presentation to the leaders of the airline. Actually, it was fun and I think I did okay. It was nice to have something work related to think about. In fact, being in the Corporate headquarters and talking with the other 4 candidates made me again realize how much I miss working. I'm one of those lucky dorks who really loves what she does. :) Oh, and I didn't mention that there were 5 of us altogether who went through the process of the day. Kinda weird to meet your competition. While the presentations were going on the rest of us waited in the lobby and of course, got to know one another (we're training managers, of course we were talking!) One Brit from Saudi, another Brit from Abu Dhabi, an Australian from Sydney and an American from London. Quite a mix of talents and experience.

After the presentations, the 5 of us had to participate in a group discussion and then give another 10 minute group presentation to the selection committee. Then it was back to the lobby to wait for them to make their decision about who would be staying for the next day's adventures. They called us back one by one to tell us if we'd made it to the next round or not. And it became clear that I've been watching too much reality TV because all I could think of was "this is how they must feel on America's Next Top Model". :) Well, you know the punch line, they didn't ask me to stay for the second day, so I said a hasty goodbye to the group and headed out.

I was devastated. Since I haven't had a lot of interest, I had a lot riding on this interview and really felt like this was my chance to get a job. Looking back, it seems silly that I was so upset, but at the time I just felt so embarrassed and frustrated and disappointed I was really overwhelmed. I headed home and spent the rest of the day wallowing in self pity. I decided to give myself a full day of wallowing before looking on the bright side ... or maybe that was just my excuse to try a new Tiramisu recipe! :) After my 'period of mourning', I got back online and connected with the others who had interviewed. I was so humiliated that I dashed out before finding out the results of everyone else. I know, cowardly, which I can't really explain because it's not really my style, but I was just crushed to hear that I didn't even make it to the second interview.

And here's what's worse. When I connected with a few of the others, I found out that only 2 of our 5 made it through and they were the 2 who had Gulf experience and previously worked for airlines! Well duh! Pretty hard to compete with those credentials - I should have felt proud to be part of the assessment group. The other bummer is that the Australian and the American hung out in Dubai the rest of the day and had a really great time ... as I would have if I hadn't been such a big baby.

And come to find out, the job was really not worth getting upset about. The Brit from Saudi was told just this week that he was their choice, but that they have since restructured and offered the position to an internal person!! Yikes - and I was whining about my experience?! This poor guy gets through the whole process, gets his hopes up (he really wants to relocate to UAE), finds out he's been selected for the role (sort of) and then that they're dropping the whole thing.

Lesson learned: No more feeling sorry for myself or letting a rejection get me down ... oh, and I might think twice before flying with E airlines. :)

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