Something I did make time for: eating chocolate and reading a book while soaking in the jacuzzi tub in my hotel room. Oh yes! I would have liked to add "drinking a glass of wine" to that mix, but I was being very well-behaved. I do love a good bath, even if the jets on this one were out of control - not that they were all that hard, but they created an almighty splash all over the bathroom! Oh well! It was, in fact, hard to leave my posh "luxury suite" in a chic but quiet central Brussels neighbourhood. I'm not accustomed to travelling in luxury (my next stop was a dingy dorm room in Bruges), but the IIO were picking up the tab :D
I also made it down to the Grande Place three times - not hard, since it was close by and it is just stunningly beautiful. My night photos didn't come out very well, but I was lucky to be able to swing by to take some snaps in the some late-afternoon sunshine after the test day. The city in general looked very nice with the snow, especially when it was sunny, although it was quite treacherous to walk on the icy pavements.
As for the interview, it was pretty much your standard 5-person panel affair. I felt like I talked a bit too much and said things I didn't mean to, especially about my last job (I didn't slag anyone off or anything like that, but I didn't mean to say anything about how we all got let go, and it just came out somehow). I was glad that I'd studied up on the history of the IIO and so forth, as they did ask, and I was also able to slip in a couple of questions of my own which showed I'd done my homework. I just wish people would actually ask about your skills and why you'd be good for the job instead of all of those "what would you do if this happened" or "tell me a time when you had this problem", because no matter how many interview guides I read or times I practice, I seem to either get stuck for an answer or feel I'm coming across as insincere, or say something I didn't mean to. I suppose from their point of view that's the idea, but it is frustrating.
So anyway, I suppose it was pretty average across the two days, apart from the good result on the French test, so I don't really have high hopes, especially since a couple of the candidates already had some sort of IIO connections. Still, it was a nice free trip and an interesting experience, and as I said last time, I think I did well to get down to the final 5. I got an email from another Brussels-based international organisation recently, saying that it would take them longer to draw up a shortlist because they got almost 300 applications. The IIO is way bigger, more important, and better-known than that place, so I can only imagine they got hundreds of applicants too!
|This creeps me out, because I could have sworn this was a real woman, but she seems to have morphed into a lace-making soul-sucking demon mannequin while I wasn't watching|
|The very beautiful Grande Place - third time was the charm for photos with blue skies|
|Staute of King Somebody (I think). Informative stuff, as usual|
|My cushy hotel room|
|An amusing chip shop sign|
|I actually took this photo of the Mannekin Pis on my last trip to Brussels in 2007. This time, he was just in boring undressed mode|
|A pretty shopping arcade near the Grande Place|
|The pretty Notre Dame du Sablon church, as viewed from my hotel room windows|