I was pleased to find I could still fit into my interview trouser suit (the grey one) and left home a mass of nerves shortly before 11am, in time for my appointment at 11:30. Of course, I had to wait a little in the central bank hall before being called, and while I did so, an older gentleman stumbled in, cradling his hand in a handkerchief, and wincing, took a seat opposite me. I asked him whether he was alright, and he told me he'd just taken a fall outside and had hurt his hand, arm and neck. I suggested we call the paramedics, but he said he didn't want a fuss and besides, lately this sort of thing seemed to happen to him more often than not. "All the more reason to have someone take a look," I said, and alerted one of the bank clerks to his condition. She brought him a glass of water and while we were trying to convince him that calling the ambulance service would be no trouble at all, the bank manager appeared on the scene, and it turned out it was him I'd come to see. So while he led the way upstairs, I explained what he'd just witnessed and he was immediately impressed. Just from this little -and for me as it turned out, fortuitous incident-, I'd already ticked the boxes of 'customer focus' and 'pro-activity'.
He led me into his office, offered me coffee, and introduced me to a teamleader (though not the one I would be reporting to if I got the job, as she had her day off) who would be conducting the interview with him. And I don't know, we seemed to have a natural rapport, and although we talked about my cv and work experience, it was all so friendly and open that we entered into a real dialogue and got on really well. We chatted amicably, the three of us, about all manner of things not just the job, but about the economy and architecture and about how I certainly didn't come across as a 47-year old, for almost two hours; after which I, remembering my next appointment at the job centre, asked them what next, how soon can I hope to hear from you? And then Erik, the bank manager, said he was sorry he couldn't decide then and there, because he was already convinced I'd be the right person for the job, but they did have a few more candidates to interview later in the week, and he'd let me know by Friday. He then walked me to the front door but didn't seem at all interested in showing me out; instead introducing me to several people on the workfloor. When I got downstairs, I asked the girl what had happened to the old man, and she said he'd sat there refusing to be seen by doctors or ambulance men, but had accepted a cup of coffee after which he'd got up and left; and Erik hazarded a guess that he'd probably been scared of losing his independence and ending up in a home if he had agreed to us calling the paramedics to the scene. Anyway, after a prolonged goodbye, I left them to get on with things and took the train back to The Hague (a 10 minute ride!).
I texted Erik en route to my next appointment, to thank him and Petra for their time and the interview and ended my message with a "Whatever happens next, I look to the future with confidence". He called back immediately to ask if I could come back for a second interview tomorrow morning, with the teamleader who was absent today, and at which he will also be present again. I said "Of course!", and so I've got another appointment there at 10am tomorrow. I think I shall wear my brown trouser suit...and then if they hire me, go out and buy a few more as at present, the grey and the brown are the only ones I have, and they do seem to have a rather formal dress code at the bank.
When I told the lady at the job centre how my job hunt had gone so far, she agreed with me that it looked promising.
Next up, dinner with some friends. I can't wait to tell them my news...although perhaps it would be best to wait until tomorrow...or Friday.