Last week I travelled to Salford, near Manchester, for an interview at BBC Radio 5 Live.On the way up I was feeling confident. I already listen to the station, so I know the output and I’d carried out some backround research on each of the presenters. Also, I’m a bit of news junkie, always watching it on television or flicking through the papers, so if they tested me on the big events of the past few weeks I knew I’d be able to answer. And of course, I have more than a decade of experience working as a journalist, so that had to go in my favour.
That said, arriving at Media City was a little daunting. Walking past the buildings where they output BBC Breakfast, put together BBC Sport, and even film The Voice, gave a real scale of the operation that goes on there.
But seeing all that was really exciting too, and I started to imagine myself working there!
That soon changed though when I arrived at reception, 15 minutes early for my interview, to find dozens of other people waiting to be seen for the same Freelance opening I had applied for.
I calmed myself down and waited patiently to be called. Our names were read out in groups and we were ushered to a large room upstairs. As I looked around I wondered whether perhaps I’d walked into the wrong building, it felt more like a audition for the X Factor than a newsroom!!
The 65 of us were then told how the session would progress – a 30 minute written exam followed by 10 minute interviews. These were timed to the second and ended when the lights started flashing – again, very reality tv. They explained that if we were successful at completing those tasks we’d be invited back for a shadowing day at the station, before they make their final decision. (So I suppose this was bootcamp)
Worryingly, I think it may have been the 1st written test I’ve taken since leaving university, but some things never change, I still ran out of time! Stressed out, I started to chat to the other candidates as we waited for our interviews, and I finally began to relax (although that might have been due to the glass of red wine the Beeb had kindly provided for us!). Some, like me, had recently left full time jobs to go freelance while others had been self employed for years but we all had something in common, a slight feeling of nerves and a desire to work at 5 Live.
Thankfully my interview went well, and as a result my day ended much as it had started, I was feeling positive once again.
Now all I can do is wait to find out whether I’ve made it through to the next round. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
But just in case the “judges” at 5 Live are reading this I will end with the obligitory talent show plea – “This means the world to me/it will change my life for ever/I’m doing it for my mum and dad/please please just vote for me”.