Interview 1 Pt. 1

Jobtitle: Graduate Scheme                             Company: Bradford Outsource


SAOC – Self Assessment of Chances
MiR – Mood in Room.

14:01 I park my bike up outside a building that I think is the correct building.  It is so windy the trees look like they are underwater and my hair is everywhere.  Two men walk past me, laughing.  I think they’re laughing at me but then think that that’s quite a vain thought so resolve to think its just good hearty laughter.  Even though they’re both looking at me.  They are not the prettiest twosome.

14:03 Enter building.  The entrance is marble, as promised, but is contrived so as to make the marble look cheap.  I dawdle behind one of the laughing men who has got to the desk ahead of me.  He has spiky hair and is small. When I get to the receptionist with the star-trek eyelashes and cervically pink lips I ask whether this isn’t the Bradford Outsourcing building.  It is!  I am doing well.  She gives me a sheet to fill in and tells me to go through to the waiting room.

14:04 I walk past the short, spiky haired boy and his cohort who we’re going to call Goofy and whose features are splayed across his face in the same way a premature babies’ are.  They are laughing conspiratorially again.  It is now harder to believe they aren’t laughing at me.  The room is just round the corner and has thirteen people in it.  Even though very loud dubstep is thrilling through the room the floor clicks conspicuously as I walk across it.  Everyone in the room is hostile.

14:06  With my own pen (pilot G2, a worldbeating pen) I fill in the sheet that the receptionist gave me.  The sheet is very easy.  I ask the lady next to me what she put in as her career ambition so as to make conversation.

Lady:  You just take it to the woman at reception.
No I know, but what did you put in the ambitions box?
Lady:  Oh on the form?
Yes, in the career ambitions box.
Lady:  Just that I wanted to reach my best potential.
In what?
Lady:  In anything, just whatever my career is I just want it to reach my best potential
Ok.  I put that I want to be liked.  Universally liked.
Lady:  Oh ok, that’s a good one.
You think?
Lady:  Yeah.

Aside from people being called away this exchange is the only exchange of words between anyone for the entire time I am in the waiting room.

14:07 I hand the form to the receptionist and ask how long she thinks it’ll be before my interview.  She tells me I am third in the list.  This, I will discover, is a lie.  I walk past Spiky & Goofy again.  They are now openly laughing at me.  I notice that Spiky’s hair is so thin and artlessly spiked that you can see his scalp and I think he must be very ill and that his illness must be essentially moral.

14:09 Back in the waiting room I have slouched into 1/13 black canvas tub-chairs in what I think is a professionally neutral cross legged manner.  Curiously, every chair is ripped in exactly the same place. The walls of the room used to be white.  The ceiling is tiled with whatever is marginally less deadly than asbestos and the light is fluorescent.  Including myself there are 8 men in the room and 5 women. Of the eight men I am the only one whose hair exceeds one inch.  5/8 men’s heads are shaven or have been shaved in the past month.  Shoes are universally bad.

14:11  I take a few seconds to assess my competition.  One man’s face is undulating unnervingly as he genuinely reads a newspaper.  The word that best describes the undulation is awesome.  Next to him sits a girl who fills her suit to the seams, is wearing Jarvis Cocker glasses and is pretending to read.  Sleepy Monobrow slumps in his chair as if he’s awaiting results in the clinic after his friends egged him on to do things with a girl in Amsterdam that his mother would not be able to bear knowing the details of.  After nearly making eye-contact with Sleepy I become fascinated by my cuticles.  SAOC: Fair.

14:17  The man with the undulating face has been called.  The interviewer was awash with charm and easy handshakes and Undulate was suddenly animated and threw himself into the handshake with gusto.  A new woman walks mantis-like across the clicking floor and sits in Undulate’s old chair.  She is wearing a velveteen flower the size of a dinner plate in lieu of a belt buckle and shoes designed by a masochistic Willy Wonka.  She has an underdeveloped chin and a toothy pout.  She will be called Sneery.

14:19  The woman who wants to reach her best potential is called.  I wonder: ‘Why Dubstep?’

14:23 I complete the inventory of the room:

  • 1x sensitive looking blue-eyed boy (defining fiddle – thumb twiddle),
  • 1x shifty looking fellow who gives the impression he’d try and fuck you if no-one were looking*,
  • 1x Cameron Thomas (read from tattoo on arm),
  • 1x delicately pretty girl,
  • 1x cage fighter with arm in cast,
  • 3x unreadable Asians.

SAOC: Good.

14:25  I realise that I have made my foot numb by sitting in the professionally neutral cross legged manner.  I look around the room to see that I am the only one who has adopted the pose, every other male sitting defactorially.  MiR: bored.

14:27  One of the unreadable Asians is called.  Her name sounds like the word: vagina.  No-one laughs or exchanges looks.

14:29 I examine the three pastel Rothkos that are mishung on the walls and stare for a while at a desultory and yellowing cactus that is slowly dying in the corner.  From where I am sitting I can see the corridor.  In comparison to the people in the room the people in the corridor so animated as to appear to be from a different planet entirely.

14:30 An Asian man wearing a chequered shirt that would hurt your television enters.  Sleepy Monobrow is feeling at his face and I take the opportunity to note that of the 6/8 men are playing with their faces.  I remember reading that playing with your face is a gesture of reassurance and so a sign of inner turmoil.  SAOC: Improved.

14:33 A blonde woman with a pronounced smirk enters.  There are no tub-chairs left so she leans restlessly against a wall.  MiR: hostile.

14:36 A woman whose outstanding feature is a kind of black plastic portfolio case walks out of the room without being called.  I assume she has tired of waiting and is going back to whatever it is she normally does.

14:37 Cameron Thomas and another man are called.  Cameron Thomas is not called Cameron Thomas as his tattoo led me to believe.  He is called Ryan.  You get the sense, when people are called from the room that you will never see them again, one way or the other.

14:39 Sneery is called.  Her shoes look like they want to hurt me.  I realise that the room is so horrible that it makes everyone look seedy.  SAOC: So so.

14:44 Smirky Bentmouth accidentally makes a noise with her shoes and Bighead (a new entry, unremarked) turns to look at her but Smirky is pretending to look at the ceiling.  Smirky Bentmouth knows Bighead is looking at her but will not look back from the ceiling until Bighead looks away.  Bighead looks away.

14:45 Sulky Blue-eyes takes his phone from his inside jacket pocket and looks at the time and then looks at the ceiling despairingly and rearranges his arms into a full-on FOLD.

14:47 I catch myself playing with my face.  SAOC: Poor.

14:48 I myself am called.

*Whether you were man, woman or beast of the field.


On to INTERVIEW 1 PT. 2 ?

  1. #1 by Mark G on August 9, 2011 - 9:46 am

    This sounds an awful lot like a very surreal ‘interview’ that I attended once. I responded to an advert in the paper for ‘management trainees’. I was asked to attend an assessment day at a very non-descript office on the outskirts of Manchester city centre. In the office was a receptionist and one flash harry from VX Marketing (or something like that) who were doing the recruitment (why would a marketing company do recruitment?) for a power company I’d never heard of. About 20 of us were shoved into a room why we were talked at about what was expected of us and what a great opportunity this would be. We then had to fill in a lot of paperwork and then be called through one by one for five minute interviews with the annoying man. Later in the day we had to call back to see if we were being progressed; I was not. The whole thing seemed more dodgy than the singers of Good Enough (a single I had on tape after finding it in a caravan, but I digress) leading me to think it was all some kind of scam. I just can’t figure out how.

  2. #2 by Ant Innit on August 9, 2011 - 11:11 am

    so, I guess you got the job, huh?

  3. #3 by Jacob on December 5, 2011 - 11:05 pm

    Liking the blog!

    However, I’m not sure I like “three unreadable Asians.” Was the only thing you observed about them the very broad ethnic category you think they belonged to? Other people in your account seem to warrant more careful description. Just wondering why that is…

  1. Eight « Curriculum Vitae

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