Wednesday, 11 October 2017

How I drank from a gravy boat in a job interview. My third worst job interview ever. #DadDirt

You know that you are a Great British Dad when... think back on the times you put yourself at physical risk to earn money for your family.

I’m still working up my courage to write about my first and second worst job interviews ever. So let’s have a crack at number 3.

It was for a headhunter firm - already alarm bells should be ringing here. The trouble with recruitment firms approaching me is that I’ve got to separate myself from feeling flattered that they’ve contacted me... from the fact that they earn their money from me being there for free.

I got to their offices in London’s trendy Oxford Street and I was obviously the first one there, because the clients - the two women from the actual company looking to hire someone - had only just settled into the bare room that was set aside for them.

The start of my interview involved choosing which was the best seat to sit on, while they were giddy to be out of their office for the day and choosing which were the best pastries to start on.

I didn’t mind any of this. It was charming to be around their glee at what their company was paying for.

Eventually it hit them that, you know, I was in there too, crowding the moment.

They suddenly seemed very guilty and offered me a coffee.


Finally, being the only person in the room not being paid to be here... I can join in and might even swing the chat around to why we’re here.

(Message to my kids - if you’re ever offered a drink in a job interview, always always go for a water. Rejecting it always goes down badly - like you’re being offish. And going for a hot drink always involves distracting business that has nothing to do with why you’re there. Milk? Sugar? Ooops I’ve spilt some... etc. etc. etc.)

“Oh, I am so sorry. We’ve only got two cups.”
Was this some kind of test?

“There’s the milk jug.”
They both giggled. I held it up - it was empty, and it was definitely a gravy boat.
This was some classy recruitment outfit.

“I think it’s a gravy boat.” I said out loud.

“You could drink it from that, if you don’t mind?”

I was in now.
There was no way I was going to back down from this.
I still don’t know where it was going, but do know this is where I double-down.

No, no sugar, thank you.
Ooops I’ve spilt some... ”

The only thing I remember from the rest of the 20 minute interview was the look on their faces as I’d break the conversation to wilfully take awkward sips of coffee from their borrowed gravy boat.

It was a sort of a wavy line where smiles should have been.

At the time, I was so eager to please that when they wanted to know if I had any questions at the end, I didn't even think to ask “How little do you care about your company that you don’t know your industry well enough to conduct a search for staff yourself?”

How little do I care about my industry that I’m relying on a company to find me a job.

Though to be fair I was all caught up in myself, stopping hot drink dribbling from the spout into my lap.

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