Monday, 30 November 2009


The interview was in a building on the site.

I knew where the site was and I'd been to where the building was.

What I didn't know was that the suite I was looking for was two floors up.

So I was a teensy bit late for the interview.

I walked in to find two women sitting at a large conference table, one of whom was holding a mobile 'phone.

She put it down and told me that she was just about to call me to find out where I was.

Oh now that's a GREAT start for making a good impression.

We shook hands. Both of them commented on my very cold hands. Both asked me if I was all right and both asked if I was sure I didn't want a hot drink.

There was one of those coffee machines in the corner with the little pop open sachets and the thin plastic cups which burn your hands without a cup holder. I could see no cup holders. The drinks are not very nice and so hot that I would probably have spent the next half an hour waiting for it to cool down.

Having made a very bad first impression, I didn't want the interviewers' lasting memory of me as "that freezing, fat, redhead who showed up late and who didn't drink the coffee we gave her".

I turned down the offer and I tried to assure them that I was fine, but neither of them looked convinced.

I started to wonder if I shouldn't just give up now.

Aside: Yes, okay. I have a mild case of Raynaud's Syndrome. It's the mild, primary form. Yes, some poor creatures have to have hospital treatment and have their fingers and toes removed, but I'm not one of them.

It's a very common ailment and shouldn't be much of a talking point. My hands are cold, I'm not dying of hypothermia. It's irritating when people make a fuss of something so minor, embarrassing when I'm trying to be at my best and an apparent career killer at job interviews.

I can scare (or irritate) people when I do my impression of "the icy fingers of Death" up the back of their necks and if I had to have regular contact with people I would be worried, but as I'm not applying for such roles it's not (or, it shouldn't be) an issue.

However, it clearly is.

I sat down, with the pair of them opposite, neither of them looking too sure about me at all.

And we began.

During the interview they explained how the post works, what it would entail, what the training would consist of (trips to Stafford, mainly), where they're based (the White House(!)) and what they did.

I impressed them with my reading around the subject, the fact I had dry ran the trip to the place, was keen to get started (oh yes, definitely!) and seemed to be a bit brighter than I first appeared.

Aside: I'm really going to have to do something quite radical about my appearance. I surprise people by stringing words together sometimes. I really must appear quite retarded.

Yes.....I know......the nouns fat and stupid tend to go hand in hand. I'm going to have to do something to counter the apparent first impression people get that my IQ is somewhere in the "Two Short Planks" region.

That probably means losing weight. About 5 stones worth. I know. I know. I know.

They asked me what I thought the job would entail - after they had told me what happens

What I wanted from a career - money, mainly. I didn't say that though. I said I wanted to learn and progress and do something useful

Would I have a problem working in a place like this? - Nope. I've worked in a place like this before, have worked alongside the customers and have some general idea about the terminology

And so on. It was a fairly standard Q&A session.

They wrapped up with the usual "don't call us, we'll call yous" and we shook hands again to say goodbye. My hands still hadn't warmed up and they didn't look happy about touching me at all.

At the bus stop, waiting for the 529 back, I switched my 'phone back on.


I was a minute late. Terrific.

I went home convinced that I wasn't going to hear from them again and started applying for another job.

64. Administrative Assistant.

I answered the home 'phone at 4:30pm and had to restrain myself from screaming when I heard one of the interviewers tell me that I was provisionally being offered the job.

There would be written confirmation of the provisional offer and the offer was subject to references and an Occupational Health examination but the job was provisionally mine to be taken up at some point early in the New Year.

Great. I've been there before.

I'll keep applying for other jobs. Just in case.