Wednesday, 11 November 2015

More interview techniques

Yesterday's picture reminded me that I have hardly ever had any job interviews, but the ones which I did have got me the job - well, all but one.

I was at a loose end in the 1970s, and put an advert in The Times asking for work, listing all the things I thought I could do. Bronze-casting was my main interest and skill in those days, so I concentrated on that.

Weeks went by without any response, then one day the phone rang, and someone with a very strong, Southern Irish accent asked for me. In the background were the sounds of metal being filed, bashed, and generally tinkered with - it sounded like Wayland's Smithy on a dark night.

I was asked if I wanted to be the General Manager of Dublin's only art-foundry, and if I wanted to go there for an interview to get the job. He explained that artists had tax-free status in the Republic then, which would be an added perk.

After one of the roughest crossings of the Irish Sea on record, I found myself in the Dublin office, answering technical questions correctly and accurately, so was given a tour of the workshops.

Young men glowered at me with obvious hostility as I passed by, and when we got back into the office, my future employers had remembered that they were all from just over the border in the North. It was explained that they would not take too kindly to being overseen by a twenty-something year-old Englishman, so the job offer was withdrawn. Eejits for not having worked this out before I arrived.

When I imagine fictional job interviews, I see them going something like this:

"So Tom, what would you say was your greatest weakness?"

"Optimism. I am one of those people who always see their glass as half full, so on the rare occasions when it could be described as half-empty, I am slow to pick-up on it.

I'll give you an example: I am supremely confident that I am going to get this job, and I can immediately tell from your body language that I am inspiring you all with confidence.

However, saying so will always bring about opposition in one person, who will be keen to prove me wrong, and I can see that this person is you (points to one on the panel).

I can predict though, that when you discuss this interview in my absence, the others will bring you round, and the job will be offered to me unanimously."

At this point, the panel look at each other, nod, then the Chair says:

"Nobody likes a smart-arse. Piss off."


  1. You know yourself as well as I know me.

  2. My very first interview was a total nightmare.... after that one, I was never turned-down.

  3. My first interview was at Biggin Hill aged 17yrs.
    I became an 'officer and a gentlewoman' with a handlebar moustache!

  4. After reading your posts for a couple of years I would guess you are one of those men who take better to being self employed!

    1. Yes, but I love taking orders. I have no problem with authority.