(Note: the following is a transcript of a job interview between myself and a consulting firm in the city. The following was recorded on my smart phone which was in my pants pocket, so parts of the interview are indecipherable. In these instances I have tried to piece it together to the best of my recollection).
SCENE: I sit at a table in a conference room in a high-rise office block in the city. It is approaching noon and the weather outside is clear and moderate. Seated opposite me are two people. One is an overweight man with numerous chins and thinning white hair. He is the manager. The other is a woman who has the fresh-faced naiveté of a recent university graduate. She is in Human Resources. Handshakes and dull pleasantries have been exchanged and now the interview begins.
WOMAN: Thanks for coming in.
ME: Not a problem. Thanks for seeing me.
WOMAN: Before we get started, I just want to assure you that this will be a less formal interview than perhaps you’re accustomed to doing.
MAN: Absolutely. We really just want to chat about the role and your expectations.
ME: No sweat.
WOMAN: Alright. Well, why don’t you tell us about yourself?
ME: You mean personally or professionally?
WOMAN: Both, if you like!
ME: Okey dokey. Well, I have a young family, I enjoy sports, sex and photography.
MAN (blushing): Sorry? Did you just say you enjoy sex?
ME: I think so. Problem?
WOMAN: It is. Not exactly an appropriate topic of discussion at a job interview.
ME: Oh. Sorry. I thought this was informal and off-the-cuff. I was feeling rather relaxed actually. Apologies.
MAN: No problem. Please go on.
ME: Right. As I said, I enjoy sports and photography and socializing with humans.
MAN: How about your work history. It says here on your CV that you worked over in London? How’d you find that?
ME: I headed to Amsterdam and turned left! He he. No really, the pilot did all the work.
Man and woman exchange the first of many perplexed glances.
ME: But seriously, it was great. I worked in Watford and we lived in Notting Hill.
WOMAN: The Hugh Grant experience!
ME: I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about, and take great personal offense to the remark.
MAN: Am I smelling alcohol on your breath?
ME: Perhaps. I had an early lunch of steak with a red wine reduction. It was delicious.
MAN: Smells more like beer.
ME: Oh! I had three pints of Heineken as well. Just wanted to calm those nerves a bit.
WOMAN: This is most unusual.
MAN: Tell us what you hope to bring to the role.
ME: A nervous energy? Umm…I’m very good at working in a team. I like to let others take the reins a bit, then I step in when the job’s nearly finished and wrangle the credit.
MAN: Excuse me?
ME: Don’t sweat the technique. It’s made me the man I am before you on this very day.
WOMAN: What do you consider your strengths?
ME: The aforementioned nervous energy, for sure. An unbridled sexuality.
WOMAN: This is ridiculous. Do you actually want this role?
ME: Like nothing I’ve ever wanted before.
MAN: Then I suggest you stop clowning around and start taking this seriously. If not, this interview ends.
ME: Got it.
WOMAN: Your strengths?
ME: Time management, reliability, punctuality, efficiency, communication…
MAN: Those are all nice but it sounds rather vague.
ME: Manager-speak, innit.
WOMAN: Okay. Interview’s over. You have completely wasted our time.
I stand up to shake the hand of the man. He shoots me a disapproving glare.
ME: Let’s talk salary. I’m thinking somewhere in the high nineties as a starting point. Yeah?
WOMAN: Good day, Mister _______.
ME: Okay. I get it. I’ll dance with you. Ninety-one thousand per annum, but no lower. I’ve got kids to feed after all, and this drinking habit doesn’t fund itself.
MAN: Please leave.
WOMAN: Reception will validate your parking.
ME: Cool. I took the train, but okay.
The man puts his hand out to shake it, being careful to not make eye contact with me. He catches a glance at my cheek and stares.
MAN: What is that shaved into your face?
WOMAN: Looks like the word ‘slave’.
ME: I’m a big Prince fan.
ME: Or is it Love Symbol? I can never keep up with trends.
MAN: You need professional help.
ME: Look forward to hearing from you.
(EPILOGUE: The company did not offer me a position with their firm. I called them numerous times and even stood outside the building one morning and shouted to them from the street below. I think I swore too much, which probably put them off. My job search continues.)