“Be there at ten on Friday morning”, said the agency bloke — yup, the same one who sent me off to do door-to-door charity mugging over Christmas. At least he didn’t try to cover up the fact that this was going to be another selling job and since I went along with it I’ll stop maligning the man.
So, I turn up at ten past, great start but ‘who cares’ I thought. Unfortunately I’m not there late enough to avoid the round table ‘introduce yourselves to the group’ session that was in full flow. I’d walked into a group interview. The other candidates were a recent graduate who wanted to be a runner, (everyone’s a media wannabe!), she sat next to a man who up until a week ago had been a BBC researcher down at the Pebble Mill … huh! There was another recent graduate who’d come over from Ghana to study business, an ex-shop assistant who couldn’t remember whether he’d worked for Dixons or Comet (!), yet another graduate who’d just come back from backpacking around somewhere purporting to be far-flung and a Terratorial Army (TA) bloke from Lichfield.
We were led off to be interviewed individually, which was quite a lengthy process which involved answering questions like, ‘describe a time when you’ve been in an awkward situation and how did you resolve it?’ … I was tempted to answer ‘ Now! and I’m going to run away’ … but I didn’t. Anyway, the interview finished and we were led off to the next stage — the roleplay session.
So, here’s the situation, I was to pretend to be a DVD player salesman who’s just phoned Robinson Crusoe on his desert island and need to convince him that he should buy a ‘Panasony DVD player for ??79.98’. Of course Robinson hasn’t been around for a while and so doesn’t know anything about DVDs, CD’s, remote controls or even Pot Noodles. Needless to say that I didn’t make the sale.
Eventually, we were led back to a room in which our team playing abilities were tested — apparantly, we were on a sinking ship and had a number of items with us which we had to put in order of importance given that we were going to be on a life raft for an unknown period of time … in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Apart from me thinking who I’d cast in the movie, ‘The Interview that never Ended’, the TA bloke naturally decided to take over and the rest of the bunch were quite happy to let him. To be fair he was spot on with his choices and his reasoning but I did argue against him for the sake of arguing regarding a 160 bars of chocolate. Sometimes you just have to make a stand.
movie … urm … interview did end and we were given the results. The wannabe runner, the TA bloke and myself were offered the job. We were underwhelmed. Indeed, upon being informed as to how he’d done at the interview, the ex-BBC bloke bounded into the room and shook our hands heartily, grinning with relief as he told us he’d failed it. So it’s entirely possible that from next Monday onwards you may be the lucky, lucky recipient of a phone call from somewhere in Birmingham offering you something you never knew you needed.
I promise to quitely hang up, without another word, if you shout, ‘My name is Robinson Crusoe, get me out of here’.