See part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.
by I.T. Jobseeker
My interview suit got a rare outing last week. A company needed an analyst to provide cover for a lady on maternity leave. The benefits were contractor and the pay was permy, but needs must and it was only for a year, after all.
I spent some time thinking of the things that might come up at the interview, referring to the job spec the agency had supplied. I had studied the company's website and came up with a few questions from me for the 'do you have anything to ask us?' bit that comes at the end of all interviews. I thought that I was well prepared when I set off to meet them, I had rehearsed all the questions they could possibly ask, except for the 'killer' question. Surely nobody would ask it? Not in this climate to somebody in my position? Not for a temporary job! My circumstances were clear from my C.V. and the agency had told them why I was available immediately. I put it out of my mind.
Far Fields Financials are situated in a recently developed business park in a remote part of South East England. After two buses, a train and another bus, followed by a ten-minute walk, I arrived long before my appointment, dreading the prospect of being late. It had taken almost two hours. If I got the job, I would need to buy a second car, I thought. My wife uses the one we have for her work.
The business park seemed to be there because a farmer, who, frustrated by his dealings with the The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food , had decided that low-rise office blocks were the way forward and had pocketed the proceeds of the family farm before heading off to the Bahamas. Who could blame him? A cow in a nearby field eyed me curiously and mooed as I headed towards Far Field's offices and the door marked 'Reception'.
Eventually a bearded, casually dressed man approached as I sat in the waiting area.
'I.T. Jobseeker?' he said, offering his hand. 'Gordon Bennet, head of systems development here at Far Fields.'
'Good to meet you', I replied, maintaining eye contact, a firm but not crushing grip in my handshake.
I followed him to the interview room, making the usual small talk. We were joined by Alistair, a senior analyst.
The interview was going quite well. The usual competency based stuff with Gordon Bennet asking most of the questions. I was relaxed and felt confident in my answers, Alistair nodding approvingly on many occasions.
Then, out of the blue, I was asked: 'What attracted you to Far Fields Financials as a company you would want to work for?'
'Well...' I knew the answer, of course. But why didn't he?
My head told me to say something like: 'I have followed the company's progress with interest over many years. I have admired the levels of customer service which have become a benchmark for the industry as a whole'.
My heart wanted to say: 'Are you having a laugh? Why do you think that I'm prepared to travel to this pimple on the backside of the back of beyond for the sort of money you want to pay?
My mouth said something that was a mix of the two, but I fear the heart featured rather too much in the final answer that was liberally sprinkled with 'Um's' and 'Er's'.
The agency rang yesterday. I didn't get the job.