Summertime usually involves enjoying a holiday rather than thinking about work. But as I’ve just published a new thriller called “After The Interview”, I find my mind drifting to the rather weird interviews I’ve experienced in the past.
I do temporary work for large companies, so I go to interviews a lot. I had so many strange ones that I actually wrote a series of blogs for a career coach friend about them – with names and places changed to protect the guilty. Here’s a selection of highlights:
A Walk in the Park
The meeting was in Guildford, a town I’d never visited before. The recruitment agent sent me to the wrong address. Having walked a mile from the station to a public park devoid of offices, I twigged what had happened, flagged down a taxi and arrived at the interview just in time. They were unimpressed that I hadn’t caught a free bus from the station, and, in fact, that I had no local knowledge of their fine town.
The interview, in a town so boring I can’t even remember its name, had already been rescheduled once at the company’s request – but not before I’d spent a large amount on non-refundable travel costs. Now, I was losing a day’s pay to see them. As I staggered out of bed early that morning, the recruitment agent phoned me. It was snowing heavily, and the company had offered to reschedule again. We were busy at work and I didn’t think I could swing a day off again (even unpaid) in the foreseeable future. I said I’d go ahead, and spent four hours travelling there, including walking a mile through foot-high snow from the local railway station to the company’s office. No taxis or buses were running. I was exhausted. So was my interviewer, the only member of staff to make it into work that day – he’d driven 100 miles in a 4x4. He didn’t offer me the job.
Mrs Jekyll and Mr Hyde
I was interviewed in London by two people, who I inwardly nicknamed Mrs Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I’d met Mr H at conferences a couple of times, and found him most affable. As an interviewer, he was aggressive and sarcastic beyond belief, in contrast to the smiley Mrs J. Once the formal interview was over, he was sweetness and light again. Mrs J later phoned to offer me the job. No one else they saw had stood up to Mr H. She also told me that, as well as being colleagues, they were a couple. This was by no means obvious when we’d met, or, later, in the workplace. Incidentally, it was a pleasure to work with both of them – Mr H obviously reserved his dark side exclusively for interviews.
After The Interview
That’s just a small selection of lowlights. It was not my own experiences, though, but a story on the social media site LinkedIn that prompted me to write “After The Interview”. Like my first book, “Up in Smoke”, it’s a thriller set in the business world I know so well. “After The Interview” focuses on two men, both hard-working, clever and driven. That’s where the similarity ends. Jed is an IT genius with a gift for music, but hopeless at dealing with people. He nearly destroys Andrew’s career when he rejects him for a job. Andrew bounces back, builds a successful business and sets out to take revenge. He almost completely succeeds…
As well as the trophy wives and jet set lives of Andrew and Jed, I explore the struggles of the underclass that serves them, the tensions between London and the provinces, and the way that small mistakes can lead to far worse – even death itself.
I’ve been encouraged by the 5 star reviews that “After The Interview” has gathered on Amazon. I wanted to produce a fast-paced, exciting read, and I believe I’ve succeeded. Why not look inside the book on Amazon (http://amzn.to/1pF4nhH) and see if you can predict how it ends?