Interview with the Shirt Nazi

Not so long ago, I had an interview for this graduate scheme-type job with a financial company. I was quite excited as this was the first graduate scheme interview I’d had and I thought I was in with a chance. As soon as I arrived I knew I had no chance. The office was full of identical, tall, dark-haired men all wearing white shirts and toothy grins, and the candidates waiting alongside me…. Well, where to begin?

First of all there was the obligatory Adrian Mole look-alike – straight out of university like 5 minutes ago with perfect slick down hair and a pristine suit (I was in my lunch hour and had bits of baguette stuck to my tie), then there was a girl. The girl seemed pleasant enough, but judging by the gorgeous, yet brainless, goddess behind reception I figured that Ms. Average was unlikely to get a look in here. Then there was a tall dark-haired bloke with a toothy grin. Mmm…place your bets ladies and gentlemen. All three of them clutched leather bound CVs, were dressed immaculately and looked clean. I, on the other hand, clutched a bag of crisps, a can of lemonade (look, we’re talking about my precious lunch hour here, OK?). I was dressed OK but I had been out on the lash the night before so looked…interesting. Sick of going to job interviews and thinking, “Oh why do I always get it wrong?”, I decided to brazen this one out. I mean, surely my sparkling personality and my individuality (the other applicants all looked like triplets) would shine through and ensure me a position. Well, surely?

Clean-cut boy was first up, so off he went through to meet Bill (or was it Bob? Look it was just a REALLY office-type name, OK?) The rest of us sat there. Adrian Mole was shaking, Ms Average was smoothing out the creases in her tights and I was sipping my lemonade thinking, “I have got NO chance”, which of course made me want the job even more. I was also dying to get outside and finish my flipping lunch before I had to get back to work.

A few minutes passed and out comes Clean-Cut looking chuffed and winking at the receptionist. “You will SO fit in,” thought I. I was next so through I go, down this corridor and then am lead into quite a large room with lots of desks in it and loads of those water coolers that temp agencies always have. There were lots more of those identical blokes, all wearing really bad ties, but quite probably younger than I was.

‘Bob’ motioned for me to sit at this desk alongside him. I saw him eye my spiky hair and purple shirt with a look I could not distinguish between amusement and mistrust. He then launched into the “ethics” of the company and how rich, big and fan-bloody-tastic it was. This was OK, I mean run of the mill stuff for a job interview. He was a bit full on, (i.e. “This company is really a way of life as opposed to a job.”) but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

Until, that is, he started to draw on this big piece of paper which was covering the whole desk. I looked down at the desk and saw he was drawing diagrams of people whilst describing the structure of the company. He was also writing down alternate words that came out of his mouth, for example, ‘benefits’, ‘large’ and even ‘job’. Did I look stupid? Did I really need diagrams of matchstick men to understand what ‘personnel’ meant? He also started going on about the selection process, which involved exams, presentations and five-hour seminars. I would only get to the further stages, ‘Bill’ said, if I “made him believe I was worth it and showed him I really wanted it.” Fair enough but the job was selling insurance. Bit difficult to get really excited about that one, ‘Bob’. Despite the man’s claims that there was “money to be made here” I was not convinced. The most worrying thing was when he leaned over and said, “We wear white shirts here, that’s just the way we like it, very well presented.”

I couldn’t move fast enough. On the way out I looked at the 2 victims waiting to go in and wondered what he would draw for them.

Strangely enough, I actually got a callback for that job, but I missed the dizzy heights of Stage 2. Ah well, I don’t like white shirts anyway…