Job interview. Room, oversized and occupied by a leather-bound desk, two men (both dressed in immaculate black pin-striped suits) and three chairs. Paintings – what look like museum pieces – litter the walls, hung in a higgledy-piggledy fashion. Clumsy. No one says a word.
I smile, nervously fiddle with my tie. They motion, both of them, with hands, fingers splayed towards the chair nearest to me. I notice the carpet then, a swirling pattern that, if placed on a paving slab by a pub could be mistaken for a pool of congealing vomit. No one says a word.
I sit, thankful to take the weight off my feet and to give the spinning world a chance to calm down and synchronise with my head. I breath, deeply. They smile, show teeth yellow and irregular. I return a dazzle at them, wondering if I have lettuce stuck in my teeth. Does my breath smell of coffee? Cigarettes? Last night's alcohol? No one says a word.
And they come, pouring forth like floodwaters, like molten lava over a village: the questions.
- Why did you apply?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- What aspects of your last job did you dislike and why?
- Three words to describe yourself
- What's the biggest team you've led to date?
I feel like I'm seeing things sideways. I'm listing. Panic sets in, stomach acid burns my throat and I struggle to speak. Epiglottis flapping, like I'm choking. I breath, calm. No one says a word.
I answer the questions. I answer them all, diligently.
It's now a case of waiting and seeing what comes of it.