The big job interview is just the same

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Published: Thu 29 Oct 2020, 7:30 PM

I was invited to be in on a remote post-pandemic corporate interview the other day and the questions were exactly the same as were asked in 1970 when I got my first job.

By Bikram Vohra

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Banal, pointless and clichéd.

For starters, there is a lot of fussing around trying to get that audio-visual set up on stream and the wobbly picture to settle down and then we have the candidate appear in a screen block looking nervous as hell and we go through that ‘can you hear’ me nonsense and finally, everyone is happy they are on the same page... or frequency.

Then come the same questions that have been coming for the past 50 years.

How do you see yourself fitting into the company? (I don’t have a clue, tell me what you want me to say and I’ll say it, just give me the job, seeing as how I haven’t the foggiest where or how, did you know how to fit in when you applied?)

Why did you choose us? (Because you advertised your vacancies, you silly fellow, that’s why, bills to pay, a man has to survive, you are my CV’s 38th destination, at least it is an honest answer).

Are you a team player? (Nah, I am a lone wolf, I march to my own drumbeat, I hate teams, teams make me ill, but you know I am going to say I am the best team player in the world, I cooperate, take orders, work well with peers, love my seniors, help my juniors, everyone loves me back, they see me they say, there goes a team player if ever there was one, once the contract is signed, I shall be another little snitch letting down all my colleagues, this must rank as the dumbest question ever?).

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (Say what, I don’t know where I see myself tonight, forget a decade from now, and I am sitting here in front of you hunting for a job, what’s with this future perfect thing, why does anyone ask this question, did you guess Covid-19 was coming?).

How would you describe yourself? (I am hard-working, dedicated, loyal, honest and productive... For all this, read: I am a snivelling little lickspittle who can pull out the long knives as well as the rest of them and will have no qualms over clambering over the careers of the others to get to the top and if I have to sink my scruples like a golf ball, so there).

As for loyalty, that is only a lack of option, get the opportunity, out goes loyalty. Loyalty is just another word for lack of options.

Are you prepared to do tenures in the rural branches? (At this moment, I am prepared to sit on a tree, swim the Dubai canal in spate, and work from a cave with a candle if that is what it takes to be selected).

Are you prepared to be flexible in your salary demands? (Uh oh, they’ve already started rolling the ball down their stingy street. And they haven’t even made the offer yet).

Then the big one, the clever finale: Why should we select you, or more cleverly, why would you select you? (You really expect me to answer that honestly, I mean, really, like because I am made of sterling silver and bring a lot to the table and am to the manor born... I will be the best employee you ever selected, as a big credit your organisation… and your genius for selecting me, uh oh, the signal has broken, call systems.)

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