Permanent link to this page

Bookmark and Share

The Modern Man's Guide to Job Interviews


1) Worry, Because Thinking In Circles Will Keep Your Mind Sharp.
The bus spasmed down First Street in fits and starts. A hideous man sat across from John, wearing a hat covered with hunting-themed pins. It was bright orange, so John knew not to shoot him.

"Lousy weather we're having, innit?" the man said. His voice was like whisky pouring over sharp rocks.

John looked away. The wobbling of the man's grey-flecked jowls was disgusting and John didn't want to think about the weather any more, but now that he'd started, he couldn't stop. If there was a practical test, his control of the pointer might not be adequately precise. He might not be able to read the TelePrompTer. He might not enunciate clearly enough. He hid his face behind his newspaper.

2) More Practice Makes More Perfect.
"We'll weather the weather whatever the weather whether we like it or not," he repeated to himself, until his lips were rubbery. He wondered what his interviewer would look like. All he knew was the name, Samuel Baker. Maybe Samuel would look like the man across from him. In that case, John would have trouble keeping eye contact, though he supposed the man's eyes were probably the easiest part of him to look at. He pulled the cord for his stop and squeezed his way to the front.

3) Take Risks To Prove You Are A Real Man.
John glanced at his watch as he shoved through the doors into the damp air. The flashing red hand told John that walking was a bad idea, but he dashed to the other side and suffered a brief panic attack as punishment. After twelve deep breaths while visualizing his parents' cottage in Muskoka, he looked up at the child's building blocks of the TV station logo with a clear head. He expected the building to be warm and cozy inside, like a nursery, but instead the lobby was almost frigid enough for John to see his breath.

4) Your Interview Starts In The Interview Room, Not Before.
"Why is it so cold here?" John asked.

"It makes the computers run faster," said the receptionist, who had a tag that read 'Anna' on one of her sizable breasts.

John looked at her tag quite a bit little longer than he needed to.

"Don't people mind?"

"No," said Anna. "We're used to it. Fast computers are really important in television." She shrugged, and John watched, enthralled, as the rolling swell of her bosom subsided.

"You can wait in the interview room," she said.

5) It's Okay To Badmouth The Boss If Someone Else Does It First, Even If They Might Be Kidding.
He opened the door and a blast of warmth greeted him. It was eerily quiet inside. The walls were white and gently curved and the lights cast weird shadows. He felt like he was inside a hot-air balloon, maybe one of those blue ones he kept seeing lurking in the grey sky wherever he went.

A red-eyed intern with shaggy hair came in and offered John a glass of lukewarm water, then surreptitiously held out his hand. John looked at the long lifeline in the wrinkle-free skin with jealousy and then put a dollar in the boy's palm.

"They don't pay you much here?"

"Nope," said the intern. "Squat."

"Typical." John excavated in the pocket of his navy suit and gave the intern the rest of his change, two quarters and a penny. "Maybe you can tell me. Why is it so warm in here? Anna told me it's cold everywhere because of the computers."

"Nope, Samuel Baker just really digs seeing Anna's nipples through her blouse," said the intern. "She's never been anywhere else. Just the reception area. So as far as she knows, she's telling the truth."

"Samuel Baker seems like a pretty cold fish," said John.

The door whispered open and the nurse wheeled a wizened homunculus of a man into the room. She smelled of chamomile. He didn't. He wasn't as flat-out grotesque as the man on the bus but there was something about him that made John very nervous. His arms were drawn up like a preying mantis. The nurse curtsied and left. She held the door for the intern, who turned and winked at John on his way out.

6) Arrogance Is Attractive To Everyone, Not Just Loose Women John stood.
"Samuel Baker, I presume?" He stroked his nearly frictionless cheeks. Today he had paid $20 for a Turkish barber to shave him with a straight razor.

"Of course I'm Samuel Baker. Let's get on with this. What would you say is your greatest weakness, John…" the man glanced at the clipboard attached to his wheelchair. "Montgomery."

"I'm a perfectionist. I get carried away and work too hard."

"You and every 16-year old McDonald's fry cook in North America, John Montgomery. Besides your flawless attention to detail and superhuman drive, why do you think you're qualified to be a weatherman?"

"I pick things up easily."

"I don't," said Samuel. "I have Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that is characterized by rapid progression of muscle degeneration, eventually leading to loss in ambulation, paralysis, and death."

7) Mistakes Show You're Human. Make At Least One.
"Isn't that Cystic Fibrosis?" "No." "Are you sure?" "Quite sure."

Jeremy Hanson-Finger attends Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, where he is one of the founding co-editors of the Moose & Pussy, the university's only literary erotica magazine.