Tales of daily life from a 20-something Student from London.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Running the Gauntlet

The natural progression for a student, or graduate technically, after university is to get straight on the job ladder and earn some of the money that has been much fabled over the past three years. I wouldn't say I took my first tentative step straight away, but now that the kiddies (I can call them that, I'm almost 22 and I have a fancy piece of paper that says I have a degree) are nearing the end of their holidays, I kinda guess I should at least be slightly proactive, if only because it's getting slightly awkward when I turn up to the job centre without the uniform of worn-out Puma tracksuit and Reebok classics (it even feels like the children of the young-mums are giving me a stare).

Last week, I had my first interview, a group interview whittling 18 down to just 7 through a series of gruelling group tasks for a recruitment company in Islington. Now, when I say 'gruelling', I don't say it lightly. The first task involved 'selling' your partner and talking about why they should get the job. After both partners did this, presentation style infront of everyone else, they laid this bombshell on us:

"Now tell us why you should get the job instead of your partner, making note of why you're better"

Oh...oh dear. Poor old Emily, not the most confident of girls, looked up at me with her little eyes, begging me to go easy (Jesus, I'm really trying hard not to make this sound dodgy). I then had 30 seconds of almost ridiculing her infront of everybody else, so much so that, when it came to her turn, she barely had anything to say. This is what guilt feels like.

The next task involved picking a character, alive or dead, real or fictional, and in groups of 4, explaining why you should stay in the metaphorical balloon, and why whoever else should be thrown out. Poor Costas picked Henry the 8th, and the weight card was thrown at him like a ten tonne Tiramisu, legitimately giving him no choice but to throw himself out. I'll be honest, as a group, we may have ganged up on him, but when three people have picked footballers, and one has picked a Tudorian king, it's easy to find common ground.

After these tasks that separate the men from the 'those-who-cant-stick-up-for-themselves', we had the one on one interviews, never something I've struggled with. However...

"Any reason you aren't wearing a tie?" They said, not wearing ties.

"I think it show's I'm relaxed, and confident"

"Are you?"


"...You should wear a tie. You're a smooth customer, but you look cocky"

I felt anything but a smooth customer. But, after the interview, I'd obviously succeeded, as I was told it was good news, and I'd hear from them the next day. I was even told to wear a tie at the briefing day on Friday.

I am currently still unemployed.

My custom clearly needs to be less smooth.