Three loud knocks jolted the interviewer out of her daze. She let out a small groan, frustrated that yet another candidate had arrived early.
She assumed they all believed that being early would win them points, but in reality it only irritated her. When she said 10.30, she meant 10.30 – not 10.20 or 10.25 or even 10.27. Every single minute of peace was vital when you had to spend your day interviewing inept, inexperienced graduates who knew all the bullshit words in the book to come off as smarter than they actually were.
“Come in,” she called through gritted teeth.
The door opened and in walked a young man – a mere boy – with too much gel in his hair and a noxious amount of Lynx under his arms.
“Hello,” she said as she reached out for a handshake. He grabbed her hand and squeezed hard, causing her to wince.
“Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity,” the boy said.
She smiled in return, not bothering to tell him that the opportunity was only given because his CV had been pulled at random from the slush pile. Instead, she simply said: “No problem, do take a seat.”
They sat and she began to sift through her paperwork. She pulled out his CV and began to scan through it. There were an awful lot of “skills” listed but very little work experience. A job in the local pub would never prepare him for a job in marketing, but she was interested to learn how he’d put a positive spin on it.
“So, what makes you think that a career in marketing is for you?”
“Marketing just seems really exciting to me, particularly digital marketing. Everyone is online these days and it’s amazing how digital marketing has blown up in the past decade. I think I’d really like to be a part of such a fast-moving industry.”
That was bullshit. But the marketing industry needed bullshitters.
Let’s cut to the chase, she thought. “And do you have much experience in marketing at all? I see you’ve worked part-time in a pub for the last 3 years.”
“Well I did spend most of my time there working behind the bar, but I got involved in marketing activities wherever I could. I had some input on flyer designs that my manager worked on. And I helped to organise some events which were designed to attract new customers.”
He told his manager that a flyer looked good and helped to rig up a sound system for an open mic night, probably. At least it was something.
“What aspects of your degree do you think could be applied to the role of Marketing Executive?”
“My degree forced me to think critically about a wide variety of literature, and I think I could translate that into thinking critically about marketing campaigns. I also completed assignments both alone and as part of a group, so I’m capable of teamwork but also able to work independently where necessary.”
She’d heard a variation of that response from every single English Literature graduate she’d ever interviewed. She scanned through his CV again, looking for something – anything – she could ask him about. Under hobbies he’d written “passionate about social media.”
“Can you elaborate on your passion for social media?” This would be interesting – what kid in their early twenties didn’t love social media?
“I’m active on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat every day. I have over 20,000 followers on Instagram and 14,000 on Twitter.”
She hadn’t been expecting that.
“Impressive. What do you post that manages to get so much attention?”
“A lot of it is motivational and inspirational content. I’ve certainly noticed that those types of post perform well on Instagram.”
She nodded, wondering whether the company could sell more bathroom suites if they posted inspirational Instagram posts. You deserve the best. Shit in a bathroom that knows it. The CEO probably wouldn’t approve that particular campaign. She held back a giggle.
Well, it seemed she’d heard as much as she needed. There was just one question to ask – one the CEO always insisted on, no matter what role they were hiring for.
“Why exactly do you want to work for Budget Bathrooms UK?”
It was a pointless question. The candidates always lied. They just wanted a job – any job. Why else would someone want to spend their days figuring out how to flog cheap bogs?
“It’s a decent salary and I really need the money. And I’ll work hard – honestly.”
She believed him. It was the first thing he’d said that she believed. She flashed him a genuine smile and nodded. “Great! I think that’s everything. Thanks for your time, I’ll be in touch as soon as I can.”
“Thank you. Hope to hear from you soon.”
She showed him to the door and they exchanged awkward smiles as he left.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she returned to her desk, picked up the phone and rang the CEO upstairs.
“I think we’ve found the right one. He’s not great, but he’s the best of a bad bunch. He’ll do.”