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Weird Job Interviews #1: Sex, Drugs And Tile Merchants

by James Patchett
30 January 2012 2 Comments

What happens when weird job interviews get weirder at a tile merchants who delight in conducting a contrived routine in order to ask bizarre and far too personal questions?

If hell was real and on Earth, it would manifest itself as a place filled with coloured tiles on wall hangings that never, ever change.

When I moved home from university at the end of May it wasn’t in particularly brilliant circumstances, my girlfriend had done one and I had no money or job prospects. Nevertheless I got home and got settled in and immediately set about looking for a job and have been doing so ever since.

What you are about to read are the accounts (admittedly from my point of view) of some of the best interviews (worst interviews) I have had to endure since I moved home. You seriously couldn’t make some of this shit up. I think I might even do some crude drawings to go along with them. Enjoy, admittedly at my expense, but enjoy.

I set about looking on the Internet for a job and on the recommendation of my sister I applied for a job titled ‘Editorial Manager’ at Porcelain Tiles Ltd in Langley Moor near Durham. As far as I could tell the work was going to involve writing articles about tiles, basically, to bombard the Internet with articles about tiles – articles that involve words like ‘tiles’ and ‘porcelain’ occurring over and over again in order to maximise SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – and tweeting and blogging and all that shit, all about tiles.

So anyway, I sent my CV and expertly written cover letter and landed myself an interview with the tile magnate – my first interview since my first interview ever in Janurary fro DigitalSpy, which coincidentally I botched.

I turned up for the interview on a sunny June afternoon all smartly dressed and what not. I got there early and stood in reception, a small room with two vending machines, some tiling equipment for sale on racks and a sort of call centre/office section and told one phone girls that I had an interview. She pottered off to let them know I had arrived and then they made me wait about 20 minutes because one of their mates turned up and went straight through to the office for a bloody chat.

I didn’t mind though, I just waited patiently.

Then I got to go through for the interview and boy was I in for a treat.

I sat down with the two blokes who explained they were the ones who owned the business and the fabulous warehouse of all things tile that I was sitting in. They said it was just a casual chat to see whether we’d get on, whether I was right for the role and all that stuff – I now realise that this is a ploy to lure you into a false sense of security before systematically laying into not only you personally, but your entire generation.

They had this good cop, bad cop routine going on with me. Except the good cop was just a genuinely nice bloke and the bad cop was a prick. There was no routine about it really; I imagine that’s how it goes down every day in that place.

I forget exact details now but I didn’t give myself the best start to the interview by saying things like, “No, I don’t like Sunderland and I didn’t particularly enjoy going to the university there. In fact in first year I tried to switch to a university in Newcastle but they made it difficult for me so in the end I just stuck it out for three years.” Fair enough, I see the error of my ways – you’re supposed to just lie, right?

They had this good cop, bad cop routine going on with me. Except the good cop was just a genuinely nice bloke and the bad cop was a prick. There was no routine about it really; I imagine that’s how it goes down every day in that place.

Bad cop glares at me a bit, huffs and says, “How old are you?” (He’s got my CV in his hand) I answer,

“I’m 21” – then he takes a minute, glares at me a bit more and says,

“Hmph. Well you look older.”

What do you say to that? What does that even mean? But as if that wasn’t enough to make me think ‘eh?’ he gets to the real questioning.

“So I bet you go out at the weekends then?” he asks.

“Yeah, I enjoy getting out when I can.” I reply.

“Do you drink?” he asks, getting quite accusing.

“About as much as anyone else does.” I answer.

“Take pills?” – he asked that, I shit you not. I’m honestly not making this up. I obviously answered no. Which is true I don’t but even if I did… I mean… what? What kind of interview is this?

Obviously not satisfied with my answer that I don’t take pills he went on to rhyme off a list of narcotics before asking whether I took any of them – whizz, coke and weed all earning their places on the list. You could tell by his tone and reaction to my answers that he didn’t believe me anyway. By this point I was looking shiftily from bad cop to good cop, who until this point had been very quiet, for some support.

Then he started asking whether I had a girlfriend and all of this. Honestly it couldn’t have got any weirder at that point and considering my circumstances at the time I was getting extremely uncomfortable with his line of questioning. All of this torture for tiles!

Then what happened? Oh yes. Good cop (you little beauty) pipes in, saying that he was dead impressed with my blog and thought it was very funny, which is always nice to here. He starts quoting, from his laptop, a line from a post I wrote called Masturbation;

“Failing that, if you’re desperate, you could always nip in your local GP’s on your way back from the Job Centre and see if you can get your sticky fingers on any jazzy leaflets on sexual health they’ve got lying around the place – just in case you’ve forgotten what a cross-sectioned vagina looks like and what your penis looked like before it had permanent grip marks around it, like a sausage of zebra meat.”

Finally he left. Bad cop left the interview before I did and when he did I breathed a gargantuan sigh of relief and nearly slid off my chair.

Hilarious I trust you’ll agree. But bad cop did not. He failed to see the funny side of it completely, in fact I think he might have been somewhat angered by the content of my writing. I explained that it was completely out of context and that the blog wasn’t just about wanking, there’s more too it obviously. If he’d ever read anything and had any logic or knowledge of the internal structure of any piece of writing he might have been able to grasp the idea of something being taken out of context but unfortunately this was not the case. It couldn’t have gone any worse.

Finally he left. Bad cop left the interview before I did and when he did I breathed a gargantuan sigh of relief and nearly slid off my chair. Good cop then talked some more about how he liked my writing and that he thought I was good, he wanted me to do a writing task for him and explained that his concern was that I might get bored and leave after a couple of years (too fucking right I would – writing about tiles for the rest of my days??? That’s what they were after!)

I went and did the stupid writing task, which was to write one-thousand words on quartz tiles. I managed five-hundred and sent it to him. He told me they’d picked someone else with more experience – he used to write match programmes for Blyth Spartans and he was older than me. How could they refuse?

Maybe he answered yes to all of the drug questions.

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David L 10:58 am, 30-Jan-2012

This has given me the necessary motivation to get started on an article idea I've been toying with, entitled "How come all the recruitment agents are still in work, when they all appear to be such useless cunts?"

Andy Southgate 11:07 am, 30-Jan-2012

May I add the word "lying" before "useless cunts" David? That seems more appropriate.

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