Interviewing for new bosses...

Year 1999 - Episode 18


So after our stringent CV cull for a new boss we shortlist some potential bosses, one of whom doesn't in fact exist outside our fertile (or is that furtive?) imaginations...

Still, that leaves us with three possibles that the HR hardliner has lined up for interview.

First out of the pan and into the fire is an ex-technical manager whose 'technical' ability extends, with effort, to recognising which way up his Tube pass goes.

We meet in an interview room in the Huggy Feely department and listen to the HR droid rabbit on about what the company does, how widespread it is, what it's worth...

The interviewee's eyes glaze over (after all, he hasn't got a cut-down shoot-em-up game loaded onto his personal disorganiser with which to play the PFY).

Noticing the sudden absence of monotone, I look up to find the HR droid staring at me expectantly.

"Hmmm," I say, feigning deep thought, "just one question - if you were appointed, where would you see your role in the purchasing of technology for use in the company?"

"Good question," he answers, almost succeeding in not sounding condescending. "I would obviously have a great deal to do with the analysis, installation and testing of new equipment. I know how you technical people like to remain focused on the job at hand -- sorting out user problems and that sort of thing - so I'd probably get my hands dirty on the technical side, leaving you free to pursue your helpdesk calls and user enquiries."

"I see," I comment ambivalently. "Well, that concludes my questions - perhaps you'd like to take a tour of our facilities."

"That would be excellent!" he cries happily, assuming that a guided tour means the job's as good as his.

"Fine," the HR droid responds. "I'm sure Simon's assistant would be more than happy to take care of you."

The PFY nods and leads contestant number one away.

Contestant number two arrives and he's much the same as the first, except probably not as technically competent - if that's humanly possible.

I settle down to listen to some more company history...

"I'M SORRY. I must have drifted off!!" I cry, jerking awake with a start. "I've been putting in some late nights on the...uh...high availability...er...tape racking system."

"Any questions for this candidate?" HR droid asks.

"Just the one," I murmur, repeating the question I asked of number one.

"Well I'd have to have a reasonable amount of input in the selection process - verifying that it's value for money, what the company wants, that sort of thing. Outside of that I suppose it's up to you to determine what the users need."

Close, but no cigar.

"Perhaps you'd like a tour of the facilities," HR droid pre-empts. A nod to the PFY is as good as a wink and he's gone in a second.

The third candidate is cut from the same cloth as the first two. He leaves for his tour as the HR droid turns to the remaining applicant's CV. "I have to admit that this one does look impressive," he says, "but I think that if he's any good we probably need to get him and the first applicant back for a second interview."

"Oh, the first applicant won't be coming back," the PFY says casually.

"And why's that?"

"Well, you asked me to, you know - take care of them..."

"Yes - show them around!"

"Oh! I'm afraid I may have misinterpreted your intentions."

"You haven't tested the halon system with someone in the computer room again have you?"

"Uh..."

"My God!" the HR droid cries. "I can't believe this!"

"Neither can I!" I blurt. "Do you know how much halon costs? And what about the ozone layer?"

The HR droid looks like he's set to explode...which is why it's important not to tell him that the PFY just took the candidates out the back way and told them that we'd be in touch shortly after hell froze over.

"I can't believe you thought I meant..."

"That's what I thought you meant!" I cry.

"But we're a company, not some underworld money laundering operation!"

"But what about when the CEO..." the PFY gasps.

I shake my head quickly (as planned) and the PFY shuts up.

Two days later, the appointment has gone through and there's a code of silence between the three people on the appointments team.

He thinks we won't implicate him, and in return he selects, without interview, the candidate that we wanted... who doesn't really exist.