PracticeAccounting FirmsIn search of the golden goose

In search of the golden goose

They say it's hard to cross from the private to the public sector. They say it's due to cultural differences and that the applicant struggles to come across well during the esoteric public sector selection process. Of course this is nonsense. The real reason is the dreaded panel interview.

Last month I had my first ever public sector interview. Unsure what to expect, I was shown into a room where a single straight-backed chair was placed facing a panel of nine interviewers. I sat down expecting a blindfold and a last cigarette. The formidable chairwoman was flanked on either side by four venerable worthies, each one a slight variation on the standard civil service model. One by one they asked me exactly the same question, each wording it slightly differently. By the time I’d repeated ‘at the risk of repeating myself for the fifth time’ I was losing the will to live.

In my desperate bid to escape the choking grip of the commercial rat-race I’ve even tried the education sector. I applied to be director of finance at a exclusive girls boarding school and was astonished to find myself on a shortlist of two. The final interview was with two governors and the headmistress and I was flying.

Suddenly the door burst open and in stormed Lord Dymwit-Smythe of Dingleberry, deputy chairman of governors and the finest blancmange-brained aristocrat you are ever likely to meet. ‘Sorry I’m late, thought I’d join you!’ he thundered. He then proceeded to take over the interview by asking the most astonishingly banal and unanswerable questions you could ever be faced with. Of course, being an aristocrat, no-one had had the bottle to tell him he was an idiot. Until then. It was a bloody affair with no real winner.

I’ve sent out five CVs in which I’ve been transformed from a tired 44 year-old to a perky 38. I wonder what will happen? You’ll be the first to know.

  • James Andrews ACA (a pseudonym) is currently unemployed. He is writing occasional dispatches for Accountancy Age. Email: JamesAndrews2057@aol.com

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