Headstart: Careers – In search of the Golden Goose.

I quite enjoy first-round interviews. At this stage there’s not too much at stake. You can have a nice drive, a pleasant pub lunch, and if you’re lucky there’s some pretty girls in the headhunter’s office. And it went well. The headhunter was informed, I clearly made credible responses, and he said he’d shortlist me to meet the client.

Then it all went pear-shaped. First I met the CFO who was over from California, then I met the UK FD. Everything seemed to be going fine. Then I was due to meet the HR director. Sadly, she kept me waiting for over an hour before she sauntered in without a care in the world. You can imagine how well I responded. There followed a frank exchange in which I gave her the benefit of my views on mutual respect and consideration in the workplace. After that the interview didn’t go too well.

The next day I learned they wouldn’t be taking my application forward as I hadn’t shown the HR director the respect her position deserved. Well, sorry sweetheart, but you started it. And by the way, you don’t get respect because of your job title, it has to be earned. The spirit of Jo Moore is alive and well and living in St Albans.

The bad news is that the old days are back with a vengeance. I made it to the above shortlist from a total of four hundred applicants. I suppose I should be pleased, but I know from bitter experience that I’d rather come 400th than suffer the mental and emotional torment of coming second.

Perhaps I should be networking. We’re continually told more and more senior jobs are found nowadays through networking than the traditional routes. Apparently, I should be networking, networking, networking from 8 o’clock on a Monday morning to 8 o’clock on a Friday night, then at the weekend I should do some more networking just to keep my eye in.

But I must be missing something. As far as I can tell, if you strip away its professional facade, networking consists of calling up everyone you’ve ever met and asking if there’s any jobs going at their place. And what sort of an answer should you expect? ‘James, thank God you rang. Our FD dropped dead last night and we need someone who can start immediately.’ I don’t think so.

Anyway, if I called anyone in my little black book they’d either gloat or try and get me back for some stunt I’d pulled on them in the past.

I suspect women are quite good at networking, but then they are so much more touchy-feely than men. If I rang any of my mates and started asking them about their emotions they’d think I’d gone barking mad. I will not be negative. I will pick up the phone and network and report back in due course.

  • James Andrews ACA (a pseudonym) is currently unemployed. He is writing occasional dispatches for Accountancy Age.


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