Tuesday, January 27, 2015

'Seeing the Bigger Picture'

"This is a competency-based interview and the first competency we'll cover is 'Seeing the Bigger Picture'"

I had revised all the competencies and I certainly knew the gist of this one. I repeated it to myself:

"Seeing the Bigger Picture.
Seeing the Bigger Picture...."

I turned it into a private mantra because I didn't want to 'see the smaller picture' - a tableau with an interviewer who had not taken the time to make a last minute check on her nostrils. A picture in which the foreground was dominated by, and the eye was irresistibly drawn to, a pendulous bogey.

The interview ground on - as interviews do. I talked too much. I made too many hand gestures - as I grasped for inspiration in the overheated office air. Pauses naturally occured each time my answer ran out of steam. The interviewer watched as my hands settled down, then smiled an indulgent professional smile as she prepared to ask her next 'competency-based' question. It was during one of these pauses that I wondered if the snot was a prop designed to distract candidates. I wouldn't claim to be up to date with cutting edge recruitment techniques, but remember this experience if Claude has some nostril company during the interview stage of 'The Apprentice' next year.

"That's great," my interviewer said. Her tone suggested some relief as we trotted into the home strait of our exchange. "We've covered all of the competencies now. Finally, do you have any questions for me?"

The interviewer closed her mouth. This pulled the shutters down on her indulgent smile and signalled procedural closure. I put on a 'just thinking of a really intelligent closing question' face - I think I even cupped my chin in my hand as I did so. Nothing came - other than the realisation that the woman who politely awaited my response would have to breathe shortly and would have to breathe through her nose.

As I opened my mouth to speak, she exhaled. The tiny bat of snot made its bid for freedom and floated like a leaf on the breeze. A part of me wanted to press my excitable hands back into service to reach for the bogey. It was the same part of me that always wants to shout "No! He's having an affair' at the point in weddings when the vicar asks for 'any known impediment' (even at weddings when I don't know that the groom's having an affair). I wanted to catch the bogey as much as a child wants to capture a floating bubble.

The mantra in my head began again, just in time.

'Seeing the Bigger Picture.
Seeing the Bigger Picture.....'

The snotleaf came to rest, unmolested, in the warm cradle of its mother's lap.

"No," I said. "No questions. I think you've covered everything."

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