Every year it’s the same, the deluge of resignation letters handed to me in January. Knowing that the bonus payments are made with January’s salary, I suppose it’s the best time of year to take the money and succumb to the lure of more financial gains, with implications of an even bigger bonus, at one of our competitors. Sometimes this can be a blessing in disguise, especially if the person resigning is somebody that my boss has previously instructed be ‘managed out’, it saves me no end of work.
However, the down-side is that I now have to spend the next few weeks getting cosy with the human resources manager in the goldfish bowl meeting room, recruiting for replacements.
Before I could actually get on with the interviews though, the human resources manager insisted that I rewrite all of my team’s job specifications. I found this request surprising as the exercise had only been completed a few months earlier. Her explanation for this arduous task was that it would throw up any changes, whatever that meant. She obviously has a much lighter workload than I do, and as she’s chummy with my boss I decided to ‘shut up and put up’, which resulted in my staying late every night this week to comply with her request.
Once we actually got to the interview stage even more surprises were revealed. After I’d quizzed the first applicant at length about team-working and they had supplied detailed examples to demonstrate that they were indeed an experienced team-worker, the human resources manager astounded me by asking them if they had much team-working experience. The candidate looked very confused as I tried to cover up the faux-pas by pretending that the human resources manager had obviously been distracted by having to write notes at the same as having to engage her brain to listen. Still, I couldn’t help wondering if perhaps the ‘interviewing skills’ section had been removed from the human resource department’s training manual, that I’d seen her glance at shortly before the interviews started.
The final surprise came when the last candidate asked if she could smoke during the interview, she said it helped calm her nerves. Of course I told her ‘no’ as like most office buildings ours is no-smoking and besides whoever heard of somebody smoking during a formal interview. Imagine my surprise though when the human resources manager went all progressive and advised the woman to visualise herself smoking instead, as she might find that helped.
So that’s how I came to spend forty-five minutes watching a woman puffing on an imaginary cigarette, a definite highlight of my career to date. Needless to say she didn’t get the job and I was first in the wine bar that night. I didn’t even mind watching the young girly bonus tart’s sucking up to the big boys with ‘pimp by bonus’ metaphorically written across their foreheads, for I was sure I’d seen it all now.