UK: Weak at the top - John Weak's diary.

UK: Weak at the top - John Weak's diary. - MONDAY

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


Brand manager recruitment week! This is where I play God and toy with other people's lives. Got a whole stack of CVs on my desk which I rigorously pre-sorted. Looked at photos first - don't want anyone aesthetically challenged scowling around the office. Then checked interests. I will not work with anybody who thinks rambling is interesting. Found one who listed skydiving and extreme skiing under hobbies. Crossed him off - can't have someone working for you who has a more interesting life than you do. Had long lunch with Bill Peters from Chemicals to discuss modern recruitment methods. He says he takes them all to lunch and cracks open a crate of red. Any that can make it back to the office without medical attention get recruited. (Possibly explains disintegration of Bill's department - and Bill.)


Got e-mail from Clare O'Keefe, ops director (Hannibal Lecter's love child) who is also on the interview panel. Suggested we use an 'assessment grid', plotting core learning skills against emotional intelligence. No idea what she meant but told her it was an excellent idea. She can fill that out while I assess totty-rating for women and rugby potential for men. Ideal candidate would be accountancy-trained prop forward with large breasts. Giles Renton-Willets (weirdo HR Director) will be the chair. Told me that he judges candidates by the colours in their aura. Told him that the acid test I always use is whether you would want to sit next to the candidate at the company Christmas bash.


First interview day. O'Keefe got her emotional intelligence/learning quadrant out and Renton-Willets lined up his coloured felt-tips for aura recording. I put my cigarettes and Porsche keys on the desk. The first person to say: 'Let's go outside for a fag and discuss company cars' gets the job. Which certainly wasn't the first person in - a chinless little twerp with a double ego from Cambridge. I didn't understand 90% of his first answer - just picked up a few phrases like 'matrix management', 'empowered stakeholder base', 'endemic discontinuity', etc. I only asked him how he was. He regurgitated business books for half an hour and I wished him a pleasant future in management consultancy. Renton-Willets showed me his aura - yellow and pale blue. Intellect the size of Denmark, personality of a baking tray. Pretty much summed it up.


Arrived late for interviews because of over-enthusiasm at gym - they've started doing proper cooked breakfasts to work off the exercise. Burst in and said, 'What poor sod have we got today?' O'Keefe pointed to chair containing the day's poor sod. So small and timid I didn't even notice her. Mentally crossed her off. Renton-Willets used Tipp-Ex on her aura - not a good sign. Afternoon candidate played rugby for London French. Thought I'd try old trick and throw him something to catch. Threw O'Keefe's handbag which burst open, showering tampons all over the room. Incredibly embarrassing as he didn't catch it. Renton-Willets said afterwards his aura stopped at the neck. Reminded him we were looking for a marketing man not a Zen Buddhist.


Last candidate had excellent qualifications. Her CV wasn't bad either. I gave her some high-octane questioning to show who was boss. 'Accidentally' offered her the job at end of interview. Said she would have to think about it. (Why can't women ever say 'yes' straight away?) Got a roasting from O'Keefe about undermining process etc. Heard later that preferred candidate had called to decline job. She liked the company but wouldn't want to sit next to me on a bus, let alone at the Christmas party. Which proves what a good test that is.

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