Educational basic instinct

4th April 2008 at 01:00
The rest of my interview passed without further incident. The depth of the questioning was at best superficial, at worst insulting to anyone with a cycling proficiency certificate, let alone a university degree.

I tried to suss out the opposition: The Liar, The Bitch and the Wardrobe Malfunction. The Liar was from Croydon (no surprise there, then) and he was full of more stuffing than a Christmas goose. Name-dropping was at an unprecedented level, and he had every affectation known to man - and woman.

The Bitch was from London, but lived in Croydon: any coincidence there? She had been "in politics", but I hesitated to ask any more.

The Wardrobe Malfunction was a hoot. Janet Jackson's mammary display had nothing on this lady. I'll bet none of the good elected members would have raised their eyes above chest level during her presentation.

There had been one other candidate, but he had withdrawn after his performance. I wonder if he was rushing for the train to Croydon?

I decided to go for a walk in the fresh air, breathing in the pleasant spring smells, traffic fumes and refinery chimney discharge.

I knew the councillors were in a hurry, as they were attending the opening of the new leisure centre in the city and there would be what my grannie called a "good purvey". They would weigh up the assessment factors, listen intently to the director of human resources, compare the candidates against the job and person specifications, summarise the presentations, evaluate the questions and answers - and then ignore all the professional advice and vote for the person with the biggest chest measurement, nicest smile or cleanest shoes.

They knew how to pick 'em; none of your assessment centre rubbish here. Don't confuse me with evidence, I'm a councillor. I know a winner when I see one. I've been doing this for years.

Eventually the chief executive arrived. He paused, obviously trying to emulate the pregnant pause routine favoured in talent contests, and gave a toe-curling speech. We looked down at our toes, such was the vomit-inducing insincerity of the delivery. I heard the words, but not necessarily in the correct order. Difficult choice, good candidates, lengthy deliberation, must be a winner, thanks to all of you.

Next thing I knew, I was being congratulated, but only briefly. The other three had to dash to catch the train to - yes, that's right - Croydon.

I, Bridget, female and 40 was the Chosen One. I am the new director. Nobody was left to congratulate me. The "good purvey" was a better bet. To this day, I'll never know if I got the job because of my innate ability, my visionary educational philosophy or my Sharon Stone seating posture at the interview.

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