Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Foiling George Bush

Far the past couple of weeks, I have been on the job market again after two years being self employed. I have sent out close to a hundred copies of my CV to recruitment agencies with responses from only about five. Not a great success rate but nothing unexpected considering my previous achievements in this matter.

I am not really expecting to hear from two of the said agencies. One of them was supposed to contact me again to schedule a registration meeting but the silence has been deafening since then, even after I gently nudged them. The other wasn't really for me (the seem to specialise in underpaid admin jobs in healthcare).

I had an appointment to register with another agency at lunchtime today. I have been registered with them a couple of times before and I am always dealing with the same consultant. We've "known" each other for about 5 years now, I think. It is rather amusing to have that sort of ungoing acquaintance with someone in that big maelstrom that is London.

I will have to cancel the registration meeting I was going to have with this fourth agency (although it is conveniently situation just up the road from where I live) because of what happened with the remaining one.

My jobsearch has exclusively been taking place online. I am registered to a few job alerts mailing lists and know a job listing site which I checked regularly. Among all the adverts for job I had to trawl through, I spotted one that sounded interesting. A six month contract as an Editorial and Marketing Assistant for the renowned tourism organisation.

I sent my CV by email to address specified and quite unusually received a phone from a consultant about this job about 30min later. I was invited to come and register the same day and was informed a day or two later that I would be having an interview on the following Monday. That was yesterday. At 10 O'clock.

Knowing that I would have to cross central London (the interview was taking place at the agency which is located near Broadcasting House and Oxford Circus) on a bus at rush hour I have given myself plenty of time to be there when I had to. And an inspired idea it proved to have been since George Bush was this week on his farewell tour (hopefully not one à la Barbara Streisand) and had decided to have breakfast with his mate Gordon. This meant that Whitehall had to be closed down to traffic and huge concrete blocks deposited in the middle of the road to be sure no car come any where near Downing Street unsolicited.

The result was a mini traffic jam on the Embankment and twenty minutes to go from Westminster Bridge to Trafalgar Square when it would have taken me 5 to get there by foot. Thanks, George!

The interview itself went swimmingly well. This is probably the easiest interview I have ever sat on. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, the interviewers, (the future bosses) were nice and not only did I seem to answer their question satisfactorily they even starting answering for at one point, saying that I was the candidate with the most skills in the lot they had seen.

As I mentioned during the interview, the job felt tailor-made for me, bringing together elements of my past experience at work and as a volunteer, as if someone had gone through my CV and drawn the Job Description from it. Something truly ideal to have on my CV to consolidate and "officialise" lots of skills acquired in an ad hoc way along my 8 years in this country.

After the interview I have a short copywriting test and I was soon on my way home; hopeful yet weary. I have been in interviews before where things had gone well (admittedly not that well) and still managed not to get the job. My impression was reinforced by a phone call from the consultant giving me some very positive feedback from the interviewers (including about the bit of copy I had to produce). She also told me to expect a phone call at five O'clock this afternoon with the verdict.

It looks that despite his successful attempt at, once again, showing how talented he is at creating chaos, I have managed to foiled George Bush's evil plans. The phone call was duly received at about 5:30 and I have been offered the job which I have accepted. I am started Monday.


Update on 21 June at 23:31:
I received a phone call from the agency yesterday at 6pm, informing me that I would be starting on Tuesday after all because my new bosses hadn't quite got round to organising a desk and everything needed for me. Sounds promising!

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