The Interview

A lady of (slightly) advancing years goes for her first job interview for a long, long time.
Posted 2 years ago (14/01/12)
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The Interview

“Annabelle Johnson to see Mr Marshall please.”

Annabelle hadn’t had a job interview since she was seventeen and started with J Ellington and Sons. Eleven years there had suited her fine until her twins came along. They had proved too much to juggle along with a return to work so she had stayed home while Michael got on well at the bank. Then Ben came along four years later to complete the family and he was such a handful that there was no chance of even a part-time job. Yet now she found herself in the reception of a brand new office building facing a job interview for a secretarial position.

It had seemed such a good idea when she made her New Year’s Resolutions. Get more exercise was a perennial, and she had managed a weekly badminton session thus far with Julia across the road. Write more to her friends in far flung places had also made an appearance before, and been broken before February on most occasions. However, getting a job was new.

She knew she had been dragging her feet, even with his problems Ben could look after himself now and she knew she had no real reason not to get out more. It was just that her self-confidence had taken several dents over the years and so much had changed in the work place what with new computer systems every year, smart phones and tele-conferences. Annabelle wasn’t really sure what she was letting herself in for.

However, she was here now and determined to do her best. Whatever the result, Annabelle was resolute that she would leave those offices having given it her all.

“Do we have an Annabelle?” Asked a male voice. Annabelle wasn’t sure which direction the voice had come from as the reception area of the offices were cavernous and the sound seemed to bounce off the walls.

Annabelle stood up and hoped she would be able to pick out who had asked if there was an Annabelle there. However, all she could see was a young man about Ben’s age, or possibly the twin’s age but no older. He was now walking towards her with his hand held out.

“Annabelle Johnson?” He asked.

“Yes.” Replied Annabelle.

“Good, I am Chris Marshall, and I am going to be conducting the interview today.”

Annabelle was somewhat taken aback. This wasn’t how it had been at J Ellington and Sons all those years ago. There, Mr Ellington himself had interviewed her. Annabelle doubted he would have trusted someone young enough to be her eldest child to interview for a new member of staff.

Chris lead them to a lift and they rode up two floors in an awkward silence until the lift reached the correct level. As the doors opened Annabelle got her first glimpse of the environment she apparently now wished to work in. There appeared to be glass everywhere, glass walls, glass tables and glass balustrades up the stairs. The people walking around were all very smart and very young. This was a new company in a new office building but still, they all seemed so young to Annabelle. However, her mind pinged back to her first day at J Ellington and Sons and she remembered that she was only seventeen herself.

“Here we are.” Said Chris as he held open a glass door and ushered Annabelle in to a glass office. “Please take a seat. Would you like a glass of water?”

Chris motioned to a jug of water already filled on the table and Annabelle poured herself a glass in an attempt to calm her nerves.

“Right Annabelle, make yourself comfortable. We like to make interviews as informal as possible. This is just the first interview, if you are successful there will be a second interview with the Head of Department. Hopefully this will be a bit like a chat where I can find out what I need to know about you.”

Annabelle had worked herself up for days about this interview. She was both glad and a little frustrated to find it described as a ‘chat’. She was also now already worried about the second interview.

“Firstly, could you let me know why you feel this is the right position for you?”

Annabelle wasn’t sure how to respond. She had worked on responses to why she was right for the job, how she had the right experience and skills. What she hadn’t considered was a response to whether the job was right for her. It was time to think on her feet.

“Thank you for inviting me here today, I realise that I have been out of employment for a long time but I feel I can do a good job for you here. I live in town, you see, and I have seen these offices being built for some time. When I saw the job advertisement I was convinced I could do the job being advertised. You see I have spent the last twenty years organising my children and my husband and so I feel a job organising someone here would be something I could do very well.” Annabelle realised she had used the phrase ‘you see’ too many times and really hoped he could see.

“Sorry Annabelle, what do you mean by ‘organising someone’?”

“Well, the advertisement in the local paper asked for someone organised for a secretarial position.”

“I think there has been a slight mix up Annabelle. We wouldn’t invite someone with your experience for a junior secretarial position. You were the youngest Marketing Manager in the area when you were with J Ellington and Sons. Also on the job advert was the position of Marketing Executive. I realise it isn’t quite at the level you were at previously but, as you say, you have been out of the job market for a little while. We would like you to consider starting there and working your way back up.”

Annabelle still had the invitation to the interview in her bag. She opened it up and scanned down the letter. There it was, in black and white, ‘we would like to interview you for the position of Marketing Executive’. Well, there was something she could talk about!

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