Debbie was nervous. You could tell she was nervous by the overzealous smile she had plastered on her face; it made her look like an angry snarling dog sitting in the reception area and not the enthusiastic candidate she was hoping to portray.
She’d arrived early as she’d always been advised to when it came to job interviews, from her school careers officer to Janice in the Job Centre. But for some reason this seemed to the annoy the receptionist who didn’t seem to like anyone loitering in her glossy reception, she’d snarled at every candidate who had arrived since Debbie. This hadn’t made Debbie relax despite knowing it wasn’t just her who the receptionist had taken a dislike to for having the audacity to walk through the intimidating glass doors and announce their arrival.
As Debbie waited, she noted the white leather seats in the light-filled shiny waiting area where she had been ordered to wait didn’t seem very practical. This made her warm towards the militant receptionist, she wasn’t surprised she didn’t like people lounging about with their outdoor clothes making the place look untidy. Debbie wondered if the reception’s duties included keeping the seating area pristine, that’s why she didn’t want people there making a mess. She had already stormed over twice to straighten up the glossy magazines a couple of candidates had picked up, idly flicked through and casually thrown back down. Debbie was desperate to pick up the latest copy of Cosmopolitan but hadn’t dared. If she really wanted to learn how to unleash her inner sex goddess, she was going to have to buy a copy herself.
The candidate who had been called to interview ahead of Debbie appeared at the door of one of he glass fronted offices looking smug. Debbie took this to mean she’d got the job and started an internal monologue debating with herself whether she should even bother staying for the interview. When candidate smug strutted across the reception towards the glass doors, briefly waving to bid ‘see you later’ to the receptionist, who was now known in Debbie’s head as the gatekeeper of hell, was almost the nail in the coffin. Debbie was silently plucking up the courage to pick up her bag and quietly leave, she was just telling herself the reception would probably be glad to see the back of her when she heard her name being called.
Debbie quickly clutched her bag and shot up to a standing position from the white leather sofa. She could feel her stomach start to churn as she started to stiffly walk towards the smiling interviewer. She forgot to smile in return; she was concentrating on coughing to clear the imaginary tickle in her throat. As Debbie got closer to the interviewer, she could feel one of her headaches starting, one of those perpetual ones which make you feel like you have a beating drum in your head.
She smiled weakly at the interviewer, who had introduced herself as Paige, and entered the interview room. She was braced for questions she wouldn’t be able to able to answer, quietly convincing herself they wanted to trip her up, catch her out, embarrass her, she knew Miss Smug was going to be offered the job anyway, so this was just a tick-box exercise for them.
Once Debbie was seated and had wriggled nervously on the uncomfortable plastic chair, Paige with her beaming smile sat opposite Debbie.
“Out of all the candidates you’re the one I’ve been looking forward to meeting.” Paige then giggled. “I probably shouldn’t have said that, not very professional. But I spotted you worked at Chesterhope, Lythe and Bartle straight out of University.”
“Oh.” Debbie murmured, unsure of where this was going.
“I went to school with Clyde Chesterhope’s daughter, so I gave him a call off the record. He couldn’t say enough nice things about you and told me if I didn’t recruit you I’m a bloody idiot!”
Paige laughed again, her warm smile and admission was making Debbie start to feel relaxed.
“So, there’s no need to be nervous, this is totally informal, and I just want to get to know Debbie the person and make sure we get on. I can see from your CV you could do this job standing on your head. So, please tell me about yourself.”
Debbie cleared her throat once more, shuffled a little bit on the hard plastic chair and finally returned the smile.