Tales of catastophe, sex and squalor from the Alpine Underbelly...

Belle de Neige

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Interview Fail

 In the last two weeks I have been sent CVs of every colour and creed for the delightful privilege of potentially being my chalet co-bitch. Most of these, I have to say, have been a parade of ineptitude and twattery.

My core criteria for finding a decent partner in crime are not that complicated, you know…

-         Must not be a total retard (ideally should have more than 3/4s of an inch of brain)
-         Must be vaguely clean, presentable and professional – no acne, eyeball piercings or facial tattoos.
-         Must be able to cook. And by that I mean cook. Not boil stuff in a bag and then mix with baked beans.
-         Must not be a faffer /wet blanket / confrontational / defensive / arse clown / lazy bones / irksome blonde 19 year old/ need fag break every six seconds.
-         Must love mountains / skiing / snowboarding.

It’s a pretty simple formula. So it fascinates me the kind of shit expectant people put on their CVs. I mean, seriously, how can you get it that wrong? The internet is literally lousy with articles on ‘CV Tips’ and examples of how to do it correctly. Your CV is a 2D projection of your living, breathing self. It’s your personal emissary. The very first most basic, fundamental thing that you need to get right so that your potential employer doesn’t immediately brand you a dick and shout ‘Next!’. So surely, surely the very first thing you’d do is make sure the opening ‘personal profile’ gambit makes solid sense?

But no…

Take these two snippets, for instance:

“I am hope to more seasons, to enabled me to enjoy my love of mountain.”

Ah, I thought. Fair enough. She must be Spanish or something. Fair play for having a crack at the language. But no. There emblazoned proudly beneath the title ‘Curriculum Vitae’ was the proclamation that this person is in fact ‘British’.

Then there was this one:

“I thrive in making good to exceptional and have good communications skill.”

Oh. You do, do you?

The best one was the bloke who sent me a CV that was totally acceptable in every other way, fairly coherently written, no spelling mistakes, logically structured…but at the top of it he had pasted in a picture of himself. Not a nice, professional head and shoulders shot projecting a debonair, capable and impressive future employee, but an off-centre, grainy snap of what I can only describe as a portly chav with moobs, standing in a pub wearing a wife-beater t-shirt, looking not a little bit shifty and with…I shit you not…one hand on his crotch. It was as if someone had crept up on him with the camera and caught him having a wank.  

Oh yes, and also, if the job description stipulates ‘must be an excellent cook’ don’t admit to me straight off that your skills “aren’t too good in that area” and then go on the defensive with the words, “But I think it’d be fine as long as the other person’s an experienced chef.”

Right. Ok. So you’ll be fine as long as the other person does all the work. I see. Stop wasting my fucking time.

By the sounds of it Skater Boy hasn’t been having too much luck either.

“This came in today,” he told me on Skype last week. “18yr old. Under interests: ‘Analysing music to fully understand what the metaphors in the lyrics mean’…”
“You should hire him just for the comedy value, but then torture him by banning any music except Scouting for Girls.”
“I’m going to tell him I like One Direction.”
“Or N. Dubbs.”
“Can I call you?” he said. “I’m doing a Skype interview in a few minutes and I want to see what my background looks like on camera.”
This should be funny, I thought. “Ring away.”

He rang.

“Hmm. Background looks fine,” I said, looking at the vaulted oak ceiling of his parental home behind him. “It’s your barnet I’d be more worried about.”
“Funny,” he said shifting around and fiddling with something out of shot. “Oh the joys of Skype interviews,” he stood up to show me what he had on. “Top half smart, bottom half pyjamas.”
“I wouldn’t go quite so far as to call the top half smart, love” I said, noting the loose-knit sweater with holes in it and the freshly rolled cigarette he’d just shelved behind his ear with grubby-nailed fingers.
“Right, must go…” he said in business like fashion. “Interview to do.”

Working from home can be a lonely and isolating, if peaceful experience. Personally I don’t relish being around people 24/7, particularly office bods, who you invariably can’t stand and resent having to spend the best hours of your life with anyway, so it suits me fine. Still, I enjoy the odd interruption from the world outside. Luckily for me also I have a very sweet tooth, which starts to kick in around three o’clock in the afternoon giving me an excellent excuse to leave the house and go for a walk in search of something chocolate covered and satisfying. On this day at precisely that time the sun accommodatingly peeked its head out from behind an ominous grey smudge so I upped and went to the newsagents. There were a couple of preened, primped girls having a very loud argument about an overdraft or something financial or other on the corner of the street. It must be exhausting to be one of these women. Everything about them from their shouty voices to their coiffed piled-high hair, clown-pink cheeks, heavy handbags and agonisingly high heels is shrill and thunderous and pissed off. They seem to be in a constant state of high dudgeon about something or some boy or some injustice foisted on them by the world. Sometimes I think the best therapy for such people would be to rip their faux Gucci shades from their bonce, plonk them on top of a mountain and point out how big the rest of the world/galaxy/universe is compared to them. 

When I got back to the house Skater Boy rang again.

 “Got a sec?”
“Yep. How was it?”
“Nice girl. Fit.”
“Irrelevant. Won’t be taking the job.”
“Ah. No experience?”
“Non-skier. Don’t want to be stuck giving her free lessons all season.”
“Perish the thought.”
“Then there was the other thing,” he looked crestfallen.
“I don’t think she’d take the job even if I offered it.”
“Why on earth not?”
He reached out of shot and brandished the mug he’d been merrily slurping tea from throughout the interview…

It was several minutes before I managed to regain my composure.

“Oh darling. That’s absolute pure, solid, comedy gold,”
 “I wondered why she had such an odd expression on her face.” He set the offending piece of crockery down on the table with a thunk.
“Oh well. At least it detracted attention away from your barnet.”


  1. Among the many duties I was expected to perform in my last job, as head of HR for my (six person) company, I am constantly astonished at the fact that almost nobody seems to have a friend/relative/dog with better attention to detail, or at least spelling, than themselves. And if they do, they have not endeared themselves to this wiser being sufficiently to ask them to proofread their CVs.

  2. Love reading your blog, you remind me of a female Ricky Gervais. (I love him, I mean it as a compliment!)
    I'm currently sending out c.v's to tour operators to be a chalet host but have not had any luck so far. Is there anything in a c.v that makes a TO immediately want to hire someone? And things that make them immediately throw a c.v in the trash?
    I'm 21, have worked as a waitress and I speak Spanish pretty well.. but of course I have never worked a season.. would they consider that as being not good enough or am I just applying too late in the game?
    Any tips for what they look for would be really appreciated!


Your comments will be moderated before being accepted.