The story behind the story……………
This story stems from my attending a comedy improvisation course some years back now. The aim of which was to help trainers and facilitators to develop their style of delivery using comedy.
One of the exercises was based around the idea of putting together two completely different things. So for me as a career coach and trainer, I was asked to go along for an interview but as a slug.
So without further ado I give you:
‘Next’ – called out Tom a little impatiently, ‘do come in, Miss, Mr, Ms….,’
His voice tailed off as Brian trailed in.
‘Neither,’ interposed Brian smoothly.
‘I do not really occupy a binary world view of gender. I am simply a slug, but if it makes life easier for you, by all means call me Brian. I hope that during the course of our meeting I can demonstrate the skills and attributes that I can bring to this role.’
The panel of three stared open mouthed at Brian as ‘he’, settled himself as comfortably as ‘he’ could on the chair and politely enquired, ‘where would you like me to start?’
Brian was quite used to this type of reaction, but had learnt from previous experience that it was far better not to disclose before the interview that ‘he’ was in fact a slug. It was well known that many organisations carried the double tick symbol for disabilities but ‘he’ hadn’t come across anything for slugs.
‘Perhaps you can tell us about your career so far’ – suggested Tom. After a day of interviews, he just wanted to get through this as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Regardless of the nature of the candidate in front of him, there was still a round of questions to be asked, competency grids to be completed and scores to tot up.
So with a little wriggle, Brian proceeded to describe ‘his’ career and the range of roles he had held. In fairness Tom and the other two panel members were impressed as Brian outlined ‘his’ career succinctly and with some eloquence. So much so, that they were caught a little ‘off guard’, when ‘he’ finished with:
‘Is there anything else I can tell you?’
The panel of three, quickly came to and indicated, ‘no, let’s move onto the next question.’
And as each panel member asked a question, Brian was able to answer clearly and calmly, giving specific examples to illustrate ‘his’ grasp of the question and demonstrate his relevant skills and experience.
So after forty minutes or so, all grid boxes were completed and just one question remained to be asked.
‘Do you have any questions for us?’
‘Thank you,’ replied Brian, ‘may I ask, what would you expect the successful candidate to achieve in the first 30 days?’
Again it was Tom, who fielded this question, though to be honest they hadn’t as a panel really considered this. But none the less Tom did the best he could. At the end of the interview the panel thanked Brian for ‘his’ time and politely showed ‘him’ to the door.
‘Well?’ – queried Tom, ‘as far as I can see, ‘he’ was by far the best candidate.’
‘Yes’ – echoed Nancy as she glanced down at her form, all my scores are fully met or exceeded.
‘As are mine,’ interjected Jesse, ‘and yet how well would Brian fit in with the team we already have?’
‘I think to be fair,’ hiccupped, Tom as ‘he’ thoughtfully chewed on the fly that had been bothering ‘him’ throughout the interview. ‘The frogs in Accounts might well make short work of ‘him’.’