This story stems from my attending an improvisation course to help trainers/facilitators develop their delivery style using comedy.
Based on the idea of juxtaposition – putting together two completely different things, one exercise involved a roleplay where I had to attend a job interview as a slug.
So without further ado, I give you an updated version of a story I first published in 2016:
‘Next,’ – calls out Tom a little impatiently, ‘do come in, Miss, Mr, Ms….’
His voice tails off as the slug trails into the room.
‘Neither,’ interposes the slug smoothly.
‘I do not occupy a binary world view of gender. I am a slug, but call me Brian if it makes life easier for you. I hope to use this time to demonstrate the skills and attributes that I can bring to this role.’
The panel of three stare open-mouthed at Brian as he settles himself as comfortably as he can on the chair and politely enquires, ‘where would you like me to start?’
Brian is quite used to this type of reaction; he had learned from previous experience that it is far better not to disclose that ‘he’ is a slug before the interview. He was aware 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,’ Tom is the first to speak. After a full day of interviews, all Tom wants is to get through this as quickly and painlessly as possible. Regardless of the candidate in front of him. There is still a round of questions to be asked, competency grids to complete and scores to tot up.
With a wriggle, Brian proceeds to describe his career and the range of roles he had held. Tom and the other two panel members are impressed as Brian outlines his career succinctly and eloquently. So much so that they are caught a little off guard when Brian finishes with:
‘Is there anything else I can tell you?’
The panel quickly comes to with, ‘no, let’s move on to the next question.’
So, as each panel member asks a question, Brian is able to answer clearly and calmly, giving specific examples to illustrate ‘his’ grasp of the question and the skills he had to demonstrate them.
After forty minutes, all grid boxes are complete, and there is just one question the panel want to ask.
‘Do you have any questions for us?’
‘Thank you”, replies Brian, ‘I’d like to know what you expect the successful candidate to achieve in the first 30 days.’
There is a pause before he continues with,’ I’d also like to know why the previous incumbent moved on?’
Again it is Tom who answers first. They hadn’t, as a panel, fully considered this, but Tom does the best he can. And at the end, they thank Brian for attending and politely show him to the door.
‘Well?’ – queries Tom, ‘as far as I can see, ‘he’ is by far the best candidate.’
‘I agree,’ – echoes Nancy as she glances down at her form; all my scores are fully met or exceeded.
‘So are mine, ‘interjects Jesse, ‘and yet how well would a slug fit in with our team?
‘I think to be fair,’ hiccups Tom, thoughtfully chewing on the fly that has been bothering him throughout the interview, ‘the frogs in Accounts might well make short work of him.’