Do you really want this job?

I was talking to a friend the other day about an upcoming interview they had been invited to attend. They were both excited at the prospect of a new job, bringing with it new challenges which they felt they needed, and terrified at prospect of being interviewed, as they hadn’t had one for some considerable time.

Throughout my career I have had many interviews. In fact between 2001-2009 I had to reapply and be interviewed for my job at regular 18 month intervals as we went through various management and organisational restructures!

And, as I moved up the managerial ladder I was heavily involved in interviewing prospective staff. In my last NHS post was responsible for the selection and recruitment for all temporary staff except doctors… So going through applications, assisting with short listing, and sitting in on interviews with various professional leads when it wasn’t nurses being interviewed. And I loved it. I love people watching at the best of times, but interviews are fascinating. They bring out either the best, or the worst in people.

I recall interviewing a lady for a theatre team leader’s post. We asked her something about working under pressure and she proceeded to tell us that the last place she had worked at was like working in a ‘mash tent’ the anaesthetist and I couldn’t look each other. AND she was wearing scuffed white stilettos. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

I have met all kinds of people. The shy, timid ones who you had to coax one syllable replies out of, but actually were brilliant practitioners, to the brash, over-confident ones who had been everywhere and done everything, but when it came to scratching under the surface were not as competent,or confident, as they would have you believe.

So, anyway, from my experiences, I thought I would jot down and share a few useful (maybe) tips in case anyone had an impending interview on the horizon, and yes I have encountered all of the following…….

1. Do not be late. Yes, I know that sounds obvious!
2. Remove your sunglasses. And I don’t mean just put on your head
3. We know you’re nervous, but a limp, sweaty handshake is not good
4. Turn off your mobile phone!
5. Ditch the chewing gum!
6. Dress appropriately. Jeans and trainers may be fine in certain situations, but not all. And if you have to wear them, find a pair of jeans that aren’t frayed around the hem. And clean your trainers!
7. And ladies, if you’re going to wear a dress please make sure it’s not so short that when you sit down and cross your legs the interviewers will not be in fear that they are about to witness a ‘Sharon Stone’ scenario
8. Do not use foul language
9. Do not “bad mouth” your current/previous employers
10 Try and know a little bit about the job you’ve applied for
10 Do not ever address the interviewer as darling/love/sweetheart/babe. if you can’t remember their name a simple good morning/afternoon will suffice nicely thank you

And finally

14 As you leave the interview do not, on any occasion, attempt to air kiss your interviewer!!

So there you are. Follow these useful hints and you’ll have the job in the bag!

Don’t you just love people? I do


The School Gate Posse

As many of you know I was a full-time working mum.  So I rarely did the school run, and a lot of the other mothers didn’t realise I was my brood’s mum!  Then, the days I did make it were often excruciating, because I didn’t fit into any of the groups of mums, and I had to endure “the school gate posse”…. “Oh hello, have you got some form of ID on you?” and other such hilarious quips were thrown in my direction by perfectly coiffed mothers waiting to collect their perfect little darlings.

I breathed  a huge sigh of relief once child 3, Master Chef, was old enough to manage the short walk to primary school with his best friend, and I could wave him goodbye from the garden gate. On the rare mornings  I was home.

Never once did it cross my mind that years later I would once again be running the gauntlet of the aforementioned “School Gate Posse”

But, yes… For the past 4 years I’ve been responsible,2 or  3 days a week, for safely depositing my 2 gorgeous grandsons at pre school and school while my daughter does her bit for the NHS.

.Things haven’t changed very much! Though these days there are quite a few grandparents doing the school run, as working mums are more the norm now. I was considered a bit of an oddity.

Oh, and most of the teachers look as though they are work experience students from one of the local senior schools!

The boys go to the their local village school… A school with over 310 pupils and each year having 2 classes of between 26-30 pupils each.

E is in year 4, and lines up in the playground to go into class, but O, in year 2, still has to be escorted into class in the morning. In the afternoons they’re both met from O’s class.

At first many thought I was the boy’s mum… E and O took great delight in insisting on calling me mummy. Very loudly. And I would get “that” look from passing mothers.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some lovely mums there,Who are friends of K.  And I’ve become quite friendly with them.. We chat, go for coffee some mornings if we’re not busy. And ferry each other’s children in emergencies.  And there’s 2 who now always join K and I at what has become our annual trip to ladies evening at the local race course!

So who makes up the posse?

Firstly there’s the 4×4 brigade. Who, invariably, only live a 15 minute walk from the school, but couldn’t possibly walk. And they park anywhere they see a spot. With total disregard for the safety of their own, or anybody else’s children. On double yellow lines, the zig zag lines of the zebra crossing, blocking local resident’s drives. Every so often the police come and patrol, dish out  a few verbal warnings. Even give the odd parking ticket. Put up big banner say school gates warning people of the dangers. Then for a day or two things quietened down, but soon it’s back to the normal chaos. It is a disaster waiting to happen.


Next, we have the gym mums.  They arrive in full on Lycra and running shoes. iPods strapped to arms, water bottle firmly clutched in hands. But they seem to spend most of their time discussing their latest ‘PBs’ and “you’ll never believe who I saw at the gym yesterday” To actually running. I did consider purchasing some running gear but the boys said they wouldn’t walk to school with me if I did!


Coming up close behind the gym mums are the yummy mummies. Looking like they’ve just emerged from the local beauty salon. Beautifully dresses, high heels, perfect makeup, not a hair out of place… And their little charges in immaculate uniforms and shiny shoes. How do they manage it??

Then there’s the mums who are dropping their little ones off before going to work ( though I have to admit, some days I fall into this category). They stand, well, pace, outside the classroom. (If they haven’t shooed them out of the car and driven off in a haze of exhaust fumes) Constantly checking their watches/phones (parents are asked not to use mobile phones in the playgrounds), and bemoaning the fact that the teachers are getting later and later letting the children into class. Then pushing their way past everyone once the door is opened, because they’re going to be late for work.


Then, of course, there’s the “I just need to speak to you Miss about something” ones. It’s the same ones every time, or seems to be. Little Johnny/Matilda has too much/ not enough homework/Has made you a present/written you a story. My daughter or I rarely need to speak to O’s teacher, but on the odd occasion I have , I’ve given up as I haven’t been able to get within 15 feet of “Miss”

And, finally, there’s the formidable ones gathered by the school gate, who, having dropped off their precious little ones, have to group together and have a good old bitch about everyone and everything!! “did you see what she was wearing/did you know A’s dad is now living with B’s mum/how did C’s boy ever get to be a school councillor”

You can feel their eyes boring into you as you squeeze your way past, and you just know you’re the next topic of conversation.



And then there’s me…. Usually running late, harassed from doing battle with traffic on 40 minute  journey to daughter’s, and being stuck in traffic for 20 minutes. No make up. Jumper on inside out ( don’t ask!) And realising we’ve forgotten homework/dinner money/glasses.

Hey ho… There’s only another 4 years and they’ll both be at senior school and I’ll be relieved of my duties. But, of course, by then son1 and DIL will provably have produced and I’ll be taking theirs… On my Zimmer frame!