I do not interview well. I really don't. I do everything they advise in the Guardian careers supplement - freshen breath beforehand, smile, look interested, make eye contact, don't slouch, don't fidget, don't look as though you're about to wet yourself in terror. But I can't help the fact that what comes out of my mouth in interviews is total tosh - or, worse, nothing at all.
I normally speak only when spoken to, and then in the style one of my teachers kindly described as 'laconic brevity' (when I kept handing in essays that were a page shorter than everyone else's). On this occasion, though, I kept coming out with questions and chatting on until forcibly halted when asked about myself. Of course, now I fear I came across as arrogant. Or desperate. Or both.
The 'what are your good and bad points?' question came up. It always does. I'm never ready for it. What generally happens is I reel off hundreds of negatives then get interrupted and moved on to the next question before I can say anything good about myself.
I was looking forward to the HTML test, but here I conspicuously failed to make my table look like the printed version I was supposed to reproduce. One of the cells had a red border on the bottom edge only, and I had no idea how to do this. (Feel free to put solutions in a comment and make me feel worse.)
As I left I was told they would be in touch by the end of the week to let me know if I'd got through to the second round of interviews. It seems unnecessary to prolong the torture in this way, as (1) it's only a codemonkey position, for God's sake, and (2) it's a well-known fact that interviewers make their decision the second they clap eyes on you, based on whether they like your shoes or not.
I was feeling so crushed by all this I had to go to the big Borders on Oxford Street to take my mind off what a tit I'd sounded and how badly I'd fluffed the HTML test by drinking Mocha Valencia and reading Captain Underpants books, and thence to shopping. (I'm willing to bet real money I'm the only person in a suit jacket to have entered JJB Sports this week. Certainly the only one buying shinpads.)
So it was a great surprise when the IR Group rang three hours later to invite me for a second interview on Thursday.
I knew I had good shoes.