Things Could Be Going Better


My interview performances still left a bit to be desired. I went to an interview at a prestigious set of chambers. It was a strange interior, with dark oak panelled passageways sloping upwards without the apparent need for stairs anywhere. It was like an exclusive roller-blading club. The waiting room was packed with candidates and the interview was led by three upper class and incredibly serious barristers. We humourlessly trawled through my CV and functionally delved into some areas of law.I gave one answer and the prim and proper female barrister asked if my response would be different if the client was “A miner” (or “minor,” I couldn’t tell from her accent). The thought occurred that I don’t give a fuck what their job was and I replied my response would be no different. The barristers looked dismissive and quickly ended the interview. As I was walking by the entrance to the Inn of Court gardens, it struck me. They meant minor, not miner. I should have simplified my response because children are treated very carefully in the courts. Miners are, well, just miners before the law. Another day, another rejection.

I attended an interview one spring morning. It was sunny, if a bit chilly as I strolled along the grey London pavement. I arrived at reception and introduced myself. The waiting room was filled with smart, posh-looking candidates. When it was my turn, I entered the interview room and met a panel of twelve barristers. A few questions about law and my CV, then a plump barrister about the same age as me interrupted.

“Hmmph, I think they gave one First too many when you graduated,” he sneered.

I raised my eyebrows.

“Anyway, tell us about the Parachute Regiment. What was it like playing soldiers?” He smiled smarmily.

I looked at him in disbelief. This pie-eater wore an expensive shirt, flamboyant tie, comically tight-fitting chalk striped suit and handkerchief stuffed into his breast pocket. I’m not taking this shit from Fat Boy, I thought.

“You don’t understand what you’re trying to question me about.” I paused. “The Paras are shock troops. They get in fast, kill and may not get out again!”

I scraped my chair back and stood up.

“Thank you, the interview’s over.”

The barristers looked surprised and shuffled from their chairs while the head of chambers, a greying man in his sixties, distinguished and well spoken, interjected.

“Please, let us all sit back down and begin this again. I’m sure my colleague meant no offence.”

Undeterred, I made for the door but, unfortunately, the head of chambers got there first and put his hand on the brass handle marginally before me. There was a slapstick moment when we stood with our hands on the door handle. He was trying to keep it shut while I was doing my best to wrestle it open. Eventually, I forced my escape. I probably needed to hone my interview skills a bit.

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