Friday ranks high in my list of bizarre days.
I had a second interview with a new supermarket, coming soon to our sleepy town. It was billed as a group assessment – no other details. I will digress for a second to make clear that Binky and Billy will continue to develop and hopefully provide the modest income and entertaining company that I require, but until then I hoped to dip my toe into the world of work that you can do, enjoy and then come home and forget – a new experience after some stressful and all-consuming employment in the past!
So, I arrive at the appointed time and place to join 44 other suited and booted, competent looking, people. We are told that we will be there for several hours, unless we fail at a stage of the three-fold exercise – “X Factor style” as they are hoping to end up with “the best of the best” – NB quotations denote a verbatim account!!!!
First exercise – pass a ball of string around the group without using hands or the floor, introduce ourselves briefly, and then watch a short slide show outlining company origins and current values. As a group, regurgitate the info gained from the slide show.
After this the managers disappear, and return with a list of passes and failures – the failures are offered a de-brief.
Exercise two – discuss your views on the make-up of a good team, what can hamper a team, what is essential, and what you can offer within a team.
Repeat of dismissals
Exercise three – repeat of string game, with managers and without speaking. Discussion of our successes and setbacks and how we deal with each. Questions on how we motivate others and forge effective relationships.
Now, four hours in, we 45 have reduced to 16 and we are told that there are 12 posts to be filled. At this point we are allowed to take a break, and get a drink. We are then gathered for a little “light relief” : list three facts about ourselves, two true, one false, the group then guess the lie. At last, the managers say that after careful observation they are ready to cherry-pick for their teams, whether it be PFS (petrol filling station – I had to ask), Price Integrity, Customer Services etc. We are taken off and the job offers begin.
On offer to me were 11 hours in CS spread across every Friday Saturday and Sunday, or 16 hours ‘replenishing’ (shelf stacking) in Bakery three weekday nights and every Sunday. I could overhear other conversations and all the jobs were part-time graveyard shifts. I didn’t take up their generous and enticing package! I am still picking my jaw up off the floor. If they had told us at 10.00am. about the quality of posts available, they could have saved a lot of people a lot of time. I am still completely at a loss to know why we were put through such a lengthy and arduous process, for jobs silmilar to those that have already been allocated after just a short interview, for other shifts (in this small town everyone knows everything!).
It was all very very bizarre.