Being told how to suck eggs: “est très bon” when told in a French accent

French Man

Midlifexpress once again welcomes a guest post by indefatigable job hunter Carmen Neutral. In her latest employment escapade she deals with exotic Frenchmen, ultra-polished boardroom tables and job applicants who look like Megan Gale. 

So there I was, attending the compulsory Job Services Australia Goal Setting and Interview training session like the good, compliant vegemite that I am. The duration was one and half days. However, due to a scheduled vet check (for me and the dog) I was exempt from most of day one.

With the dog’s issues out of the way (but not mine), I reluctantly attended the course, prepared to be told the bl**ding obvious. As a marathon “mature” job seeker, I consider myself well-versed in the intricacies of job hunting, resume writing and interview technique. What more could they tell me?  Perhaps some subtle ways of offering potential employers cash bribes, extortion bids, or Belgian chocolates to cut through red-tape and gently influence them to just give me the job!

Enter Monsieur

But oh the joy when our “teacher” walked in and introduced himself – as a midlife French national. Thank goodness for that. Such a stroke of genius for Centrelink and Job Services Australia to employ someone so ooh la la to conduct the session. After all, being told how to suck eggs sounds so much better when delivered in a French accent.

I was the only attendee who’d recently gone to a job interview (last week) and so – just like in a primary school “show and tell” — monsieur asked me (mais moi?!) to describe the experience to the rest of the class.

Unfortunately though, there wasn’t much to tell as the interview panel had kept me waiting like Godot in reception for more than half an hour. This gave me time to re-park my car (so glad about that), question the meaning of life, and consider whether I had enough time to pop out and get a botox, blow-dry, or maybe a French manicure?

Exit Megan Gale clone

It was just moments after helping a delivery man into the organization’s front entrance, with his load of boxes, that one of the interviewers emerged to farewell the previous candidate. However, once I saw the tall, skinny, stiletto-wearing Megan Gale look-a-like being ushered out – I knew already that I didn’t have the job. Tough t*tties for me (pardonnez mon French).

Moving forward, and undaunted by the circumstances stacked against me, I pitched my skills and “story”to the interview panel — careful not to leave thumb imprints or scratches on their uber polished boardroom table. I so appreciate a high-gloss finish.

After they explained to me the interview was going to be “more of a chat” than anything else, I was doubly sure Megan got the role. But they complimented me on my “terrific sense of humour” before earnestly pushing me out the door.

As for monsieur’s tips:

1. Try to communicate to the interviewer that you are glad to meet them —  through your handshake (But I did do the handshake!)

2. Comment on the beautiful surroundings, great atmosphere or splendid artworks

3. Never say no — or answer in the negative — to any question

4. Be positive about all things and everyone (Even if an ex colleague is a flatulent axe-murderer — or has the potential to be one)

5. Don’t ever interrupt the interviewers — for any reason at all.

6. Take a lesson from well-mannered labradors by always smiling and maintaining a congenial, empathetic attitude (That’s me! I’ve done more remedial dog training sessions than the average dog).

7. Instead of a heavy lunch, eat a chocolate bar. Apparently you burn off more fat that way. (I love this lifestyle tip. But was that a hint?)

8. Makeup should look fresh and natural (But of course — I’m over false eyelashes anyway).

9. Don’t wear black — navy is better (But I love black? Can I mix the two?)

10. Shoes are often one of the first things that employers remember about an interviewee. (Another excuse to shoe shop).

11. Leave nose, tongue and/or lip piercing bling at home. (No disputes there)

12. Finally – when the interviewer says: “And now do you have any questions?” – Only ask 2  – any more and you will bore them to death.

C’est la vie est bonne journée!

Carmen’s wonderful blog can be found at 50 Shades of Unemployment

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Five kickass women to inspire the mature-age jobseeker

 

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