First, A Few Questions
Questionnaire for Prospective Employees
This sheet should be attached to the front of a cover letter, along with a full curriculum vitae. The full completion of this form will ensure that we have all the information that we need to take you through the recruitment process in an efficient and timely manner. It is mandatory to answer all questions. Use space provided. Do not write in margins. Extra leaves of lined A4 may be attached should you require more space.
Name: Richard Little. The last name is the product of my particular family tree. The first is a testament to the intolerable cruelty of forgetfulness. The shortening of Richard to Dick is not as much an archaism as you might think. After my class studied Modern American History (Tricky Dicky Nixon) I became “Little Dick”, replete with wiggling pinky action. For five years.
Sex: No thanks, we’ve only just met. I thought you thought that I talk too much. Do I talk too much? My last girlfriend said I talked too much.
Age: Old enough to know better, young enough to ignore my own advice
Date of Birth: One score and seven years past, on a bright October morning, as the cock crew and the other birds flew. The last born son of Henrietta and Mortimer Little. My siblings got all the funding for higher education. I got the job applications stapled to my birthday cards. One time, the job application was the birthday card.
What Are Your Qualifications and/or Awards (Include Awarding Institutions)?: ABCDEFGHIJK. All from Dull Dulwich Secondary. A language and sports college. Very academicy. Graduated with full honours in the three Rs (Reading, wRiting, Rote learning). Can name all the English kings and queens but had to learn to question hereditary monarchy on my own.
Please List Your Previous Work/Experience: My father was adamant that I would be (or that he would have) an enterprising young man with exceptional business acumen. To that end, on my tenth birthday, he divested upon me ten pounds of capital and said, “When I was your age, I had a lemonade stand.”
It was innocent then, all lemons and sugar. The stand turned a small profit. I staffed it myself and diluted the liquid dreadfully. Then the Dunblane massacre happened, and a combined effort of regulatory and governing bodies (my parents) had my business shut down on the grounds that there were some “right nutters”, among the public. Maybe when you’re older. Perhaps start doing business among people you know, like a paper route or something.
Writing, editing and printing my own newspaper proved prohibitively expensive within my limited means and my father was unwilling to front me the necessary capital, so I inquired with Mr Jones at Nooze + Booze near the end of our street. Owing to a recent retirement from the newspaper business I was given the position of Junior News Distributor effective immediately. The real right nutters were the people I delivered the papers to. Well, nutters is an unfair assessment. If you see anyone’s idiosyncrasies in a close, unguarded enough moment, they’ll probably seem slightly crazy. My father would hum Deutschland Uber Alles to himself as he fed the cats. Mrs Batty, at number seventeen, would click her tongue as she sat her morning’s baking to cool on her window ledge; at times fast, at times slow, as if she was trying to send Morse code through a hidden earpiece, and disguise it as idle-mindedness. Whatever she had baked, there was always a piece for me. Perks of the job.
Newspaper delivery was my favourite job, come to think of it.
Do You Have Any Other Skills?: I am proficient with the Microsoft Office package. I am also a dab hand at getting past content filters. For purely ethical reasons of course. I am also pretty good at eating and typing concurrently. I know how to walk in heels.
My father, concerned that computer games were damaging my moral fibre (where this fibre was located he never told me), stomped my games console down into a rubbish bin and bade me study harder. All that I did study harder were some textbooks on electrical circuits, and after ignoring a few warnings on Class 3 lasers I repaired the console. Both myself and my father were happy to consider it a lesson learned. Possessions are so much more personal when you care for them yourself, wouldn’t you say?
What Are Your Hobbies and Interests?: I was once interested in lepidoptery but baulked at the idea of killing the poor creatures in a jar, so my enthusiasm waned; suffocated, itself, by the jar. I also had a brief interest in chess that my father attempted to stoke by blowing a lot of air about me joining a club. This I promptly did, and just as promptly I found myself frustrated by the club’s cohort of pint sized prodigies in possession of an omnididactic knowledge of opening gambits and responses. Fool’s mate was my fool’s fate, and I resigned myself to being no good at games involving squares.
An aspect of myself that has weathered better is my curiosity, a curiosity that I find best sated by literature. The earliest book I can remember having an exacting knowledge of was a scientific encyclopedia; a large, red hardback. That I could read, and see, how an eye focused and inverted an image before becoming vertically flipped again and interpreted by the brain, was intoxicating to me. I wasn’t exacting about my research areas, I just did my best to exhaust whatever information I came across. I was able to name every winner of the premier league, from it’s formation to the year 1995. At one point I realised that fiction might give me some insight into how people worked, but the paucity of good fiction in the Dull Dulwich library led me to an understanding only of how people thought that people worked.
Today, this curiosity manifests itself largely in aimlessly clicking hyper link after hyper link. I say aimlessly, and it is a lie. I am always intending to find something. Sometimes I do. Upon googling a reading list in my later secondary years I became aware that The Secret Agent by Conrad was a favourite of the unabomber. Did you know that?
What Is Your Greatest Strength?: I am able to detach my self to the point where I may coolly turn over one of my flaws or idiosyncrasies as one would a knife, and analyse it’s probable cause and function. The other day I ran into old friend Y, who inquired where X was now living (I will not bore you with extraneous details). I was unable to recall, and wondered why. I later remembered that X had moved to Coventry, and in fact lived very close to a woman with whom I had had a rather tempestuous love affair. My subconscious had sought to protect me from the unpleasant associations I would make with Coventry.
What Is Your Greatest Weakness?: I am terrible at answering questionnaires. Indeed, at filling out forms in general.
Why Do You Want to Work for X?: In the range of employment opportunities thoughtfully provided to me by the Job Centre, supplemented by my own research, I was able to chose from bad, worse, and McDonald’s. Mother always told me to make the best of what I had and father always told me to shut up and go away. Given these choices, I have chosen bad. That is, you. I am not entirely certain of the work you do and what limited knowledge I do have leads me to believe that the work you do do is of little to no importance. That said, the wage your advertisement said you are prepared to pay is much higher than my current income, see: it is an integer. In that sense, I want to work for you because of the economic and social possibilities this wage will open up to me. Also, the work, as far as I understand the work to be work, and not tedium, does not look too taxing, so with any luck, should you hire me (I’m a hot ticket, you understand, I am independent, resourceful. I can construct long and winding sentences) I will be able to compartmentalise the employment far away from the part of my mental life that I enjoy, or at least don’t detest, and have it remain unimpinged by my menial life.
Name an example of a project you have undertaken in previous employment or education that demonstrates your ability to work as part of a team: When my career as a newspaperman came to a swift and crushing close (rain, newsprint, a point to make), I was forced to find another avenue of employment. I say forced, I was goaded, cajoled, belittled. “If you don’t have a job,” said my father, “then looking for a job is your job,” said my father, “you lazy snivelling shit,” said my father. I was not, at the time, in education or training, either. I would leave the house promptly, at nine in the morning, and return, at five in the evening, every day, often walking up to the door as my father’s car was pulling in. He would ask how my search was going (it was not going well) I would say, well, “not very well,” and then he would say, “at least you tried, son. Do it again tomorrow.”
These wanderings I would often undertake with a friend (who shall remain nameless) that I had met back in primary school. It was understood that he, too, was getting some heat from the ‘rents and needed to find work. So, we would find work, together. After months of seeking to pick the fruit of dignity from the tree of work and finding only rank weeds and rot, an opportunity arose. You see, my friend had this friend, who also had a friend, who was a chemistry student at a nearby university. Being a chemistry student at this institution he had access to a wide variety of substances and equipment. It was understood that, were we to assemble a group of people who would be willing to aid in manufacturing and then distributing LSD, we had a real opportunity for sustained growth on our hands. Did you know (do you know) that this city does not, in fact, have a steady supply of this particular psychedelic? You do now. Is this a demonstration of capability and knowledge?
We managed to assemble this group. My friend (who shall remain nameless) had a fair few more friends than me, not to mention siblings and cousins. We numbered fifteen, in all, and all were prepared to undergo this project. We got on well. In your parlance, I was the personnel manager. My task was to assess the others for their skills and weaknesses and then assign them a place within our organisation. They will remain nameless, but, A was small, and fast. He would canvass people and act as a runner. B was big, and strong, and he would act as the front-line dealer. He would be able to deal with customer disputes and so on. C was good at lying, and he would act as the friend that would cover all the rest of us (those who had none already) while we, during the day, were dong our activities. He would assure parents and guardians that we were, indeed, playing football down by the creek. K was assertive enough to ask to choose his own letter for a name, and so chose K. This assertiveness lead me to assign him as our main courier and liaison with said chemistry student. I also have cash handling skills. We were all asked to provide a sum of money to this chemistry student (who shall now be named, fucker that burned us, as John Clarke), as a deposit on the first batch and as starting capital.
K was not quite assertive enough. In retrospect, I should have sent B, because K took the money to John Clarke. The amount I shall not tell you, for I am embarrassed. John Clarke took the money, and used it on, God knows what. No LSD materialised. We sent K back, again and again, and time after time he was fobbed on and off with going to speak to this person or waiting in this place. Nothing ever happened. John Clarke (the rat bastard that burned us) graduated that year and was never seen again. My father did not know about this. He would have been furious.
Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years Time?: Hopefully, not filling out another one of these. Ideally, I will be in a position to exploit the labour of others as opposed to having my own labour exploited. When in Rome.
For purposes of our compliance with equality legislation please use this space to let us know if you have any special requirements, were you to become an employee of X: Insert joke about wanker’s cramp here.