Pandemic diary 87: Socially distanced job interview

A relaxing OM from my Hazelwell walk yesterday – I seem to be collecting and editing road typography.

It feels like I applied for a proper job today but really it's freelance, part-time, remote WFH work on top of my current workload. (Not like that time I applied for a full-time job with an NGO in Berlin and was going to potentially uproot my whole life – would have been fun, though).

So what does a socially distanced job interview look like?

Well, it was going to be outdoors rather than on Zoom, maybe under a gazebo in case of sudden showers. It was 'bring your own chair' and water. I wondered if chair choice might be part of the test.

Unfortunately, today was a classic British summer drenchfest. So the interview was held in a garage instead. The four-person interview panel was spread around the edges and deep into the storage depths to try to maintain distance. Eye contact was hard although it was probably less intimidating than facing a panel across a desk.

I brought a folding garden armchair in '90s pattern orange. It was alarming but I hoped it would brighten up my grey/white interview outfit. Not that they could see my interview outfit since it was also quite cold and we were all wearing Gore-Tex waterproofs or similar.

There were no handshakes, obviously. I did a sort of weird salute at the end as a thank you but I guess people are now used to the informal dissipations of online meetings as we log off one by one so it wasn't needed.

Being freelance, I haven't had an interview nearly 20 years, although I've been on the other side of it as an interviewer. I'm not sure how it went. I'll find out next week I guess.

I wonder how other recruiters and hirers are managing this?

PS. We had two young lads working our street today, knocking on doors wearing big plastic visors, selling something, or as they put it "we're not selling anything, we're saving you money". The 'new normal' wears a mask but I'm still not buying at the door. Does anyone?


Today I spotted that the new Morrisons in Stirchley was putting up its signage on the old Coop building. The store is now due to open next month – a two-month delay due to lockdown and so I (and everyone else I suspect) is looking forward to it more than we normally would a shop. The Coop closed for good in January to prescient post-apocalyptic scenes of empty shelves, long before the Toilet Roll Panic Buying era. Doing without a larger supermarket in the area during lockdown has been challenging.

I'm very thankful for a day off tomorrow – it's been a long week of work and interview preparation.

Yesterday on my walk, I visited a near-ish neighbour and long-time family friend. Mary is someone in 'young old age' without infirmity and still doing loads of community help stuff, picking up the societal pieces that fall between the cracks. It was great to see her for the first time in months. And I'm thankful that she is now able to bubble with her family.

Less than two more weeks of this diary by the way: 100 days of lockdown so only 13 more entries to go. Will you miss me, those who read to the bitter end?

Morri & Sons – a quirky new Stirchley independent (joke borrowed from Tom Cullen of I Choose Birmingham)

Commission/hire me: fiona [at]

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