Poem – Unemployment, interview (6)

(Source: Microsoft Clip art)

This poem belongs to the batch referred to previously, for example last week’s poem “Unemployment, number(11)“. This one was inspired by ideas from the earlier batch, and also a piece of artwork in the current edition of Poetry Magazine. Feel free to enjoy, or not, and to comment below.

Unemployment – Interview (6)

When the woman was asked
she craned her neck a little
and took a quick glance
the man could not tell what she saw
it didn’t matter
she was wearing a red jacket
it hung like meat on a rack
yet it faintly smelt of perfume
it distracted from her smile
which she did when she answered
she seemed to know
what was right to say
and when to pause
and when to glance
but her neck was slightly too long

Lexicon word of the day: Lugubrious.


14 comments on “Poem – Unemployment, interview (6)

  1. Quite a menacing undertow to your poem… which I kinda liked… :o)… I used to work in recruitment, cut throat business that… unemployment….

    • Elliot says:

      This one came from something else entirely but fit into the context of a few other poems I had been writing.

      I had been involved in interviewing some people for a job before, but recruitment was not really my area. It is an odd situation really because a really suitable person might do a bad interview and vice versa a relatively useful one interview well.

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    Oh, the thoughts that go through an interviewer’s mind. Best that the applicant doesn’t know, I suspect.

    Another good one. 🙂

    • Elliot says:

      Thanks Carrie, very kind as always. This one was inspired from something else but fit in with what I was doing with the other poems that afternoon.

      In my limited experience of doing interviews, lot of it tended to be going through the motions, judging how much effort the interviewee put in until I got to the important questions, which to me were skills in certain contexts.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        I’ve always been a pretty easy going interviewer. I never ask any of those bizarre, what-in-the-heck-does-she-want-me-to-say questions. Like you, I just like to get to the nitty gritty.

      • Elliot says:

        Yeah unless there is someone who seems a bit nervous and needs a bit of help getting it out, or comes across as arrogant, so asking some daft questions is amusing, I like to get to the point.

  3. I like the series of poems you wrote. Each one hits on a note of the unemployment experience. Terrific job there. 🙂

  4. jmmcdowell says:

    I’ve never been too comfortable on either side of the table. I think I come across all right when I answer, but inside I’m all knotted up. Come to think of it, interviews are a lot like the query process….

    • Elliot says:

      I’ve definitely done some bad ones in the past. Now if it is something relating to my experience (which it usually is) I prepare a little and it is easier, as I am talking about what I know. Usually not fun though. In the poem, they seemed to be on different pages.

  5. rtd14 says:

    I enjoyed this poem. You never know what is going through an employer’s mind. I have been on the side where I’ve written about the unemployment rate and the struggles people go through for my former job. I’ve been unemployed and met people with the same struggles. Now I’m thankful somenoe put faith in my abilities. To express realities in such a beautiful way is a talent. Great writing!

    • Elliot says:

      Thanks Rebecca. I’ve been on both sides of the table, and as an interviewee, I have done some bad and good interviews over the years. These days, and part of this is down to age, and therefore experience, if I prepare a little I can answer well from my experiences, and do a better interview. I’m therefore more relaxed about it, which also helps.

  6. Smaktakula says:

    I have conducted a few interviews, and had a pretty good idea whether I’d be greenlighting them (in a couple cases I wasn’t the final authority, but one of several “screens” in the process), but always felt like I had to “stretch out” the interviews for unsuccessful candidates. I’m sure people have done that for me. Although I did have an interview end abruptly (although not unpleasantly) when I said I wasn’t willing at that time to work strictly on commission.

    Lugubrious is a great word–although a dismal adjective.

    • Elliot says:

      I’ve done the same thing. Sometimes you feel you have to stretch it out to let the interviewee feel they had a fair crack at it.

      I’ve had an interview where it seemed a bit short and I therefore assumed I probably didn’t get it. It turned out I answered all their questions quickly, with the right amount of info, and to the point. I was offered the position.

      I’ve also done some bad ones too that couldn’t end soon enough but dragged on.

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