The first thing that I have to tell you about Dodge & Burrow, the wacky law firm I spent five years of my life at, is that they didn’t want me.
When I first interviewed with them, they turned me down stating that I didn’t have enough experience.
Two months of unemployment later, I interviewed again. This time it was set up by a recruitment agency, and after they showed me to reception, it dawned on me that I’d been here before. Still, too late now, I’d just go along with it.
Unlike the first time around, I had to take a basic comprehension test. It was easy as pie and I finished with fifteen minutes to spare. When I say it was easy, this is not me being arrogant, it was very basic: how to use apostrophes, correct use of homophones, spellings of basic words. I’ve done these tests at every law firm interview – they have always been more complex, and the spelling tests have been specific to legal words, not just long words that happen to be in the English language.
I had to wait a further twenty minutes for them to find the answers booklet.
I’ll not lie, I was rather incredulous at this point, because if you don’t know which version of there/they’re/their to use without checking the answers, you shouldn’t be interviewing me. Or anyone, for that matter.
Then we were thrown out of our room. Knowing what I know now, I know I was being interviewed in Room 5, which was the designated bollocking room. Yes, you can infer that I spent a lot of time in there over the next five years. I can only speculate that someone’s telling off trumped the potential hiring of a probate secretary.
We galloped through the interview, and I thought it went pretty well. I’m generally terrible at reading a room during an interview. Every time I think I tanked it, I get the call. Every time I think it’s in the bag, I have to chase them just to be rejected. This I was on the fence about. I named a figure that I thought was lowball for an annual salary, but I was desperate to get back to work.
They called me the next day to agree.
I later found out that my lowball salary was £3,000 above what most secretaries were earning in their firm.
They were astounded by my experience.
This entire experience should have been a warning.