I’m unsure where I heard it, but there’s a joke that television newsreaders only concern themselves with their clothing from the waist upwards, since they sit behind desks, when presenting the news. I recently had an experience that made me feel akin to a news reporter, when I had to do an interview using Skype. Only now, that I have resigned from my current job, do I have opportunity to tell this faux pas.
“I have a Skype interview tomorrow,” I told one friend excitedly. “It is for a job in Luxembourg.”
“You have an interview with Skype? They are based in Luxembourg? How cool is that!?”
“No, the interview is not with Skype, it’s on Skype, as opposed to a telephone.”
“Fancy,” said the friend.
“What will I wear? Should I wear a suit?”
The question of what to wear bugged me. It felt pointless to wear a suit on my day off, when I’d be sitting at home. The interview was a few days away. I put the matter to the back of mind, hoping my subconscious would push a solution forward at some stage.
The day of the interview arrived. I didn’t wear a suit or a tie. I did my hair nice, ensured I was clean-shaven and wore a blue shirt. Half an hour before the scheduled call, I even did a screen test to make sure I looked my prettiest. All was well. This was no telephone interview; visuals were important.
At 10.30, the call came through on Skype as scheduled. I switched my camera on and wished the callers good morning. No response. On the screen I could see a man and a woman sitting behind a desk, appearing as if they were about to deliver their country’s Eurovision ratings. They talked, but I could hear nothing.
“Sorry,” I said. “Nothing is coming through. You can hear me, yes? There seems to be a problem with the audio on your end.”
This routine continued for minutes more, until I determinedly said we should resort to a regular telephone interview, like they used to in the good old days. I stood up to locate the house phone. Just then, did something strike me with the force of a bus. They, the interviewers, may have seen me from the waist down. Stupidly, I had neglected to address my lower half. I wore pyjama bottoms.They were not regular grey or navy pyjamas. They were baggy, purple, chequered ones. I wonder if they saw them? Mortification, I thought. I returned to the PC. The interviewers appeared busy trying to figure the reason for their muteness. I hunched onto the seat so as not to give them another flash of my négligé. I showed them the phone and IM’d them my telephone number.
My performance in the interview was not my best. The recruiters gave me good feedback and said they would be in contact within a few days. Three days later, I received a sparsely worded email, informing me that my experience did not match the profile of the role they recruited for. I was disappointed. Rejection is rejection in whatever form. My ego was bruised.
I told my brother the news. “I didn’t get the job in Luxembourg. I am disappointed.”
He paused. “I am sorry to hear that. Sure there will be more jobs, no?”
“I suppose,” I replied, glumly.
“What did they say to you about your interview?”
“I just received an email saying I wasn’t suited to the role. There wasn’t much to the email.”
“Sure Stephen, you can’t be that surprised you didn’t get the job, can you?”
“What do you mean?” I asked him this, expecting some insider information on my performance.
“They saw you in your pyjamas! No matter how good the interview went, you wore your pyjamas.”
“I had forgotten that.”
My brother and I laughed in unison for some time.
Newsreaders may very well only dress from the waist up, but in times of technical faults on set, it is most unlikely they’ll be required to stand up and resolve the issue.