Finance: The true value of your well-crafted CV

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The Independent Online
THERE'S SOMETHING cruelly enjoyable in interviews. I don't mean when you're the one up for the job, of course. On those occasions you feel like a specimen in some far- distant laboratory being prodded by aliens to see what makes you tick, especially if you've watched too many episodes of Star Trek.

No, what makes me happy is making someone else squirm. It's not clever, it's not funny and it's certainly not kind - but it's definitely human. When you're little, the big kids pick on you and you go home and tell everyone how unfair it is. Then, when you're one of the big kids, instead of remembering how nasty it was to be picked on, you think: "Now it's my turn."

The subject has arisen because Rory has decided to beef up the team. The plan is to add two new members, a junior salesperson and another trader at my not-quite so-junior level, so we can pick up on business we might otherwise miss. "Well, it's either that or Rory's bored with our conversation," Findlay says. "More likely he knows we're bored of his," I say. "Needs new blood for those late-night drinking sessions."

Anyway, whatever the reason, we're wallowing in a sea of CVs from the usual sources: headhunters, people we've met at parties, that sort of thing. There are enough for Rory to decide that, while he deals with the search for the salesperson, Jaap and I should be in charge of the hunt for the baby trader.

So Rory has taken his paperwork to a local wine bar, and Jaap and I are holed up in the goldfish bowl, the small, stuffy glass box that passes for an internal meeting room.

"Good to see that the art of fiction writing isn't dead after all," says Jaap as he reads about yet another 22-year-old with a first-class Oxbridge degree, an MBA and five years' work experience. "Some of these CVs are amazingly creative."

It's not just the candidates who are a bit hazy about reality. I mean, you should just see some of the CVs sent in by job agencies and headhunters.

Some seem to hit the mark, it's true: we may even end up hiring one of the candidates if they don't mess up the interviews. The rest of the time, I'm depressingly reminded of estate agents.

You know, you ask for a two- bedroom garden flat close to an Underground station, and they send you particulars for top-floor studio apartments in Camberwell, where the only trains within reach are serving the Home Counties.

"Ooo, look," I say to Jaap. "Apparently a 35-year-old from one of the clearing banks with no trading experience at all would be just perfect for us. Well, the agency must think so."

Then I remember there are probably quite a lot of people formerly employed by a large clearing bank who are on the prowl for their next job and I start to have a little sympathy for the agency. "I'll pass the CV on to one of the quieter back-office departments," I tell Jaap.

We're still sitting there an hour later when Rory returns from the wine bar, glowing with pleasure and a few vodka-and-tonics. "Haven't you finished yet?" he says as he bounds into the goldfish bowl. "You are being slow."

"OK," says Jaap. "I hate to be the one that rises to the bait, but, go on, tell us why you're looking so happy." And Rory actually giggles.

"I've found our salesperson already," he says. "Started talking to him in the bar. He hates his job, hates the clients he has to entertain, wants a move. If you like him, the job's all his. We're meeting him for drinks later."

So much for the well-crafted CV, then...