Not that one evening is much to go on. As Laura pointed out, once you've had a few drinks, even Attila the Hun could seem like a nice bloke. Still, the chances are that Simon actually is nicer than Attila, so we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, we'll have plenty of time to find out what he's like when he starts here in a month. Meanwhile, he gets four weeks out of the market on full pay courtesy of his last place, and we get four weeks to speculate about him.
Rather more pressing is the search for the not-so-junior trader. Jaap and I have finally whittled down the list of candidates to two, who have sent in entirely believable and acceptable CVs. "Not very exciting, though," Jaap says. "I liked the one who put lion-taming down as one of his hobbies. It would have been fun to interview him. These two have just got boring things like chess and tennis."
But, as I reminded him, no one in the City has time for hobbies anyway until they're older, and then only really expensive ones to show off with. The only thing we need to know about candidate A and candidate B is whether they're up to the job or not, and for that we need to bring them in for interviews.
Sad to say, both are currently employed elsewhere in the City. In one respect, this is obviously a good thing - if they already have a job with a sensible title, they can't be entirely hopeless. Even if they have a job with a ludicrous title like "new product specialist", it may just mean they're bad at office politics. Unfortunately for the rest of us, though, all this means that interviews have to take place outside working hours.
"So shall I ask A to come in tomorrow at 6am?" Jaap says, and my jaw drops. An hour early at the office? At that time in the morning I'm so crabby I could bite the head off a dragon. How can I possibly interview someone? "Just kidding," Jaap continues. "I don't think any of us would be on top form at that time of day." Unlike at 8pm after 13 hours in the office, of course, when we're all full of beans.
But 8pm it is, two nights running. Two nights of asking the same old boring questions everyone asks at interviews and you always vow you never will. How do you see yourself in five years?
(Same as now - with a mirror.)
What's important to you in a job? (Obviously, high salary for minimal effort.)
Why do you think you'd be right for this job?
(Hey, isn't that what you're supposed to be working out?)
Boring questions, boring answers, and nothing to separate the two of them. "Toss a coin," I say. "It's a good a way as any." Then the phone rings and it's some girl for Jaap, and I start pricing some deal for one of the brokers.
An hour later, Jaap comes over. "I've a confession," he says. "This other bank has been trying to poach me, though I've turned down their offers. But they may have solved our problem for us after all."
I'm puzzled. How on earth...? "Yes," says Jaap. "That was the team member they've been using as a go-between. They thought a young woman calling me would raise less suspicion.
"Anyway, she wondered if we were still looking for a trader..."