Thank you for the time, thought, and imagination you clearly put into your application for the prestigious post of Junior Lecturer (Ass. Prof.) in Runeological Studies. I would like you to know that your application was quite marvellous in every respect.
However, I am sorry to tell you that your application has been not been successful on this occasion.
But in order for this to be a learning experience for you, perhaps you would care to listen in while I ring my preferred candidate?
Darren has put us on speakerphone – please try not to breathe too heavily.
The phone rings. A familiar voice answers.
‘Hello, dear JRR Jr. the Fourth’, I say. ‘It is I, Ada! A small post has come up at my institution and I immediately thought of you. How fondly I recall those many happy hours we spent together in the graduate common room playing gin rummy and Russian roulette! And how is your dear, dear great-great-grandfather?’
But the voice interrupts me, dear Reader, to tell me that dear JRR Jr. the Fourth has been taken back to the ward for the day and would I care to send a small donation.
I hang up, dear Reader, and dial the next name on my list.
A small, eager voice answers. ‘Oh, Dr Ada!’, squeals Sebastian. ‘I’m so thrilled! And I thought my degree in Art History (BA, 2.2.) might be a problem.’
I hang up, dear Reader, and dial the last name on my list.
The phone is picked up. ‘Hello?’, I say.
But all I hear in return is the sound of a seagull cawing, and waves crashing on a distant beach, followed by a long ‘peep’.
I take a deep breath.
‘This is Dr Lamb leaving a message for Mr Salty Bob. Salty, we were most impressed with your application, your track record as a mature student taking evening Runeology classes, and your epic poem written in Runes, ‘The Ode of Žałty’. I am pleased to confirm that we would like to offer you the job.’
I hang up.
And that, dear Reader, is how you land the perfect candidate.